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Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story about open source software, too!, February 1, 2009
This review is from: The Invention of Air (Hardcover)
I love a good biography, especially one that is willing to provide enough context to make reasonable commentary on the present condition. This book is a great biography, and by encompassing history from 300M years ago to the present day (of the Long Now), it illuminates and critiques the present condition naturally.

What compelled me to read this book is the number of people who sought me out and said "you have to read this book--it talks about the open source software revolution two hundred years before open source software existed!" As President of the Open Source Initiative, I became curious why so many people were telling me this. Then answer is: it's true!

Steven Johnson does a great job with both the particulars and the general, making the story both exciting in its details and relevant in its impact and the way it informs understanding. His understanding of open source, and the way he finds the roots of open source in the discussions and collaborations between Priestley, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson are a welcome addition to the history of our movement.

I highly recommend this book to all who enjoy a good biography, a good telling of some history of science, and above all, to any who are interested in learning about how this revolutionary thinker, living in revolutionary times, sowed the seeds that would finally bear fruit in the software revolution of the 21st century.
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Location: Chapel Hill, NC United States

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