Key moments in the Open Source world: The Cathedral and the Bazaar

By the mid-90s, Linux was starting to take off, and free software had become more mainstream (“less fringe”), the Linux kernel was being developed in a completely different way than anything seen before, and it was all a success.

In 1997, Eric S. Raymond published the seminal essay, “The Cathedral and the Bazaar,” comparing and contrasting the development methodologies and social structure of GCC and the Linux kernel, and discussing his own experiences with a development model “Bazaar” with the Fetchmail Project.

Many of the principles Raymond outlined in this essay would become key to agile development and the DevOps movement, as “release early, release often“, code refactorings, and treating users as co-developers, are critical in developing software. modern software.

This essay is credited with bringing free software to a wider audience and convincing software company executives at the time that releasing their software under a free software license was the right thing to do. Raymond was instrumental in coining the term “open source” and creating the Open Source Institute.

“The Cathedral and the Bazaar” was credited as a key document in the 1998 release of the source code for the Netscape Mozilla web browser.

At the time, this was the first major release of an existing and widely used piece of desktop software as free software.

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