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LinuxPlanet: Editor's Note: Complexity and the Open Source Model

Oct 23, 2000, 12:00 (9 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Kevin Reichard)

"To those intimately involved with the Open Source process, such delays are par for the course; the mantra seems to be that it's better to do the job right than to meet a seemingly arbitrary deadline. Part of this mantra derives from the fact that many in the Open Source community are safely ensconced in the cathedral and don't need to deal with the realities of the bazaar, where deadlines do matter and sales cycles are set well-established."

"These unplanned and unanticipated delays lead me to pose a single question: has the breadth and complexity of high-profile Linux/Open Source projects outstripped the Open Source software-development process?"

"This is not an idle question. When the Linux kernel was relatively simple, a small oligarchy of developers working on the side could successfully oversee development. The same went for the original Apache Web server -- which had the advantage of building on an existing code base -- and the original KDE and GNOME releases. This software fit within the UNIX ethos of creating small, modular components that could be combined into a whole. And thus was born the Open Source method of software development: an oligarchy where a small group of talented developers worked with a larger volunteer development community, using contributed code and intense feedback to create an end product. It's really not a democratic process; think of the Open Source method of software development as a large-scale peer review."

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