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Bill St. Arnaud is a consultant and research engineer who works with clients around the world on a variety of subjects such as next generation Internet networks and developing practical solutions to reduce CO2 emissions such as free broadband and dynamic charging of eVehicles. He is an author of many papers and articles on these topics and is a frequent guest speaker. For more details on my research interests see

Monday, June 11, 2007

Open Source - the Ignorance of Crowds

[There have been several good articles and discussion on some lists about the value of open source programming especially related to some of its inherent limitations. I agree with most critics about the challenges of open source with respect to large software projects. But to my mind the debate is becoming increasingly irrelevant. The problem is not about the pros and cons of open source - but about large monolith programming projects. Web services, Web 2.0, etc is slowly eliminating the need for such architectural approaches to solving large complex problems. Instead programmers and computer scientists are recognizing that a lot of this work can be incorporated into stand alone web services linked across the network. The modules can be developed independently by small teams of open source developers, where the same module can be re-used by many different applications. The value no longer remains resident in the software but how you mash up these services together to create new innovative solutions. Thanks to Frank Coluccio and Andrew Odlyzko for these pointers -- BSA]

The Ignorance of Crowds
by Nicholas G. Carr
Issue 47 | Summer 2007

The open source model can play an important role in innovation, but know its limitations. Ten years ago, on May 22, 1997, a little-known software programmer from Pennsylvania named Eric Raymond presented a paper at a technology conference in Wurzburg, Germany. Titled The Cathedral and the Bazaar the paper caused an immediate stir, and its renown has only grown in the years since. It is now widely considered one of the seminal documents in the history of the software industry.

Continued at:

Open Source Software Development as a Special Type of Academic Research

A Second Look at the Cathedral and Bazaar