This week's Business Week profiles Linux and its founder: "Linus Torvalds once led a ragtag band of software
geeks. Not anymore. Here's an inside look at how the unusual Linux
business model increasingly threatens Microsoft."
This is a good article on open source for several reasons.
First, it emphasizes open source as a method of developing software rather than licenses or "free" software. "Indeed, Linux Inc. has emerged as a model for collaborating in a new way on software development, which could have reverberations throughout the business world. Its essence is captured in one of the mottoes of the open-source world: Give a little, take a lot. In a business environment where efficiency rules, that's a potent formula -- maybe even strong enough to knock mighty Microsoft down a peg."
Second, it describes how at a crucial phase of the project five years ago Linus Torvald had to change his management style: "The crisis came to a head during a tense meeting at McVoy's house, on San Francisco's Twin Peaks. A handful of Linux' top contributors took turns urging Torvalds to change. After an awkward dinner of quiche and croissants, they sat on the living room floor and hashed things out. Four hours later, Torvalds relented. He agreed to delegate more and use a software program for automating the handling of code. When the program was ready in 2002, Torvalds was able to process contributions five times as fast as he had in the past."
Third, although Linux Inc. is not a company, the project is managed professionally with a high degree of coordination: "Little understood by the outside world, the community of Linux programmers has evolved in recent years into something much more mature, organized, and efficient. Put bluntly, Linux has turned pro.