A blog about Open Source, my work at the Gates Foundation and those I am fortunate enough to collaborate with

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“Most free software projects fail.” Read Karl Fogel for an antidote

August 5, 2011


Brian Behlendorf very kindly recommended this text to me as we consider how to ramp our work on a set of shared services for personalized learning (more to come on that topic)  Thanks to Karl and the good folks at O’Reilly, you can download it free of charge here

I was lucky enough to meet Karl at OSCON and thank him personally for this book.  Anyone involved in Open Source production including the major software houses will benefit from reading it.  It’s clearly laid out, crisply written and quickly convertible into a set of tenets that can be used to inform a development strategy and approach.  It is also fabulous how Karl manages to cover a huge amount of ground without losing the reader.  He will take you from the anthropology of a community all the way through to presentation of code for broader community contribution without you losing the thread.  There’s a lot in this book which will reward repeat reading.

“Most free software projects fail.”  Karl, you had me with that first sentence…I hope we at Gates can live up to your recommendations, avoid joining the junkpile, or at least get fired trying!


Christianity – The First Three Thousand Years

August 4, 2011

A remarkable book for believers and non-believers alike.  While I would describe myself as agnostic, I remain deeply interested in faiths, their genesis and the people who sustain them.  I am also a fan of MacCulloch’s having read his terrific history of the Reformation a couple years back.  The book focuses as much on the individual personalities as the socio-economic cross-currents that formed and shaped this extraordinary social phenomenon.  Thoroughly recommended.