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O'Reilly

O'Reilly Press Room

January 29, 1999
Voices from the Open Source Revolution
SEBASTOPOL, CA -- The hurricane force of the Open Source movement has taken many industry leaders by surprise. Until recently, Open Source software quietly fueled the Internet. But within the past year, Open Source has grabbed attention of the industry with a flurry of headlines. Netscape has opened the source code to Mozilla; IBM supports Apache; major database vendors have ported their products to Linux; Microsoft leaks the Halloween document. Suddenly, Open Source is recognized as a viable mainstream alternative to commercial software.

In Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution, leaders of Open Source come together in print for the first time to discuss a new vision of the software industry they have created. The essays in this volume offer insight into how the Open Source movement works, why it succeeds, and where it is going.

For programmers who have labored on Open Source projects, Open Sources is the new gospel: a powerful vision from the movement's spiritual leaders. For businesses integrating Open Source software into their enterprise, Open Sources reveals the mysteries of how open development builds better software, and how businesses can leverage freely available software for a competitive business advantage.

The contributors here have been the leaders in the Open Source arena:

  • Brian Behlendorf (Apache)
  • Kirk McKusick (Berkeley Unix)
  • Tim O'Reilly (Publisher, O'Reilly & Associates)
  • Bruce Perens (Debian Project, Open Source Initiative)
  • Tom Paquin and Jim Hamerly (mozilla.org, Netscape)
  • Eric Raymond (Open Source Initiative)
  • Richard Stallman (GNU, Free Software Foundation, Emacs)
  • Michael Tiemann (Cygnus Solutions)
  • Linus Torvalds (Linux)
  • Paul Vixie (Bind)
  • Larry Wall (Perl)
  • Bob Young (Red Hat)

This book explains why the majority of the Internet's servers use Open Source technologies for everything from the operating system to Web serving and email. Key technology products developed with Open Source Software have overtaken and surpassed the commercial efforts of billion dollar companies like Microsoft and IBM to dominate software markets. Learn the inside story of what led Netscape to decide to release its source code using the Open Source mode. Learn how Cygnus Solutions builds the world's best compilers by sharing the source code. Learn why venture capitalists are eagerly watching Red Hat Software, a company that gives its key product -- Linux -- away.

For the first time in print, this book presents the story of the Open Source phenomenon told by the people who created this movement.

"Linux today has millions of users, thousands of developers, and a growing market. It is used in embedded systems; it is used to control robotic devices; it has flown on the space shuttle. I'd like to say that I knew this would happen, that its all part of the plan for world domination. But honestly this has all taken me by surprise. I was much more aware of the transition from one to one hundred users than the transition from one hundred to one million users."
-Linus Torvald, "The Linux Edge" in OpenSources; Voices from the Open Source Revolution.

"Open-source software has already created a fork in the road. Just as the early microcomputer pioneers (in both hardware and software) set the stage for today's industry, open-source software has set the stage for the drama that is just now unfolding, and that will lead to a radical reshaping of the computer industry landscape over the next five to ten years."
-Tim O'Reilly, "Hardware, Software, and Infoware" in OpenSources; Voices from the Open Source Revolution.

"We have a fondness for sayings in the Perl community. One of them is 'There's more than one way to do it.' This is true in Perl. It's also true of Perl. And it's true of the Open Source community. I won't tell you everything about how Open Source works; that would be like trying to explain why English works. But I can say something about Perl, and where it's going. Here's another saying: 'Three great virtues of programming are laziness, impatience, and hubris, Great Perl programmers embrace those virtues. So do Open Source developers. But here I'm going to talk about some other virtues: diligence, patience, and humility.' If you think these sound like the opposite, you're right. If you think a single community can't embrace opposing values, then you should spend more time with Perl. After all, there's more than one way to do it."
-Larry Wall, in "Diligence, Patience, and Humility" in OpenSources; Voices from the Open Source Revolution.

"Yoda's philosophy (There is no 'try') sounds neat, but it doesn't work for me. I have done most of my work while anxious about whether I could do the job, and unsure that it would be enough to achieve the goal if I did. But I tried anyway, because there was no one but me between the enemy and my city, Surprising myself, I have sometimes succeeded. Sometimes I have failed; some of my cities have fallen. Then I found another threatened city, and got ready for another battle.

Over time, I've learned to look for threats and put myself between them and my city, calling on other hackers to come and join me. Nowadays, I'm often not the only one. It is a relief and a joy when I see a regiment of hackers digging in to hold the line, and I realize this city may survive--for now. But the dangers are greater each year, and now Microsoft has explicitly targeted our community. We can't take the future of freedom for granted. Don't take it for granted! If you want to keep your freedom, you must be prepared to defend it."
-Richard Stallman, "The GNU Operating System and the Free Software Movement" in OpenSources; Voices from the Open Source Revolution.

"Open Source software taps the intrinsic efficiency of the technical free market, but it does so in an organic and unpredictable way. Open Source businesses take on the role of Adam Smith's 'invisible hand' guiding it both to help the overall market and to achieve their microeconomic goals."
-Michael Tiemann, "Future of Cygnus Solutions." in OpenSources; Voices from the Open Source Revolution.

###

Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution
Edited by Chris DiBona, Sam Ockman & Mark Stone
1st Edition January 1999 (US)
ISBN: 1-56592-582-3, 280 pages , $24.95

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