February 9, 2001

Raymond's Open Source manifesto -- revised for the new millennium

Author: JT Smith

It's been called "the most important book of the
software frontier of the 1990s"--"the definitive work on the open
source evolution"--"a landmark piece of information technology" -- "a
must read for anyone that wants to understand what open source software
is all about." The Computer Press Association bestowed it with its Best
Nonfiction Computer Book Award of 2000; "ForeWord Magazine" voted it
Business Book of the Year, and "The Designer's Bookshelf" gave it its
Editor's Choice Award.The accolades for "The Cathedral & the Bazaar," the book of seminal
essays, (originally published online) by hacker philosopher Eric S.
Raymond, acknowledge the impact of open source software on the
technology world. Raymond's evangelism helped persuade Netscape to
release their browser as open source, put Linus Torvalds on the cover
of "Forbes Magazine" and Microsoft on the defensive, and helped Linux
rock the world of commercial software. As spiritual father of the open
source revolution, he has created an unparalleled philosophical
analysis of the hacker world with his writings, and has shown how
profoundly the open source movement affects the world at large.

O'Reilly has just released a revised and expanded edition of "The
Cathedral & the Bazaar" (US $16.95 paperback, $24.95 hardcover),
including new material on open source developments in 1999 and 2000.
New essays address the economics of open source and open source as a
competitive weapon. Predictions in the chapter "Revenge of the Hackers"
are examined from the perspective of one year later, and new ones are
added. "There's a juicy new section on the mechanics of bazaar
development that discusses communications structures and the
nitty-gritty of parallel debugging and why it works so well," says
Raymond. "I develop a more detailed analysis of project forking.
Evolutionary handicap theory--why peacocks have feathers and stags have
horns -- is probably important to any account of open source developer
motivation; I go into that. I also take a harder look at the economic
question of why open source software isn't an underprovided resource. A
statistical appendix on the growth of the fetchmail project has been

Raymond adds: "I ran the book revision process in the same way the book
describes open source development. I let it be known that I would
accept and incorporate good patches, constructive criticism. I rewarded
people who generated good insights by giving them credit in the
revision. This is how we do things in hackerland; it's our combination
of individual visions and collaborative synergy that makes us

Interest in open source software development has grown enormously in
the past year. According to the August 2000 Forrester Report, 56
percent of Global 2,500 companies use some type of open source software
in their infrastructure, and another 6 percent plan to install it in
the next two years.

"The Cathedral & the Bazaar" is a must read for anyone who cares about
the future of the computer industry. According to Bob Young, CEO of
Linux pioneer Red Hat, "This is Eric Raymond's great contribution to
the success of the open source revolution, to the adoption of
Linux-based operating systems, and to the success of open source users
and the companies that supply them."

"The Cathedral & the Bazaar" is the manifesto and the declaration of
independence of a revolution in progress.

Chapter 5, The Magic Cauldron, is available free online at:

For more information about the book, including Table of Contents,
index, author bio, and samples, see:

For a cover graphic in jpeg format, go to:

Read an interview with the author Eric S. Raymond here:

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