Wayner's book is very good indeed. It's partly a history of
the free software movement, but its main focus is an analysis of
why Linux took off and its probable future roadmap. It's much
better both in scope and argument than some previous efforts
covering a similar area such as Under The Hood.
Wayner's idea is beautifully simple: he links developments in
code to a wider context. He argues that the way to understand the
early success of open source code and to assess its possible
futures is to trace the way in which society, the economy and
individuals are shifting and changing. With an understanding of
these relationships we can then look at how they influence the
evolution of the software industry.
Wayner paints a very complex picture. It's much richer and more
far-reaching than the simplistic views of the economist Richard
McKenzie, whose forthcoming book on the recent Microsoft trial is
undermined by the author's lack of specialist knowledge. Wayner's
informed analysis by comparison is far more compelling. Free
For All is an excellent book on the why of Linux rather than the
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