Independent.co.uk: Book Review: Rebel Code: Linux and the open source revolution
Jan 21, 2001, 14:39 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Charles Arthur)
Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame
"...though the title Rebel Code hints at a face-off between the
Darth Vader-like influence of Microsoft and the Obi Wan Kenobi-like
wisdom of the "hackers", the focus is principally on the mechanics
and history of the open-source movement. Despite interesting
characters such as Torvalds, the open-source evangelist Eric
Raymond, and Richard Stallman, who became a multi-millionaire by
giving his software away, there is a curious lack of humanity.
There's a lot about who wrote what and how frequently Torvalds
issued new versions of Linux; but his "off-line" character is never
rounded out. Does the development of this world-beating platform
comes before his young family? Though we learn a lot about their
opinions on software, the people remain ciphers."
"In the wake of such fascinating books about Silicon Valley
life as Po Bronson's The Nudist on the Late Shift, the absence of
that human element leaves a big hole. Moody could argue that
he's telling the tale of how open source got here, not how these
people did, but he repeatedly shows that they have each risen by a
combination of luck and dedication. Torvalds is described by many
as Linux's essential ingredient, whose unique character tied
together disparate factions. But how, exactly?"
"Also missing is a sense of how Microsoft and other
companies perceive this new rival. Fortunes are at risk; if
open source truly is a revolution, one would expect to find the
software aristocracy explaining how they will escape the tumbril.
Yet besides some brief discussion -- including how IBM revitalised
itself by adopting Linux throughout its huge product line -- that