THE SUCCESS OF OPEN SOURCE

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, 2004 - Business & Economics - 312 pages
14 Reviews

Much of the innovative programming that powers the Internet, creates operating systems, and produces software is the result of "open source" code, that is, code that is freely distributed--as opposed to being kept secret--by those who write it. Leaving source code open has generated some of the most sophisticated developments in computer technology, including, most notably, Linux and Apache, which pose a significant challenge to Microsoft in the marketplace. As Steven Weber discusses, open source's success in a highly competitive industry has subverted many assumptions about how businesses are run, and how intellectual products are created and protected.

Traditionally, intellectual property law has allowed companies to control knowledge and has guarded the rights of the innovator, at the expense of industry-wide cooperation. In turn, engineers of new software code are richly rewarded; but, as Weber shows, in spite of the conventional wisdom that innovation is driven by the promise of individual and corporate wealth, ensuring the free distribution of code among computer programmers can empower a more effective process for building intellectual products. In the case of Open Source, independent programmers--sometimes hundreds or thousands of them--make unpaid contributions to software that develops organically, through trial and error.

Weber argues that the success of open source is not a freakish exception to economic principles. The open source community is guided by standards, rules, decisionmaking procedures, and sanctioning mechanisms. Weber explains the political and economic dynamics of this mysterious but important market development.



Table of Contents:

Preface

1. Property and the Problem of Software
2. The Early History of Open Source
3. What Is Open Source and How Does It Work?
4. A Maturing Model of Production
5. Explaining Open Source: Microfoundations
6. Explaining Open Source: Macro-Organization
7. Business Models and the Law
8. The Code That Changed the World?

Notes
Index



Reviews of this book:
In the world of open-source software, true believers can be a fervent bunch. Linux, for example, may act as a credo as well as an operating system. But there is much substance beyond zealotry, says Steven Weber, the author of The Success of Open Source...An open-source operating system offers its source code up to be played with, extended, debugged, and otherwise tweaked in an orgy of user collaboration. The author traces the roots of that ethos and process in the early years of computers...He also analyzes the interface between open source and the worlds of business and law, as well as wider issues in the clash between hierarchical structures and networks, a subject with relevance beyond the software industry to the war on terrorism.
--Nina C. Ayoub, Chronicle of Higher Education

Reviews of this book:
A valuable new account of the [open-source software] movement.
--Edward Rothstein, New York Times

We can blindly continue to develop, reward, protect, and organize around knowledge assets on the comfortable assumption that their traditional property rights remain inviolate. Or we can listen to Steven Weber and begin to make our peace with the uncomfortable fact that the very foundations of our familiar "knowledge as property" world have irrevocably shifted.
--Alan Kantrow, Chief Knowledge Officer, Monitor Group

Ever since the invention of agriculture, human beings have had only three social-engineering tools for organizing any large-scale division of labor: markets (and the carrots of material benefits they offer), hierarchies (and the sticks of punishment they impose), and charisma (and the promises of rapture they offer). Now there is the possibility of a fourth mode of effective social organization--one that we perhaps see in embryo in the creation and maintenance of open-source software. My Berkeley colleague Steven Weber's book is a brilliant exploration of this fascinating topic.
--J. Bradford DeLong, Department of Economics, University of California at Berkeley

Steven Weber has produced a significant, insightful book that is both smart and important. The most impressive achievement of this volume is that Weber has spent the time to learn and think about the technological, sociological, business, and legal perspectives related to open source. The Success of Open Source is timely and more thought provoking than almost anything I've come across in the past several years. It deserves careful reading by a wide audience.
--Jonathan Aronson, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California
  

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Review: The Success of Open Source

User Review  - Alexia Gaudeul - Goodreads

A clear and well-written introduction to the topic of open-source development and governance, with many insightful ideas and good illustrative examples. Read full review

Review: The Success of Open Source

User Review  - Tom Smyth - Goodreads

nice history of open source and an insightful review of reasons for its success. i consult this one again and again. Read full review

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Contents

Property and the Problem of Software
1
The Early History of Open Source
20
What Is Open Source and How Does It Work?
54
A Maturing Model of Production
94
Explaining Open Source Microfoundations
128
Explaining Open Source MacroOrganization
157
Business Models and the Law
190
The Code That Changed the World?
224
Notes
275
Index
303
Copyright

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GBN: The Success of Open Source
The core issue of this highly original and engaging book is the meaning of digital property. Political scientist and GBN consultant Steve Weber moves deftly ...
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The Success of Open Source | Cooperation Commons
Summary of: The Success of Open Source .... The Toyota Group and the Aisin Fire · The Success of Open Source · The Strategy of Affect: Emotions in Human ...
www.cooperationcommons.com/ node/ 411

Ted Leung on the air : The Success of Open Source
I finished Steven Weber's "The Success of Open Source" a while ago, but it's taken me a while to make my note-taking pass, and even more time to figure out ...
www.sauria.com/ blog/ 2006/ 06/ 04

Freedom to Tinker » Blog Archive » Recommended Reading: The ...
To my mind, Steven Weber’s book “The Success of Open Source” is the best. Weber explores the open source puzzle systematically, breaking it down into ...
www.freedom-to-tinker.com/ ?p=888

UC tltc: The Success of Open Source A Subject for UC Berkeley ...
And UC Berkeley's Steven Weber, a political scientist, has written a brisk-selling book about the open source community, The Success of Open Source, ...
www.ucop.edu/ tltc/ news/ 2004/ 12/ weber.php

citeulike: The Success of Open Source
</p><p> Weber argues that the success of open source is not a freakish exception to economic principles. The open source community is guided by standards, ...
www.citeulike.org/ group/ 718/ article/ 106560

Unintended Consequences: Reading: Weber, "Success of Open Source"
Weber’s “The Success of Open Source” (Harvard, 2004) includes numerous footnotes and a bibliography. It provides a thoughtful perspective on an emergent ...
www.dougsimpson.com/ blog/ archives/ 000363.html

Jacoozi - A Culture of Inclusion
Steven Weber's The Success of Open Source offers up some answers. ... The major thesis of The Success of Open Source is that open source radically and ...
www.jacoozi.com/ index.php?option=com_content& task=view& id=118& Itemid=134& PHPSESSID=f

The Success of Open Source - Steven Weber - Onet.pl Czytelnia
2004 Winner of the Professional/Scholarly Publishing Annual Award Competition, Computer and Information Science
czytelnia.onet.pl/ 0,20460,0,1,nowosci.html

David Megías - The Success of Open Source, by Steven Weber
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 ...
www.uoc.edu/ uocpapers/ dt/ eng/ megias.html

About the author (2004)

Steven Weber is Professor of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley.

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