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Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution Paperback – January 13, 1999
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The open-source movement has become a cause célèbre in light of the widespread adoption of Linux, Perl, and Apache as well as its corporate support from Netscape, IBM, and Oracle--and strongly felt opposition from Microsoft. Open Sources doesn't address why these Microsoft foes are throwing their weight behind the movement. Instead, it focuses on the history and philosophy of open-source software (previously referred to as freeware) as an argument for shaping the future of programming. Open Sources is much larger than just a fight with any one company. Instead, it is a revolutionary call to release software development from the vested interests that label new directions in software development as threatening.
This is not to say that opening the source code is an entirely egalitarian and communistic endeavor. These are programmers and startup owners; they want to be able to continue to program for a living. To that end, Open Sources contains strong business profiles from entrepreneurs such as Apache's--and now, O'Reilly & Associates'--Brian Behlendorf, who discusses how to give away software in order to lure customers in for specialized versions. In many ways, this is a hands-on guide, displaying an insider's view of the development process and providing specifics on testing details and altering licensing agreements. However, interspersed with tech talk is a reader-friendly guide for those interested in the future of software development. --Jennifer Buckendorff
From Library Journal
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
This is a great book for achieving basic literacy in the (generically-termed) Open Source movement.
By reading this book, you'll get rms' view of why software must be free. (And indeed, why it eventually will be free.) You'll also find out how some companies (like the newly-merged RedHat/Cygnus conglomerate) can thrive in a market where the product is free.
If you read *all* of the essays, you'll even find out why the Free Software Foundation's GPL does not work in some cases, and how "Open Source Software" is similar to and differs from "Free Software". (The below reviewer should be slapped with his Clue Stick for not taking the time to read and understand this important difference. ;-)
And you'll also find out why Perl (like Larry Wall himself) is so strange and brilliant at the same time.
The reason this book only gets 4 stars is due to the lack of proofing. One of Wall's diagrams is completely missing, and there are numerous typos. This is the first O'Reilly book I've seen with a lot of stupid mistakes. (And I've seen a lot of them. =)
Others I was less impressed with. Stallman's article is predictable and self-serving. He explains how he evolved his software-as-gift philosophy but doesn't come close to terms with how the software industry can support substantial employment if all source is given away. There's yet another history of the different branches of BSD Unix. There's a breathtaking inside account of the launch of Mozilla which ends with the fancy Silicon Valley party when development has finally gotten underway. The low point is Larry Wall's "essay", which is a frankly ridiculous waste of time and print.
Although this is a mixed bag, there's enough reference material and interesting points of view to keep the book around.
That said, it should be noted that the Amazon reviewer above gets it wrong when she writes that the book gives a "fascinating look at the raging debate." In fact, *nothing* about Open Source is debated in this book, which is a major disappointment. As the reviewer from Princeton below notes, the goodness of everything Open Source and the badness of everything Microsoft seems to be a given for many of the writers. At the risk of criticizing the book for not being something its creators didn't intend, I think it would be greatly improved with the addition of a wider range of viewpoints and even a dissenting voice or two. (There are a number of essays that could give place to some alternate content: Eric Raymond's second essay, "The Revenge of the Hackers," leans heavily toward the self-congratulatory, as does the Netscape cheerleaders' "Story of Mozilla." And Larry Wall's "Diligence, Patience, and Humility" seems to have been included not on its own merits but on the author's reputation as the Perl Deity.)
A final wish is for the book to address a broader range of readers.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There are some interesting essays here (Paul Vixie's "Software Engineering" was particularly interesting), but Eric Raymond's presence looms too large in the text. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Rev. Dummy Gladhands
Open Sources is a collection of essays related to Open Source development. It was published in 1999, which was a wonderfully interesting time in "open source land" as it had grown... Read morePublished on September 1, 2013 by Bas Vodde
It gives one a different perspective to read the essays of the people who are in the midst of the open source revolution, and making a huge difference in the way we live and think... Read morePublished on May 3, 2013 by mattallmill
The essays are mostly a retelling of the history of open source software. I find it curious how much was written about Netscape, an enterprise that ultimately failed. Read morePublished on April 8, 2008 by Individual Investor
This book is an interesting window on the Open Source world. It is a strange planet with strange people. Some crazy idealist like R. Read morePublished on October 20, 2001
All the essays are well written, enjoyable, informative and a great read. Anyone interested in open source software, where S/W development might be going and Unix/Linux/GNU... Read morePublished on December 30, 2000
This book was the first O'Reilly book to contain essays about the concept of Open Source and was later followed by the book, The Cathedral and the Bazaar. Read morePublished on November 15, 2000 by Todd Hawley
Open Sources is a collection of essays by people who have been involved in a prominent way in what is being called "the open source revolution. Read morePublished on June 8, 2000
Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution is an extremely interesting book about Open Sourcing in the real world consisting of essays by the people on the inside of the... Read morePublished on February 12, 2000 by Robert Wade