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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

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  3,886 ratings  ·  190 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, 241 pages
Published January 2001 by O'Reilly Media (first published October 1999)
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Jul 01, 2014 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 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 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
Apr 06, 2013 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
Rohit Goswami
Jun 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5 rounded up for historical reasons. I remember finishing this book some ten years ago. I was on a flight and I distinctly remember feeling like somehow this had changed my life... I vaguely recall blabbering on about it as I got my luggage with my dad.

It hasn't aged well. The core concepts have but, the culture has not. We've moved on from the hacker culture for the most part, tech bros aside, and that's a good thing. Good riddance. Have to admit the writing style was perfect for a fifteen y
Odd Ropstad
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is an exploration into the world of Open Source, and the culture that goes with it. It goes beyond the definitions and the initial perception and instead gives an inside view of a universe of hackers, magic cauldrons, bazaars and John Locke.

Open Source is nothing more than a development methodology, with its own sets of rules and principles. The difference from other methodologies is that the developers are not working in close approximation to each other. They are exclusively communic
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
Bastian Greshake Tzovaras
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
Aug 01, 2020 rated it it was ok
It was interesting to learn about the open-source software movement's history, business models, successes, and impact. Despite being informative, the essays feel more like a libertarian manifesto for software development than they do an open-source doctrine, and the author's self-importance is unbearable. ...more
Richard Seltzer
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had read the title essay "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" on the Web about a year ago. In fact, I held a series of chats on the subject (which I considered to be "the Linux development model" So when the book came out, I presumed that I knew what it was all about. I just thought the author had expanded on that single brilliant idea and blown it up to book size. Little did I expect a book with such a broad scope and such far-reaching implications.

The title essay examines the question of how to ma
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: technology
The closest I've come to programming is HTML 4 and Excel, so a lot of this book was over my head. A someone who sorely missed the heady days of the 1990s when the Internet was a distinct place and some thought the beginning of a new world -- one free from control, allowing for limitless self-expression and an alternate society -- I found much else here fascinating. Particularly noteworthy were Raymond's connections between Linux-style open source development and the emergent order of free econom ...more
Rastko Vukasinovic
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Being evergreen is really rare trait in any technology related text and it is exactly what The Cathedral and the Bazaar is.

It was never more relevant then it is today and it will be as relevant tomorrow.
Alexander Smith
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is a piece of history and an introduction to a culture that (if you're interested in real "hacker culture" and online culture) is not explained at its technological, economic, and social origins as well in any other text that I've seen. No more explanations are necessary. If you are interested in how born-web-native culture works, this is where you start. ...more
Dipti Ranjan Biswal
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Must read for anyone who is even remotely related to software development or management.
Ankush Chander
Book is witty and as it struck the right cords with the inner geek in me.

I like how author narrates the story of open source and how it was a paradigm shift in how collaboration happened, how things were built.

Also comparing it with closed software development.

Then there is underlying theme of being anti authoritarian, freedom loving citizen of the world.

I wish I had read it in college.
Patrick Coakley
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
The Cathedral & The Bazaar is a set of essays that documents a specific period in time, the rise of Linux in the 90’s, with a bit of history to explain UNIX and the state of computers up until that point. It does a decent job of giving you an idea of what the open-source community was like at the beginning until roughly 1998. The author, Eric S. Raymond (also known as esr), has been involved in some way or another with open-source software since the movement began in the 80’s, and is also one of ...more
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mebbe-again
Good, quick analysis of the strengths of open source software and how an open source project should be managed (at a very high level). Something worth reading for every software entrepreneur and developer, or at least worth skimming.
Oct 03, 2007 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
While a lot has changed since the book was first published, it still contains a lot of valuable information. Explains quite well why open source works and why people love to contribute.
Dec 05, 2016 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
Jim Witschey
Nov 20, 2011 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 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.
Paul Salmon
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book gives a very interesting insight into the state of Linux and Open Source in the late 1990s. From a historical perspective it shows the success of Linux and attributes this to using a far more flexible model than previous open source development. That is, Linus Torvalds style of development “release early and often, delegate everything you can, be open to the point of promiscuity” came as a surprise. This was a break from the “Cathedral Building” building process and more like a “a grea ...more
Matt Simmons
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
A twenty year old technology book that has held up surprisingly well. While Microsoft still dominates the desktop, Raymond's primary prediction--that open source models will come to dominate the "back end" and server-side parts of he internet--have come spectacularly true, because of the various reasons he spells out. While I'd be interested in seeing what the thinks of the state of things in the intervening years--with the rise of new tech giants Google, Facebook, Amazon, and a reborn Apple, so ...more
John Thompson
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
It seems that everybody who knows you read books wants to tell you about some book they have read and feel you will love. This usually annoys me because I like to choose my own books, however a much respected work colleague recommended that I should read, “The Cathedral and The Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary” by Eric S. Raymond. So I asked for this for my Birthday / Christmas, which are six days apart.

It is not just about technology, it is about a mindset
Dillon Butvin
Mar 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Hmm. How do I feel about this one. First off, it's a really unique and, at times, awesome book. Second, it is sometimes monotonous and drab for someone not familiar or nerded out on development. Third, it's fun and if you're a tech nerd you should definitely read it.

This book is a collection of essays, sometimes practical and sometimes philosophical. Truth be told, half of it was over my head and took some slowing down and rereading to grasp. I enjoy that from time to time but sometimes it was
Catalin Gheorghe
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book that offers a glimpse into the history of hacker culture, unix and open-source world, with the main focus being the open-source development model. An easy and pleasurable read, containing impressive analogies with models from the economical and social domains.

Where necessary, the author provides references to studies and other works that go way beyond the technical domain of software development. To me, it was clear that the opinions exposed were properly researched and had a solid basis,
Apr 19, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tech, business
I've seen this book cited a lot, so I figured I should read it. It is very interesting, though a bit longer and less coherent than I would like. The book is a collection of five separate but related essays about open source. I don't think the book has been updated in 20 years - there are numerous dead links including the author's website. And there are no case studies in this century. Considering the importance of this book to the history of open source, I'm surprised no one has taken it upon th ...more
Akhil Pundir
Dec 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone interested in knowing more about Linux, Open source, Internet, Hacker Culture.
This is a great book to read for anyone who wants to know more about the origins of Open Source.
Not only did this book break my prejudice that there is no money in Open Source model but after reading this book i got to know of several business models which are thriving on Open source.
Linux was one of the main reasons i bought this book but it gave me an insight into the Hacker culture and the history of Hacker culture, where it really started and how it has evolved through the time.
There are s
Chris Pacia
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is really a must read for people either working in or interested in the tech industry. It makes a very compelling case that open source software has number of advantages over closed source software that will ultimately make it more competitive and profitable. The book and the case it makes for open source was pivotal to the creation of Mozilla which helped stop Microsoft from monopolizing the HTTP and HTML standards. It draws interesting parallels between open source software and Locke ...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

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