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Embracing Insanity: Open Source Software Development (Other Sams) Paperback – September 15, 2000
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From the Back Cover
In this book, you will learn where the Open Source movement comes from and what motivates its adherents. You will be introduced to the culture that fuels the movement, as well as the personalities and organizations that promote its growth. You will also understand the strengths of the Open Source movement and how it changes the way in which software is written. In addition, people and organizations wishing to participate in the Open Source world will be given a guide regarding what to do - and what not to do - and why. You do not need to be a technical wizard to read this book. It does not matter if you are an IT manager, a programmer, or just someone who is interested in new trends in technology. This book will peel away the mystery and misunderstandings surrounding the Open Source movement.
About the Author
Russell Pavlicek labeled by IBM, as an Open Source "advocacy guru" is a 20-year computer industry veteran. He is a regular speaker at Linux conferences; including LinuxWorld, Linux Expo, Linux for Suits, and the Bazaar, and has written several articles on Linux, and is often quoted in articles dealing with the subject of Open Source. In his day job, Russell is the Linux/Open Source advocate at Compaq Corporation. He is widely respected for his dual perspective of technologist and business strategist.
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Top Customer Reviews
Buy this book for your mom, your freinds, or your boss, so that they finally understand what it is that you do late at night, and how you can 'give your work away'.
This book, while small, is fairly complete, and doesn't commit the cardinal sin of using jargon or technical terms that aren't defined.
The book is divided in three parts. The first one `talks' about the origins of o-s and why is it better than proprietary software. The second explains what the geek culture is and what is the o-s/free-sw community and how it works. It presents some mistakes that people make regarding o-s/free-sw. The third part of the book explains how we can participate in this community, how to make business and what are the main players (persons, institutions, companies). At the end the author presents a resume of the principal o-s/free-sw licenses.
This book is an easy reading, interesting and well written. The problem is that the subjects aren't presented with sufficient depth, especially when related to how to make business with this software.
It feels like the author didn't have much to say after chapter 3 and tried to write some stuff such as comparing hackers to superheroes ("both have 'exceptional powers', but are not understood by society") or explaining the "importance of beer for the community" (no kidding!), just to fill the number of pages agreed with the editor. So for the second half of the book he spends pages and pages listing "useful sites" like freshmeat and sourceforge, some "important people" such as Linus Torvalds and Alan Cox, and, well, repeating how Linux is cool and "the community" is ultra-cool.
The author is an open-source evangelist so I expected some bias, but the fact he doesn't enumerate one single flaw on open-source development model is suspect. No methodology/philosophy is perfect.
Another point to ponder is that lots of "advantages" of open-source development he enlists also applies for any good software, no matter how it's produced, and some of the most common questions, such as "how do I get support?" are answered with "you have usenet and IRC for that" which is not exactly what people expect to hear (not to mention it also applies for traditional "closed" software)
Open source adepts won't have anything new to read on this book and people who don't believe on it won't be convinced after such a biased and superficial read. Those could actually misuse this book _against_ open source.
Anyone considering doing business within the Open Source community or relating to it should read this book.
I thought so much of "Embracing Insanity" that I obtained a copy for our CEO, and suggested that it be assigned reading for all our executives, as well as recommend it for new hires.
I've been waiting for this book to come along.
I you decide to buy this book you might also consider the book "Open Source Development With CVS" by Karl Franz Fogel. In one of it's less technical chapters it accomplishes something this book does not.
I guess the lack of humour is one of the things I miss. I miss the fun! But to get the bare bone facts - this is definitively the bok for introduction to OpenSource-development.
It is as good as any religion. The arguments are equally deep.
Only one question remains: where are the source for the book so I can correct the errors in it?
So go out and cooperate with your competitors and jointly develop one single product. Then the users wont have to chose which product to use because there will be only one available.