Urban neighborhoods and Linux: part 2, selected morals about crowd-sourced prototypes

More from Eric Raymond’s “The Cathedral and the Bazaar”, each quote from the seminal essay about computer program development suggesting an insight about urban neighborhood development. "It's fairly clear that one cannot code from the ground up in bazaar style.  Your nascent developer community needs to have something runnable and testable to play with.  Your program doesn't have to work particularly well.  What it must not fail to do is (a) run, and (b) convince potential co-developers that it can be evolved into something really neat in the foreseeable future."  New urban neighborhood building should be based on existing really neat neighborhoods and prototypical small urban buildings so stakeholders can most easily understand that these buildings will add up to a new really neat urban neighborhood pretty quickly.

"Linus is not an innovative genius of design.  Rather, Linus seems to me to be a genius of engineering and implementation, with a sixth sense for avoiding bugs and development dead-ends and a true knack for finding the minimum-effort path from point A to point B.  Indeed, the whole design of Linux mirrors Linus's essentially conservative and simplifying design approach."  To develop an urban neighborhood, resilience is more important than iconic-ness.

"More users find more bugs because adding more users adds more different ways of stressing the program.  Accordingly you release often in order to get more corrections, and as a beneficial side effect you have less to lose if an occasional botch gets out the door."  Urban neighborhood development with small buildings can absorb some mistakes, with big buildings there is no room for error.

"While coding remains an essentially solitary activity, the really great hacks come from harnessing the attention and brainpower of entire communities.  Perhaps open-source culture will triumph not because cooperation is morally right, but because the closed-source world cannot win an arms race with open-source communities that can put orders of magnitude more skilled time into a problem."  Urban neighborhoods are not centrally planned, they are crowd-sourced.

"The Linux world behaves in many respects like a free market or an ecology, a collection of selfish agents attempting to maximize utility which in the process produces a self-correcting spontaneous order more efficient than any central planning could have achieved.  Linus was directly aiming to maximize the number of person-hours thrown at debugging and development, even at the possible cost of instability in the code."  Small urban buildings are how you get 100 small property owners to make selfish decisions that add up to an urban neighborhood.