19. Open Source: Programming in the New Unix Community

Software is like sex—it’s better when it’s free.

—Linus Torvalds

We concluded Chapter 2 by observing the largest-scale pattern in Unix’s history; it flourished when its practices most closely approximated open source, and stagnated when they did not. We then asserted in Chapter 16 that open-source development tools tend to be of high quality. We’ll begin this chapter by sketching an explanation of how and why open-source development works. Most of its behaviors are simply intensifications of long-established Unix-tradition practices.

We’ll then descend from realm of abstraction and describe some of the most important folk customs that Unix has picked up from the open-source community—in ...

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