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

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  2,784 Ratings  ·  134 Reviews
Open source provides the competitive advantage in the Internet Age. According to the August Forrester Report, 56 percent of IT managers interviewed at Global 2,500 companies are already using some type of open source software in their infrastructure and another 6 percent will install it in the next two years. This revolutionary model for collaborative software development ...more
Paperback, 258 pages
Published February 8th 2001 by O'Reilly Media (first published 1999)
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Jul 01, 2014 Philipp rated it liked it
Shelves: programming
This book describes two 'modes' or 'metaphors' for software development - the old 'Cathedral' one, in which a few programmers, locked away from the world, slowly release iterations of their software to the world, a mode employed by the business world. Then there's the new 'Bazaar', in which rapid development around a core team of developers is favoured, developers who are constantly in contact with users and co-developers - most of open source software development happens like this.

It's an inter
Joe White
Jun 09, 2010 Joe White rated it really liked it
As the Bible of the Open Source definition, this is a 5 star book. It also happens to be one of the few ever written which attempts to explain what open source is and define its motives and mechanics.

The issues I see with the book, which are being put forth from my own opinion 15 years after the books writing date and 12 years after this version's last update are these:

1. It too lightly sidestepped the issues surrounding the introduction of a new software version number. The statements and assum
May 26, 2010 David rated it really liked it
This is a famous paean to Open Source software, a bit dated now but still relevant. It explains very clearly why the OS movement is so popular; it also gives you an idea of why so many OS advocates are insufferable zealots. Eric Raymond is an ideologue preaching his message, and while he makes good points (usually), it does get very preachy at times (and also ignores some of the economic realities). Good reading if you're really into geek sociology and want to understand why Linux really was rat ...more
Caique Marques
Feb 04, 2016 Caique Marques rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, comp_sci
Primeiramente publicado como um ensaio para o um congresso, a obra de Eric S. Raymond acabou se tornado um livro. É interessante notar de como ele divide o desenvolvimento de tecnologias open-source de duas categorias: catedral, onde o código é liberado publicamente a cada nova versão, entretanto, o desenvolvimento está restrito a um pequeno grupo e o exemplo que Raymond cita é o GCC (GNU Compiler Collection); o bazar é o estilo onde cada novo lançamento o código é disponibilizado, mas o desenvo ...more
Apr 06, 2013 Geoff marked it as to-read
I'm intending to read this not because I have any knowledge of writing computer code or programming, and not because I have any particular interest in Linux except as a philosophy; however, picture a protagonist that is a HACKER, and the circumscribed and circuitous and serpentine paths that he followed through the strange years of the MILLENNIUM, and one might start to see something of an interesting story beginning to gather itself. Research for a possible PROJECT. How could a novel be shaped ...more
Oct 03, 2007 Louis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: computer
How does a gift economy work? EricRaymond has a collection of essays written over the 1990's looking at the culture o software programming, in particular the subculture that develops and uses open source (or free software). In particular, his writings attempt to explain why does open source not fall into the trap of the free rider problem or the tragedy of the commons.

The answer he comes up with are several. One is the concept of 'scratch your own itch'. The idea that programmers find something
Erika RS
This is a collection of essays which are all available online but nice to have in book form. The common theme through all the essays is explaining, from an insider's point of view, who hackers are and why open source software seems to work so well. Although ESR can sometimes brush off the commercial world (and even the academic world) a bit quickly, his essays feel right to me overall.

I think he is right about why open source software tends to be of such good quality (frequent small releases, u
Dec 05, 2016 Neeraj rated it it was amazing
The author discusses the main points of difference between the two styles of software development i.e. the one employed by corporate organisations(microsoft and the likes) called as the cathedral by the author and the one adopted by the open source community (made popular by the success of linux kernel development) called as the bazaar by the author. He emphasizes on why the second model/approach leads to a much better software product even though it seems counter intuitive. All the points that ...more
Bastian Greshake
Dec 08, 2014 Bastian Greshake rated it liked it
It's kind of funny to read, because there are so many cornerstones of techno-libertarian ideology presented in the essays. At the time the essays were written it was probably all kind of new and exciting, but nowadays those positions are kinda hard to defend.

The parts about Linus Torvalds are gold, as it's argued that he's such a sweet and agreeable person. And it's also pointed out how not attacking the authors and speaking softly are core skills when working in a Bazaar-like environment. I gu
Jim Witschey
Nov 20, 2011 Jim Witschey rated it really liked it
I've just started learning to use Unix systems and do some serious coding this year. This book is a really interesting look into the past 20 years or so of computing and how things came to be the way they are. ESR's writings collected here remind me just how crazy it is that Apache running on Linux is the most widely-used server setup on the web, that Perl and gcc are ubiquitous, and that the browser with the second-biggest market share is open-source. All in all, a very interesting and instruct ...more
Jun 04, 2011 Paul rated it really liked it
A fascinating look at the history of open source software and an interesting attempt to analyse its origins and imperatives. The. book is a bit dated in places and, with the benefit of hindsight, some of the predictions are a bit optimistic, but a riveting read nonetheless.
Jan 26, 2017 Chris rated it liked it
This was a pretty interesting contemporary account of the history of the modern open-source movement. There's a lot about the current state of software – both as a developer and as a user – that's been dramatically affected by the people, events, and concepts Raymond recounts. There were some interesting sociological/anthropological observations, such as the parallels that the work open-source developers provide for free has with "gift culture" societies. In some parts, especially the drier & ...more
Nov 16, 2013 Tony rated it it was amazing
Shelves: acquired
There are three main parts to this book:

The Cathedral and the Bazaar
The Magic Cauldron
Homesteading the Noosphere

In the Cathedral and the Bazaar, the author comments on how free/open source software seems to run counter to Brooks' Law, which basically explains why add adding more developers to a project tends to make it later. Basically, where N is the number of developers, productivity scales with N (at best) but communications overhead within the team scales with N squared. Since developers spe
Tim O'Hearn
Dec 03, 2016 Tim O'Hearn rated it really liked it
Shelves: 52-books-in-2016
An unexpectedly well written collection of essays. The hacker motif isn't as revolutionary as it was fifteen years ago. Somehow, the movement became mainstream, and this book provides insight into why. Understanding the culture is more important now than ever. While this essential reading is easy for a novice to digest, those lacking technical knowledge are advised to make liberal use of a search engine.
Jimmy Longley
Sep 24, 2016 Jimmy Longley rated it really liked it
Reviewed as part of my 100 books challenge:

Run-on Sentence Summary
Eric Raymond, creator of SendMail and unofficial figurehead of the open source movement, explains the phenomenon in a series of classic essays.

This series of essays, chronicling and attempting to explain the open source revolution, is now a piece of history in its own right. Raymond comes off as a bit weird and egotistical, but his ideas resonate.
I highlighted half of the book, but th
Oct 14, 2016 Frank rated it it was ok
This was a good summary of the open-source culture.
Jan 21, 2014 Ka rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
Hundreds, or perhaps thousands of years from now, if future historians were to search for a manifesto of the open source movement, the Cathedral and the Bazaar would probably be it. Though somewhat dated now, particularly in the fast moving world of information technology, the book is made up of a series of essays by Eric S Raymond - a 'hacker' in the true sense of the word (a technically adept and creative problem solver). In a series of essays he outlines everything the open source movement st ...more
Rikki Prince
Dec 30, 2012 Rikki Prince rated it it was amazing
Shelves: southampton, own
The Cathedral & the Bazaar is absolutely fundamental reading for any computer scientist that wishes to have an anywhere near reasonable discussion about the state of software development today. It should really also be required reading in management, entrepreneurship and politics, as it outlines some interesting human motivations that, if embraced, could do great good for the world. The open source model of software development should not be feared or abused (as the immediate human nature re ...more
Mark L.
Sep 14, 2011 Mark L. rated it it was amazing
As though a cross between a series of memoirs and a technquel manual for how to develop an open source project, this work is one of the defining pieces of literature in the world of the hacker culture. In terms of what that means for this book, hacker refers not to those shady cybercriminals that silently lurk on the Internet trying to squeeze their way into any computer they can (much like the one you, are now probably reading this on). The original meaning for the word hacker in respects to th ...more
Nathan Glenn
Oct 06, 2013 Nathan Glenn rated it it was amazing
This is fascinating stuff. I read the whole thing online at
It has three essays-
1) The Cathedral and the Bazaar, which is about how open-source software produces a good product. The cathedral represents traditional development, with one to three people working out every last detail of their masterpiece before releasing it, while the bazaar is a highly social open source model, where everybody reviews everything out in the open and information is traded freely. He uses his own experienc
Dec 12, 2012 Stephen rated it liked it
While I'm happy to finally have gotten around to finishing this book, my intent was to read this set of older essays critically now that time has passed since the most exciting times of the Open Source revolution. The Cathedral & the Bazaar was a good essay, and Homesteading the Noosphere was, too, I guess.

As for The Magic Cauldron, I started taking exception to some of the claims. For example, "No software customer will rationally choose to lock itself into a supplier-controlled monopoly by
Oct 08, 2016 Andy rated it really liked it
A collection of five essays plus some forewords/afterwords that focus on explaining open source, its importance in hacker culture, and its potential to be profitable in a business setting as well. At this point it's nearly 20 years old, and a few things are either dated or widely understood, but there are still plenty of insights in here for both coders and non-coders alike. In particular, I think non-technical readers who are interested in the business of tech can learn a lot, as the tendency t ...more
James Bear
Jul 22, 2013 James Bear rated it really liked it

I don't normally enjoy non-fiction books, but this book accomplished two things for me. First, it helped me sort out my understanding of open-source software. Second, it strengthened my resolve to use as much open source software as I possibly can and maybe even work on contributing to some open-source software.

It's interesting, though, because as I get older I find myself liking less and less the socialistic forms of government and life. But, open-source software is just that. It implies that w
Feb 17, 2017 Alok rated it it was amazing
A surprisingly insightful book on the nature and purpose of software. Many of the observations and insights ring true today. As essential read for anyone in the software business.
Siyoung Oh
Jan 06, 2014 Siyoung Oh rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dev
As I started my job as a software developer more than two years ago, I had to face the evident ecology of open source. I had my own theory of how it works, but this book is clearly showing more depth and concrete philosophy. As a long time advocate of open source, the author shows how the big picture benefits all the human race.

If you're having a right hacker attitude, I am pretty sure you naturally understand more practical ways to solve problems and progress. But seeing concrete expressions he
Caolan McMahon
Sep 28, 2009 Caolan McMahon rated it really liked it
Fairly short and bounds along at a good pace. Sometimes the support of open source seems a little strained, but generally more balanced than I expected. However, if you're looking for lots of detail, then this might not be the book you want. I would consider it more an introduction to the economics and social structure of open source, with plenty of pointers for further reading if it should tempt you.

It all seems pretty sensible until you get to the 'How to Become a Hacker' section, which is, fr
Oct 30, 2012 Sefa rated it it was ok
I don't understand why this book is referenced a lot in the programming community. Eric S. Raymond compares two different software development methodologies: the cathedral and the bazaar model. He doesn't bother to elaborate his analogy - the Wikipedia page of the book does better job of explaining these terms. He compares Linux development model -the bazaar- with the Emacs development -the cathedral- without giving any background on them, making impossible to agree or disagree. It is also diffi ...more
Jan 22, 2014 Luis rated it it was amazing
This is a great intro to what Open Source development is and its inner workings. ESR does an excellent job in creating an ethnographic account of the Open Source community and Unix/Linux hackers in general (See A Brief History of Hackerdom). Also, on what fuels Open Source developers and how Open Source has changed views on traditional models of software development. Linux is definitely proof of what can come about a strong Open Source dev community working in conjunction with core devs in order ...more
Aug 12, 2013 Verbiage rated it really liked it

Par opposition aux organisations managériales traditionnelles dits de « type cathédrale » marquées par une hiérarchie, une structure forte, Eric Raymond oppose le modèle du logiciel libre basé sur le collaboratif, le volontariat, la transparence. Tout est ouvert, tout est accessible, tout est transparent, une organisation à la fois horizontale et verticale : un bazar. Ici le responsable se fait davantage coordonnateur.

Rédigé par un informaticien, évoquant
Feb 06, 2007 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Accidental Revolutionary says it best.

The Cathedral and the Bazaar is a well known essay in the software dev. community, that O'Reily packaged into a book. The paper details the development of one of the earliest open source software projects and how the scope and functionality of the program grew as more and more people began to contribute and solve problems, all without a single cent being paid to anyone.
Since this story took place this style of software development has blossomed to the point
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Eric S. Raymond is an observer-participant anthropologist in the Internet hacker culture. His research has helped explain the decentralized open-source model of software development that has proven so effective in the evolution of the Internet. Mr. Raymond is also a science fiction fan, a musician, an activist for the First and Second Amendments, and a martial artist with a Black Belt in Tae Kwon ...more
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“Every good work of software starts by scratching a developer’s personal itch.” 3 likes
“Brook’s Law: “Adding more programmers to a late project makes it later.” 0 likes
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