The Success of Open Source

Steven Weber

Publisher: Harvard University, 2004, 312 pages

ISBN: 0-674-01292-5

Keywords: Open Source

Last modified: April 23, 2010, 10:35 a.m.

Much of the innovative programming that powers the Internet, creates operating systems, and produces software is the result of open source" code, that is, code that is freely distributed by those who write it. Leaving source code open has generated some of the most sophisticated developments in computer technology, including, most notably, Linux and Apache, which pose a significant challenge to Microsoft in the marketplace. A valuable new account of the [open-source software] movement. "In the world of open-source software, true believers can be a fervent bunch. Linux, for example, may act as a credo as well as an operating system. But there is much substance beyond zealotry. An open-source operating system offers its source code up to be played with, extended, debugged, and otherwise tweaked in an orgy of user collaboration. The author traces the roots of that ethos and process in the early years of computers … He also analyzes the interface between open source and the worlds of business and law, as well as wider issues in the clash between hierarchical structures and networks, a subject with relevance beyond the software industry to the war on terrorism.

  • Preface
  1. Property and the Problem of Software
  2. The Early History of Open Source
  3. What Is Open Source and How Does It Work?
  4. A Maturing Model of Production
  5. Explaining Open Source: Microfoundations
  6. Explaining Open Source: Macro-Organization
  7. Business Models and the Law
  8. The Code That Changed the World?

Reviews

The Success of Open Source

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Excellent ********** (10 out of 10)

Last modified: May 21, 2007, 2:47 a.m.

This is something as odd as a book written by a political science professor about Open Source, and he manages to create the most lucid and well-analysed piece that exists to date. If you are looking for your standard anti-MS shrills or the religious overtones of a committed technocrat, you are reading the wrong book.

It manages to explain the history of OSS, what it really is, how it works and why we should care. Add to that some legal advise and discussions, and I can't understand why you shouldn't read this book, even if you are no IT-person, as it is very well written.

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