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Comment: A well-cared-for item that has seen limited use but remains in great condition. The item is complete, unmarked, and undamaged, but may show some limited signs of wear. Item works perfectly. Pages and dust cover are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine is undamaged.
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Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution Paperback – January 13, 1999

4.0 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution is a fascinating look at the raging debate that is its namesake. Filled with writings from the central players--from Linux creator Linus Torvalds to Perl creator Larry Wall--the book convinces the reader of the overwhelming merits of freeing up the many iterations of software's source code.

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

The idea for open source software began years ago with Richard Stallman, who at the time was considered crazy for proposing that computer code be free to all to use as they see fit as long as they posted the changed code for the common good. Along the way he won a MacArthur ("Genius") award, Linus Torvalds created Linux, and Brian Behlendorf developed Apache, the most used free web server package. This collection of writings by the leaders of the open source movement offers readers a chance to think about the past and how it will change the future of software development.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1st edition (January 13, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565925823
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565925823
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #798,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
First of all, take a look at the list of authors. It reads as a "Who's Who" guide for the software and tools I'm running on my current system. (Kernel by Torvalds, GNU/Free Software by Stallman, Open Source Software by a number of individuals/companies (esr, Perens), development tools by Cygnus (Tiemann), DNS by Vixie, web server by Apache (Behlendorf), CGI programming in Perl by Wall, browser by Netscape (Hamerly, Paquin), Linux Distribution by RedHat (Young), and references by O'Reilly. (Of course, there should be an "et al." behind every one of these names.)
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. =)
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Format: Paperback
This is a good idea on O'Reilly's part to try to document the history and goals of the Open Source movement, which had roots in several college campuses and research labs in the '70s and '80s, and became news in the late '90s with the popularity of Linux, Apache, and the decision of Netscape to open its browser source. The best introductory piece, however, is probably Eric Raymond's "Cathedral and the Bazaar" which is not in this book(O'Reilly publishes it separately, but it's available free on the Web and short enough to be read in one sitting). As for this collection, I liked Robert Young's business case for distributing open source - his story of how Red Hat was launched reminds me of the Compaq tale of "three guys in a restaurant". The Apache article is also quite good, and Linus Torvalds offers a brief but interesting (and characteristically opinionated) article about how Linux evolved technically. There's also a good article discussing the various open source licenses (BSD, GPL, Netscape, etc) and what they do and don't restrict.
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.
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Format: Paperback
I agree with many of the reviewers below that this book was helpful and often interesting. It gives a readable orientation to one of the most important movements in the software industry today, and the editors have been fortunate to gather together so many contributors who obviously know whereof they speak. In particular, the editors' Introduction, Eric Raymond's "Brief History of Hackerdom," Richard Stallman's account of GNU and FSF, Bruce Perens's discussion of Open Source, and Tim O'Reilly's essay on "Infoware" were informative and thought-provoking.
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.
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