Review

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The Success of Open Source, by Steven Weber

David Megías

Professor of Computer Science and Multimedia Studies at the UOC
Co-director of the UOC’s international master’s degree in Free Software

abstract

In the book The Success of Open Source Steven Weber analyses the factors for success in the model for development of free (The Free Software Foundation) and open source (Open Source Initiative) software in an unfavourable political and economic context. Having defined the concept of open source software, the author then offers a comprehensive look at its history, since the beginnings of the UNIX operating system (The UNIX System) at the Bell laboratories, at the end of the 1960s. Indeed, UNIX was the father of two other widely known and used systems: GNU (The GNU Operating System) / Linux (Linux Online!) and FreeBSD (The FreeBSD Project). The author highlights the influence that the UNIX operating system architecture has had on toadys free systems and the ethics that are associated with this operating system, which is closely linked to the academic world. Subsequently, Weber rigorously examines the economic policies related to the model for development of open source software. During the book, the author clearly and precisely documents the collaborative methods for the development of open source software, stressing the way in which the communities organise themselves, resolve conflicts and take decisions. The book also dedicates an important section to the legal framework surrounding the software industry, given that this has a particular effect on free software. Copyright, patents and software licences are explained from a practical and understandable point of view.

keywords

free software, open source software, software economy, internet-based development environments



Published in: September 2005




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