Part Two: Lessons learned in the world of Open Source

Part Two

in which Linus is a dictator, laziness a virtue,

and hackers fight for their identity

Lessons learned in the world of Open Source

This book has no pretensions to being a history of Linux. Nor is it a technical guide to how Linux works. Moreover, as I am an engineer, I'll leave the writing about ethics to Himanen.1

In the world of software, the Open Source movement has successfully challenged traditional ways of thinking, which I have described in Part One as mean-spiritedness. But the software business is only one small part of the world, and I believe that other areas of business have a lot to learn from the Open Source movement. As private individuals, we all have something to learn from how these people have challenged the convention of mean-spirited business practices. Few of us may even notice that we now live in a world where we don't want to teach our friends how to play tunes on wineglasses. But even those of us who do notice may not have any alternative ways of functioning.

The aim of this book is to look at the culture of the Open Source community, its business and work ethics, and its values. The approach is very practical, and sometimes even resembles a case study. In this part of the book we will look at some of the principles and practices valued by the Open Source community, in the hope of learning something from them. Let's start with a subject which is bound to be useful for everybody: stress management à la Linus Torvalds.

  • 1. Pekka Himanen (1973), is a Finnish philosopher and perhaps best known for his book The Hacker Ethic, with Linus Torvalds and Manuel Castells. (See end of Part I.)
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