"Forget the enigmatic title for a moment. This is essentially
four long, polemical essays on the open source movement, written by
one of its prime movers in the period between 1992 and summer 1999.
'Open Source' is a term used to describe the idealistic notion of
freely sharing technological development - particularly the
software code written by computer programmers."
"The first and earliest essay sets out the principles of the
open source movement. The second inspects the attitudes and moral
codes of its members (the hackers) who submit their work to peer
review and what Eric Raymond claims is a 'gift culture'. The third
looks at the economic conundrum of how the open source movement
sustains itself without a regular income. The last essay is a smack
up-to-date account of mobilising supporters for the development of
a crusade - written only a few weeks before the Department of
Justice's verdict on the Microsoft anti-trust case."
"Basically, it's an impassioned argument in favour of a new
strategy in software development which has arisen from the decision
by Linus Torvalds to release the source code of his operating
system Linux. He released it not only for free use, but also
invited volunteers to help him develop it further. Raymond argues
that this represents - dare one say it? - a paradigm shift - a
democratic sharing of ideas and repeated testing rather than the
development of a product in commercial secrecy."
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