Review of Open Sources

Open SourcesOpen Sources by Chris DiBona
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is for people who like to go back and revisit the early days of Open Source. When this was written, Google didn’t even appear, Yahoo was the world’s #1 web site, and Netscape was the fresh-faced challenger upsetting the established computing order. Much of it involves long explanations of things like licenses that are probably well-known to people today. But it can be interesting to revisit this history, particularly if you were not paying that much attention when it first happened. For example, understanding what Cygnus was doing before it got bought by Red Hat can be enlightening, and now that some people want to get away from the GCC it may even be relevant. The book is a series of essays written by the participants, and explain arcana such as why we use RFC’s (and why are they called that, anyway?) For that reason, I would not call it a book to sit down read through cover-to-cover. This would be a great book to dip into when you had 20-30 minutes to spare, however, and didn’t want to start on a long novel.

There is a follow up volume called Open Sources 2.0 which I have started reading, but it also is one I dip into, so it may be some time before I finish it.

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