Rebel Code

Moody, Glyn
Date finished: 2001-03-31

An excellent book on free software in the 90s, focusing on Linux but also covering Apache, Perl, Samba and others in passing. For a long time I've been griping that there are no articles which show what a free software project is like from the inside, giving an idea of the delicate interaction between maintainers, and between maintainers and users. I wanted to write such an article covering the run-up to Python 1.6, but then the release was delayed, blowing that plan to hell, recent development has become much less interesting, and I won't be around for future releases.

Moody's book fills that gap to a sizable degree, covering the early years of Linux and the debates that affected the code, in some detail and with a high level of accuracy, though many of the programming issues are simplified, and the book seems to get sketchier as it nears the end. As the story moves forward to 1996, 1998, 2000, it gets much less interesting and focuses more on businesses and acquisitions until the software is mostly lost from view. Some of the companies mentioned here are already dead, even though the book was finished only last October, and it's clear that businesses are much less permanent than a body of code. This doesn't affect the quality of the first two-thirds, though; if you're a free software hacker who wants to have your parents understand what you do, this book will probably help.

Tagged: computing

Permalink: http://books.amk.ca/2001/03/Rebel_Code.html

%T  Rebel Code
%@  2001-03-31
%A  Moody, Glyn
%K  computing

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