The Cathedral and the Bazzar – Eric S Raymond

Subtitle: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary

I must admit, that when I began this book, I didn’t know who Eric S Raymond was.
Per Wikipedia, Raymond became a prominent voice in the open source movement and co-founded the Open Source Initiative in 1998. He also took on the self-appointed role of ambassador of open source to the press, business and public. The release of the Mozilla (then Netscape) source code in 1998 was an early accomplishment.

The Cathedral and the Bazaar is an essay by Eric S. Raymond on software engineering methods, based on his observations of the Linux kernel development process and his experiences managing an open source project, fetchmail. It was first presented by the author at the Linux Kongress on May 27, 1997 and was published as part of a book of the same name in 1999, along with 5 other essays.

Basically, the Cathedral is the large company developed software, such as Microsoft or IBM, and the Bazaar is the open source movement.

According to to Raymond “Linux overturned much of what I thought I knew…The fact that this bazaar style seemed to work, and work well, came as a distinct shock… trying to understand why the Linux world not only didn’t fly apart in confusion, but seemed to go from strength to strength at a speed barely imaginable to cathedral-builders.

Raymond lists recounts many lessons he learned, here are the first seven:

1. Every good work of software starts by scratching a developer’s personal itch.
2. Good programmer’s know what to write. Great ones know what to rewrite (and reuse).
3. Plan to throw one away; you will anyhow.
4. If you have the right attitude, interesting problems will find you.
5. When you lose interest in a program, your last duty to it is to hand it off to a competent successor.
6. Treating your users as co-developers is your least-hassle route to rapid code improvement and effective debugging.
7. Release early. Release often. And listen to your customers.

In keeping with the concept of Open Source, the entire essay can be found online here:

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