Sebastopol, CA--When the original "Open Sources: Voices from the Revolution" was published in 1999, Eric. S. Raymond noted that the Internet "has even brought hacker culture to the beginnings of mainstream respectability and clout." A half-decade later, open source has grown far beyond the mainstream, observes Kim Polese, CEO of SpikeSource, in her foreword to Open Sources 2.0 (DiBona, Cooper, and Stone, O'Reilly, US $29.95). "It has become the bedrock over which the mainstream flows. Today it is hard to find a Fortune 500 company with an IT infrastructure that does not depend, in some fundamental way, on open source software."
"Open source has become the infrastructure of the Internet and every application running on it," agrees Chris DiBona, editor and contributor to Open Sources 2.0: "Understanding it is important for everyone who is on the Internet." DiBona and coeditors Danese Cooper and Mark Stone present a collection of thought-provoking essays from today's technology leaders. These essays explore open source's impact on the software industry and reveal how open source concepts are infiltrating other areas of commerce and society.
According to Mark Stone, there are three observable trends that contribute to the timeliness of this book. "First, open source business models have really matured. Companies are making good profits off of clever and well-planned open source business strategies," says Stone. "Those of us on the inside always knew there was a sound business strategy behind open source, but now the business of open source can be clearly articulated and demonstrated.
"Second, open source is at the center of some very important public policy debates," Stone adds. "Within the United States, we are shaping our policy about intellectual property and digital rights that will influence our society and economy for generations to come. People need to see the open source side of that debate. Outside the United States, developing nations are just beginning to take their place in the world of modern technology. They have a very strong will to control their own technology destiny and not place themselves in indentured servitude to large, established technology companies. These governments see open source as a powerful tools in preserving their technology freedom."
Finally, says Stone, there are many indicators that the collaborative practice exemplified in open source software development is moving into new arenas: "Distributed, online collaboration is a powerful capability that many groups can leverage. Sites like Wikipedia or Slashdot are early examples of non-technical groups using collaboration technology to create amazing results. This phenomenon will be pervasive in a few years, and the final essays in the book really set out a vision for what the phenomenon will look like."
It is a vision that will appeal to a broad audience. Software developers will find thoughtful reflections on practices and methodology from leading open source developers. Business executives will find analyses of business strategies from veteran open source business leaders. And those who are interested in an international perspective will find essays that describe the developing world's efforts to join the technology forefront.
The power of collaboration enabled by the Internet and open source software is changing the world in ways we can only begin to imagine. What does the future hold? From Wikipedia to Slashdot, from computer technology to biotechnology, the essays in the book reveal frontline views of functioning, flourishing, online collaborative communities. Open Sources 2.0 further develops the evolutionary picture that emerged with the original "Open Sources" and expands on the transformative open source philosophy. It's a must-read for anyone with a strong interest in technology trends.
Open Sources 2.0
Edited by Chris DiBona, Danese Cooper, and Mark Stone
ISBN: 0-596-00802-3, 445 pages, $29.95 US
O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
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