Yesterday in the class I’m teaching (History and Theory of New Media) we were discussing some aspects of hacking and open source software and the book we were discussing (“Hacking” by Tim Jordan) discussed another book called “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” by Eric S. Raymond. The Cathedral and the Bazaar describes two types of software development:
1. The Cathedral model, in which source code is available with each software release, but code developed between releases is restricted to an exclusive group of software developers. GNU Emacs and GCC are presented as examples.
2. The Bazaar model, in which the code is developed over the Internet in view of the public. Raymond credits Linus Torvalds, leader of the Linux kernel project, as the inventor of this process. Raymond also provides anecdotal accounts of his own implementation of this model for the Fetchmail project.
We discussed how this Cathedral/Bazaar model is very useful for talking about all kinds of new media structures. What do you think MTurk is? I think it is a bazaar housed in a Cathedral.