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The Cathedral and the Bazaar

The Cathedral and the Bazaar is an essay by Eric Raymond on open source software engineering methods, based on his experience managing a successful open source project, fetchmail. It was first presented by the author at the Linux Kongress on May 27 1997.

The essay contrasts two different development models:

The essay's central thesis is Raymond's proposition that Given enough eyeballs, all bugss are shallow (termed Linus's law by Raymond): if the source code is available for the public to peruse, bugs will be discovered at a rapid rate. In contrast, Raymond claims that an inordinate amount of time and energy must be spent hunting for bugs in the Cathedral model, since the code is available only to a few developers.

The essay also helped convince most existing open source and free software projects to adopt Bazaar-style open development models.

The phrase itself has been extended to include non-software projects. Wikipedia is an example of a Bazaar-style project, while Nupedia or the Encyclopędia Britannica are examples of Cathedral-style project.

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