Knowledge, Technology & Policy

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 23–49

The cathedral and the bazaar

  • Eric Raymond

DOI: 10.1007/s12130-999-1026-0

Cite this article as:
Raymond, E. Know Techn Pol (1999) 12: 23. doi:10.1007/s12130-999-1026-0


I anatomize a successful open-source project, fetchmail, that was run as a deliberate test of some theories about software engineering suggested by the history of Linux. I discuss these theories in terms of two fundamentally different development styles, the "cathedral" model, representing most of the commercial world, versus the "bazaar" model of the Linux world. I show that these models derive from opposing assumptions about the nature of the software-debugging task. I then make a sustained argument from the Linux experience for the proposition that "Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow," suggest productive analogies with other self-correcting systems of selfish agents, and conclude with some exploration of the implications of this insight for the future of software.

Copyright information

© Transaction Publishers 2000

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  • Eric Raymond

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