Open Source

The Cathedral and the Bazar

  1. Historical Significance

    1. Linux was developed by thousands of developers world-wide
    2. Raymond decided to try to replicate the Linux model in his own development
  2. Key Points

    1. Development
      1. Every good work of software starts by scratching a developer’s personal itch – it’s too bad that so many spend their time working on things they aren’t interested in.
      2. Good programmers know what to write. Great ones know what to rewrite (and reuse) –  I’ve been told lazy programmers are the best ones
      3. Prepare to throw one away; you will anyhow – you don’t really know enough about the problem in the beginning to fix it
      4. if you have the right attitude interesting problems will find you
      5. When you lose interest in a program, you need to name a successor.
    2. Co-creating
      1. Treating users as co-developers allows for rapid improvement and debugging
      2. Release early. Release often and listen to your customers.
      3. With enough people testing and developing every problem will be characterized and fixed quickly. (Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow – Linus’s Law)
        1. Cathedral assumes bugs are difficult, requiring a lot time and expertise
        2. Bazar assumes that bugs are shallow especially with many eyes
      4. Smart data structures and dumb code works a lot better than the other way around
      5. If you treat beta-testers as if they are valuable they will act that way.
      6. The next best thing to having a good idea is to recognize someone else’s good idea.
        1. If you share credit then everyone things you’re being modest
    3. Goals
      1. Some of the best solutions come from realizing you understand the problem wrong
      2. Perfection is when there isn’t any more to take away
      3. Tools should be useful in the expected ways, but an excellently designed one should be useful in unexpected ways. Openness facilitates the unexpected
      4. Don’t throw anything away unless you have to.
    4. Preconditions for the Bazar Style
      1. Bazar lends itself to testing, but not to starting a project
      2. The thing you introduce needs to have a plausible promise. It has to run and convince people that it has potential.
      3. The coordinator needs to be able to recognize good design ideas in others
      4. The coordinator needs to have good people and communication skills in order to attract people and hold interest
    5. Social Context
      1. To solve an interesting problem, start by finding a problem that is interesting to you
      2. “Egoless programming” – not territorial about code, encourage other people to help fix and improve it.
      3. Many heads are better that one as long as they can communicate well
    6. Other
      1. The Bazar model is very competitive, we take the best product regardless of who made it.
  3. Supplemental Resources

    1. Competition is for Losers
    2. Minimum Viable Personality
  4. Other

    1. Tim O’Riley – for authors obscurity is a much bigger threat than piracy.

Homesteading the Noosphere

  1. Key Points

    1. Unconscious adaptations are sometimes at odds with the conscious ideology.
    2. Hacker Culture
      1. Attributes
        1. Degree of zealotry – is this a means to an end or an end in itself
        2. Degree of hostility toward commercial software companies
      2. Ownership can be acquired by:
        1. founding the project
        2. being given their project by the founder
        3. adopting an abandoned project after due diligence to find the owner.
      3. Taboos
        1. There is strong social pressure against forking projects (it should only be done under great necessity and with public justification)
          1. Exposes pre-fork contributors to a reputation risk they can only control by spreading themselves out more
          2. Hackers say: it is wasteful to duplicate work as both projects continue to evolve
          3. Forking is the nuclear option
        2. Distributing changes to a project without cooperating with moderators is frowned upon
          1. Rogue patches/binaries exposes owners to reputation risk
        3. It is NOT OK to remove someone’s name without their consent
          1. Doing this steals the victim’s gift to be presented as the thief’s gift.
          2. Rogue patches can create compatibility problems
      4. Culture models
        1. Gift Culture
          1. Adaptations to abundance (not scarcity), arise in populations do not have problems with survival goods.
          2. You get social status by what you give away (not what you control)
        2. Craftsmanship Culture – related to gift culture, people want to make something good and want others to use that.
        3. Reputation
          1. A good reputation among your peers is a reward
          2. Prestige is a good way to attract attention and cooperation
          3. In a mixed economy (e.g. mixed with exchange) your reputation may benefit you there as well.
    3. How can the culture be leveraged more effectively?

History of Free and Open Source Software

  1. Historical Significance

    1. The “free software movement” was started in 1983, but is predated by other related projects. Historically software was shared freely in a free software community.
    2. Things like recipes and even patents were shared historically.
    3. Software was shared via DECUS tapes and BBS networks in the early 80s
    4. Stallman launched GNU (1983) and was followed up by Linux.
    5. Open Source started with Raymond’s The cathedral and the Bazar (1997). It inspired release of Netscape, which is the basis of Mozilla Firefox. They rebranded the movement as “open source”
  2. Key Points

    1. Adopting the name “open source” effectively separated their movement from the divisive “free software”. Stallman argued that while they were allies the “open soruce” movement was abandoning the philosophical rots of the “free software” movement.
    2. At first companies established in the industry (e.g. Microsoft) were openly opposed to open source. They have since softened, but are still unfavorable just more quietly.
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