04 April 2005

Cathedral and Bazaar

In a totally unintended remorse-inducing moment, the brilliant Kevin Shockey asked Me if The Jenius had read "The Cathedral and the Bazaar."

Uh, no.

Though familiar with the basic premises of Eric Stevens Raymond's work, The Jenius had not read the opus. In a burst of energy, The Jenius did.

Prepare for insight.

The basic premise is that there exist two fundamental ways of Developing Software: "rigid"--as defined by "cathedral", and "open"--as defined by "bazaar." The power of Raymond's original insight is that the two ways also frame other types of development. Or lack of it.

Take the Puerto Rico Internet Industry. Is it "cathedral" or "bazaar"?

A "cathedral" implies a structure, guided by a firm hand. Oh, heavens no, that is not the case here.

A bazaar implies a team, guided by a firm goal. Sheesh, are You kidding? Team? Goal? The Jenius laughs.

So what are We? We are the worst of all cases: a Multi-person melee each locked into a limited structure. We lack the team spirit AND the overall structure, so We are, in essence, tiny cathedrals in the same field.

And what are tiny cathedrals in the same field? Mausoleums. Elaborate tombstones that fail to achieve usefulness, much less grandeur.

Is that, to quote Rosemary, all there is? No.

We are not a cemetery, Despite my Analogy. We have a "Field," We have "Players," We have "some rules" and if we decide to play, the goal will become obvious. But, and this is BUT squared, We have to choose bazaar--the Team--as Our primary premise.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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