September 14, 2009 2 Comments
First thoughts on these “readings” were… Wow, David wasn’t kidding with how much work we’d have to go through. It was a lot of reading. Mainly, it was because I waited last minute to do them. I won’t make that mistake anymore if this is what will be assigned as work every week, rest assured. As he also mentioned in class, it wasn’t really hard work. It was merely long. One thing I do have to say about them though, it was very educational.
I didn’t know too much about the history of Open Source, Linux and the Free Software Foundation. Revolution OS filled me in on the past. I found it very intriguing and fascinating, which is odd because I don’t generally enjoy documentaries. I found the idea and foundation of Open Source to be very appealing. With the Free Software Foundation, I enjoyed the recounting of the GNU General Public License. This license gave the user the ability to redistribute his revised code on the notion that he would do it for free to the next user; it was aptly named copyleft. Now, one thing I always attributed to ‘Open Source’ or ‘Free Software’ was the fact that it was free and always made me think that it couldn’t earn money. I mean, how was it possible to earn money when you’re giving something away for free? I always generally answered with: “The only way to do so is to get some sort of investors.” This wasn’t the case, necessarily, as Michael Tiemann proved with Cygnus. I just thought it was worth of note, in my mind’s eye anyway.
The movie portrayed Eric Raymond and also referenced his paper: The Cathedral and the Bazaar. I can understand why David proclaimed this document as canonical. It can open people’s eyes. There’s definitely a great many points within the text. One such point is Linus Torvald’s style of development – release early and often, delegate everything you can, be open to the point of promiscuity. This leads to the Open Source communities’ law: Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow. It was, of course, suitably named as Linus’ Law. Raymond also pointed out that “An important trait of great ones [developers] is constructive laziness.” I’m also very partial to when he states, “I think it is not critical that the coordinator be able to originate designs of exceptional brilliance, but it is absolutely critical that the coordinator be able to recognize good design ideas from others.” In other words, it’s all about the community. This sense of community is one that I’m looking forward to experiencing myself this semester. With it, I hope to achieve great things.