Brief History Of Linux (#28)
Free, Open, Libre, Whatever Software
Eric S. Raymond's now famous paper, "The Cathedral and the Bazaar", set
the stage for the lucrative business of giving software away. In CatB, ESR
likened the software industry to an anarchistic bazaar, with each vendor
looking out for himself, trying to hoodwink customers and fellow vendors.
The produce vendor (i.e. Apple), for instance, felt no need to cooperate
with the crystal-ball seller (Oracle) or the con artist hocking miracle
drugs (Microsoft). Each kept their property and trade secrets to
themselves, hoping to gain an edge and make money fast. "With enough
eyeballs, all bug-ridden software programs are marketable," ESR observed.
ESR contrasted the "caveat emptor" Bazaar to an idealistic Cathedral model
used by free software developers. European cathedrals of medieval days
were built block-by-block with extensive volunteer manpower from the
surrounding community. Such projects were "open" in the sense that
everybody could see their progress, and interested people could wander
inside and offer comments or praise about construction methods. "Those
medieval cathedrals are still standing," ESR mused. "But bazaars built in
the 14th Century are long gone, a victim of their inferior nature."