Reflections on “The Cathedral and The Bazaar”

A very dear friend of mine, Vaughan Merlyn, recently suggested that I re-read Eric Raymond‘s book, “The Cathedral and the Bazaar.”  It’s been a while since I’ve picked this up and frankly I’d forgotten much of it.

The very first time I read “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” I was working for a company in the open-source software space.  At that time, many years ago now, I was relocating my desk from the Cathedral into the Bazaar, and the book offered me valuable cultural perspective.  At this writing, nearly 10 years later, the whole open-source versus closed-source dialogue is in quite a different place and it almost feels as awkward to reflect upon open-source development as some sort of alternative to mainstream as it does to think about whether my car is American, Japanese, Korean, German, or Mexican (it’s a bit of all those and it’s just the way it is these days).

My most recent reading of this book though gives me a completely different serving of brain food, for which I’m grateful to Mr. Raymond.  I’d like to share a couple of those points with you here.