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Craig Markwardt (craigmnet@cow.physics.wisc.edu) writes:

> And today, I posted small bug fix for you early adopters who have IDL
> 5.3. (I don't :-()

I've been reading an excellent book by Eric S. Raymond
entitled _The Cathedral & the Bazaar: Musings on Linux
and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary_. You 
can find it on Amazon:


Raymond is a "hacker", in the true meaning of the word.
Meaning he is "an enthusiast, an artist, a tinkerer,
a problem solver, an expert". This book is a collection of
his essays, which can also be downloaded for free from
any number of locations on the Internet. This book describes
the Open Source culture--epitomized by Richard Stallman
and his EMACS editor-- and how it really works.

I've become a convert and I highly recommend this book
to anyone interested in the Open Source movement.

The title essay talks about the kinds of things I think
we are often about in this newsgroup: sharing ideas, 
sharing code, participating in a community of users
with shared interests, etc. And it explains how Open
Source ideas can generate very good code. Code that is
often better than commercial code.

One of the reasons the code is better is that it is
seen by more "eyeballs". In fact, it is a premise of
Open Source Software that "all bugs are shallow bugs,
given enough eyeballs". I think this is true. It's
certainly true in my experience on this newsgroup.
I've often joked about finding bugs by posting code,
but the feedback has been invaluable to me and
my programs are significantly improved by the interaction. 

Anyway, I thought some of you would be interested in
this book and the ideas in it. And I also wanted to
let you know that you will be seeing a LOT more
not-fully-debugged code from me, since I now understand
this to be part of the creative process and not an
attempt to make the author embarrassed. :-)



David Fanning, Ph.D.
Fanning Software Consulting
Phone: 970-221-0438 E-Mail: davidf@dfanning.com
Coyote's Guide to IDL Programming: http://www.dfanning.com/
Toll-Free IDL Book Orders: 1-888-461-0155