The Cathedral and the Bazaar:
Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary

Eric S. Raymond

O'Reilly & Associates 1999

Open Sources:
Voices from the Open Source Revolution

Chris DiBona, Sam Ockman + Mark Stone (editors)

O'Reilly & Associates 1999
A book review by Danny Yee © 2000 http://dannyreviews.com/
Open Sources is a rather mixed collection, with contributors from a wide range of backgrounds addressing different aspects of free software (open source) from different directions. So Eric Raymond presents historical accounts of hacker culture, Richard Stallman writes about the ethics of free software, Bruce Perens writes about licenses, Robert Young and Brian Behlendorf and others look at the business arguments for free software, Scott Bradner and Paul Vixie and others approach it from a software engineering perspective, and Larry Wall contributes a grand ramble on symbols. There's some great material in all of this, but it doesn't work that well as a book — newcomers to the concept of free software are likely to find it confusing, while others can read just those portions that interest them online.

The Cathedral and the Bazaar is a compilation of Eric Raymond's writings on open source, containing "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" itself, "Homesteading the Noosphere", and the "Magic Cauldron", along with "A Brief History of Hackerdom" and "The Revenge of the Hackers" (the latter two are also included in Open Sources). Even if one disagrees with elements of Raymond's personal ethics (and I myself side with Richard Stallman on pretty much all their points of conflict), his insightful sociological and historical analysis is separable from that. And The Cathedral and the Bazaar works better as a printed volume than Open Sources because of the unity of voice: I had read all the works it contains separately, but found it useful reading them again together.

One advantage of printed works is in advocacy, in reaching those who are not comfortable reading online or don't have the time to sort through web sites. So I plan to send my review copies of both these books to one of the few Australian politicians who really understands technology issues (Barry Jones).

June 2000

External links:
The Cathedral and the Bazaar
- buy from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk
- details at O'Reilly & Associates
Open Sources
- buy from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk
- details at O'Reilly & Associates
Related reviews:
- Eric S. Raymond - The Art of UNIX Programming
- books about computing
- books published by O'Reilly & Associates
%T The Cathedral and the Bazaar
%S Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary
%A Raymond, Eric S.
%I O'Reilly & Associates
%D 1999
%O hardcover
%G ISBN 1565927249
%P 268pp

%T Open Sources
%S Voices from the Open Source Revolution
%E DiBona, Chris
%E Ockman, Sam
%E Stone, Mark
%I O'Reilly & Associates
%D 1999
%O paperback
%G ISBN 1565925823
%P viii,272pp