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SunWorld.com: The truth about open source software [Book Reviews: The Cathedral and the Bazaar]

May 10, 2000, 15:48 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bill Rosenblatt)

"Unfortunately, Raymond makes the mistake in The Cathedral and the Bazaar of trumpeting the open source Netscape browser as a success. Despite the effort Raymond put into evangelizing it, it's not a success. AOL (Netscape's parent company) may find something to do with that code in future versions of its browser, but Microsoft has irretrievably won the PC browser wars."

"The other highlight of the book is the paper called "Homesteading the Noosphere," (pronounced KNOW-uh-sphere), an attempt to explain hacker behavior and culture in a pseudoanthropological way, as one might explain the cooperative economics of an African tribe. The paper explains how hackers are motivated to write software and give away the source, how they work together on big projects, how one earns hacker credibility, and so on."

"The paper is fascinating, but the slight trouble with it is that Raymond is a tribesman. In that sense, Raymond tries to be as factual as possible, but he can't be objective. He can't help but assume as background that hacker culture is inherently superior to its opposite, the culture of Dilbert-like programmers in big commercial companies. However true that may be, Raymond is unable to rise above his prejudices, which weakens the paper just that little bit."

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