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After the Software Wars Paperback – February 20, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
During his time at Microsoft Curtis saw Windows struggle with the expensive limitations of the closed industrial model while its free rival - Linux - consistently improved relative to Windows to the point where he is now quite happy to use only Linux. (I have used it as my main operating system for over a year and agree it compares favorable to Windows in most ways). The book is also timely because it asks us to take seriously a clearly less expensive and arguably better approach to software development at a time when economic stress makes it particularly relevant to do so.Read more ›
The book reads like a collection of loosely related blog posts. Perhaps that would have been the better style for this kind of book. Curtis is obviously very smart and well informed. Like other intelligent blogger-style-writers such as Joel Spolsky, Curtis hits on a number of interesting topics.
As another review mentioned, Curtis' book is billed as a Microsoft veteran's perspective on open-source. Curtis does write from this perspective in some chapters. Those chapters are perhaps the most interesting of the entire book. It is this ability to consider political implications and technical that constitute the book's highlights.
However, as the book progresses, Curtis turns his focus away from natural economic and technical advantages of open-source and starts to slip into a ideologically-driven critique/screed against technical decisions or policy of for-profit companies and what he perceives as their missteps.
I definitely believe that Curtis' views that he offers in the first half of the book are worth a read. His descriptions of a few issues are great:
* Linux in general. Both from a conceptual standpoint, and a highlevel technical standpoint, Curtis shines a light on Linux. He improved the context and facts with which I understand Linux, and its economic advantages.
* Wikipedia and the power of open models, and shared knowledge which Wikipedia has brought to the fore and which has proven remarkably more powerful than alternatives.Read more ›
Frankly I'm pretty annoyed that I paid money for this book, as at times, it does seem like a collection of barely thought out blog posts thrown together with minimal thought. It's ironic that Curtis is such a fan of Wikipedia, as many of his claims would, I'm sure, be edited out of Wikipedia, if he tried to write them there.
A particularly ludicrous example can be found on page 231, at the beginning of the "Open Document Format" chapter. The first paragraph manages to contain two "I have heard that...." statements.
Particularly ludicrous is the statement that.."I have heard that every corporate purchase in the UK involves the creation of an Excel spreadsheet at a stage of the process". When I was at college, any lecturer marking a paper I had written, would have immediately struck out any insertion by me of a "I have heard that statement", so why Curtis believes he can charge money for a book that contains unreferenced claims like this that are impossible to verify, is beyond me. I lived in the UK for the first 38 years of my life and can state this claim is just plain stupid and it seems like Curtis prints statements in a book from stuff he just believes to be true.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I liked the book but thought it would have more insights and less explanations about what the software is... Read morePublished on January 2, 2013 by Hugo Blanco Sandoval
The author is heavily biased and interprets his sources in very strange ways in order to prove his point. Read morePublished on April 12, 2012 by Mikael Falkvidd
This book is interesting for the most part but at the end, it's not really so much about free software any more than it is about economic theory and politics. Read morePublished on July 28, 2011 by EliasAlucard
I didn't even finish the book, thought I tried. This should never have been published as a book as its total rubbish. It's a rant and changes topics in mid-chapters sometimes. Read morePublished on April 1, 2011 by Emil
As someone who was formerly employed in the software industry, I found this book a fascinating read. Read morePublished on December 11, 2010 by Kerry Nietz
As others have said, the book is not particularly well-written and lacks structure. But in the appendix (of the PDF at least) he goes on an incoherent right-wing rant that would... Read morePublished on November 17, 2010 by rwm
This book was very interesting and I enjoyed reading it a lot. The author does a great job in making his points about getting the most from computer technology. Read morePublished on August 18, 2009 by Shannon VanWagner
When I purchased this book I expected insight into the free software world from a former senior Microsoft employee. Thats certainly how this book was presented. Read morePublished on July 27, 2009 by Timothy M. Gilbert