Hackers Essay

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Commentary and Argument Forrest J. Cavaliere III has attempted to elaborate some of CatB's central ideas in Some Implications of Bazaar Size. Randy Boring has replied. Clay Shirky has expanded on the value of rapid evolution and the design of systems that encourage it in an excellent paper, In Praise of Evolvable Systems; also in View Source: Lessons from the Web's Massively Parallel Development The first critique of this paper to appear, When a Bazaar is Not a Bazaar, was thought-provoking but (IMO) basically wrongheaded. There is better commentary available, and a very thoughtful critique in Beyond the Cathedral, Beyond The Bazaar. The Linux Storm attempts to situate this paper within a larger analysis. If you think reading a ludicrously bad critique might be entertaining, see Nikolai Bezroukov's paper in First Monday. There is a link to it in my response. Ko Kuwabara's Linux: A Bazaar at the Edge of Chaos comments perceptively on both CatB and HtN, and further develops some analysis from a point of view rooted in evolutionary biology and chaos theory. Kuwabara's grasp of economics is weak; he falls for the `path-dependence' myth, and seems to suffer from some neo-Marxist misconceptions about what capitalism is. Fortunately these errors do not affect a really excellent and illuminating discussion of how Linux bears on the collective-action theories of Mancur Olson et. al. Michael Truscello's The Architecture of Information: Open Source Software and Tactical Poststructuralist Anarchism is (wait for it) a postomodernist deconstruction of the politics of CatB. Astonishingly, the jargon and the left-wing ax-grinding do not completely manage to smother every last germ of sense in it, though they come very close. There is even an insanely funny parody of CatB, The Circus Midget and the Fossilized Dinosaur Turd. My sides hurt after reading it.

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