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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

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  1,698 ratings  ·  92 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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The Cathedral & the Bazaar by Eric S. RaymondFree as in Freedom by Sam WilliamsLearning Perl by Randal L. SchwartzProducing Open Source Software by Karl Franz FogelRuby Best Practices by Gregory Brown
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Silicon Valley
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Community Reviews

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Joe White
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
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
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
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
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
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
Jim Witschey
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
A good look at the concept of Open Source software and it's development. The author goes into the technical, sociological, and broad economic aspects of Open Source.

Should you read this book? Well, if you're reading a review for this book then chances are you are in the category of person it's aimed at, note that the titular essay, "The Cathedral and the Bazaar", is available online for free, as are pretty much all of the other essays in the book. I would recommend reading online the essay for
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
Jan 21, 2014 Ka rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
Dirk Dierickx
De bijbel van de Open Source wereld! Dit boek krijgt de maximum score, maar het is natuurlijk totaal niet aangenaam om te lezen mocht je niet van IT houden.
Waarom is Open Source zulk een goed model om software te ontwikkelen? Waarom werkt dit model, dat sommige beschouwen als een soort communistisch IT equivalent? Dat kom je allemaal te weten door het lezen van dit boek.
Dit boek zorgde er onderen voor dat Netscape zijn ontwikkeling omvormde van gesloten naar open, met Firefox als resultaat, maar
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.
Siyoung Oh
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
Rikki Prince
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
Nathan Glenn
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
Caolan McMahon
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
Mark L.
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
James Bear

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
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
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
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

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
Great insight into managing an open source software project. Eric Raymond writes the story of sendmail and explains how he dealt with contributors, in comparison to the management philosophy of a larger company. For people who are not already convinced that open source is a more efficient process, this book might change their minds.
Graham Lee
Interesting reading, though it definitely needs revisiting in the DVCS world where forking is common and releases are rare; and in a world where the meaning of open source has become diluted. It's hard to tell what of ESR's anthropology is fact, what is wishful thinking and what is simply marketing.
Dainius Jocas
This book represents very interesting and important moment in the history of open source software world -- linux was getting the momentum in the adoption for internet infrastructure, Apache web-servers were dominant in the market, Microsoft was struggling to release it's Windows 2000, etc. Therefore, the end of the book was like an end of a fairy tail: from now on well be living happily ever after.

I liked most the chapter about the hacker ideology -- "Homesteading and Noosphere". What does it me
John Parker
This is important for those of us that teach. There are a lot of lessons that we can glean. For example, release it and let the public tweak it. That is called Beta, and that is a new way of life here in the 21st Century. Live your life in Beta.
Decoding Liberation mentioned this book quite a lot so I was curious to read it. I wasn't disappointed as it's a more hands-on look at the open source software movement from a participant. Raymond talks a lot about the sociological, psychological, and economic aspects of the movement, that while is nowhere as in-depth as Decoding Liberation, is also a lot more accessible.
Raymond also has some interesting points about open source software from a management perspective.
If you're looking for a re
An essay by Raymond back in the day software development conventions was the more closed hierarchy based approach, he draws from his own experiences as a developer and the rise of Linus and Linux to critique the conventions and compares the dichotomy between a open source development model, which draws and farms talent, creative out put from competent contributes across the world to improve and quickly bug-fix to that of the closed management model. This he compares to the traditional cathedral ...more
Josh Braun
While this book is purportedly about open source software, it's actually about far more than that. Since it was first written, we've seen the development of open source communities dedicated to news and information (think Wikipedia), and many of them follow many of the same patterns Raymond outlines here. Clay Shirky, for instance, gets a lot of mileage out of Raymond's ideas in his new book on online organizing, Here Comes Everybody.

You need not purchase The Cathedral and the Bazaar, since i
In The Cathedral & the Bazaar, Raymond explains how open source software is created. He became aware of the way Torvalds and the Linux community developed their operating system. He took over their way of working. He guides his readers through the process of (re-) engineering an application explaining the lessons he learned. The book is not technical in a sense of detailling software code and so on. Therefore, it's readable for a broad adience. According to the open source principles, the bo ...more
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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
More about Eric S. Raymond...
The Art of Unix Programming The New Hacker's Dictionary The Jargon File Version 4.2.2 A Brief History of Hackerdom Homesteading the Noosphere

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“Brook’s Law: “Adding more programmers to a late project makes it later.” 0 likes
“Every good work of software starts by scratching a developer’s personal itch.” 0 likes
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