The Magic Cauldron (essay)

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The Magic Cauldron is an essay by Eric S. Raymond on the open source economic model.[1][2][3][4] It can be read freely online, and was published in his book The Cathedral and Bazaar in 1999.[5]


The essay analyzes the economic models that Raymond believes can sustain an open-source project in four steps:[6][7]

  • It first analyzes what the author sees as classical myths about the cost refund in software development and tries to present a game-theory based model of the supposed stability of open-source cooperation.
  • Secondly, it presents nine theoretical models that would work for sustainable open-source development: two non-profit, seven for-profit.
  • Thirdly it states a theory to decide when it is economically interesting for software to remain closed.
  • Finally, it examines some mechanisms that, according to Raymond, the market invented to fund for-profit open-source development (like patronage system and task markets).[8]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Himma, Kenneth E.; Tavani, Herman T., eds. (2008). The Handbook of Information and Computer Ethics. Wiley-Interscience. pp. 261–263. ISBN 0471799599. 
  2. ^ "Informationweek, Issues 742-750". InformationWeek (p 75). 1999. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  3. ^ Brian Jepson, Joan Peckham, Ram Sadasiv (2000). Database application programming with Linux. John Wiley. p. 143. ISBN 9780471355496. 
  4. ^ Fuggetta, Alfonso (2003). "Open source software––an evaluation". The Journal of Systems and Software. 66 (1): 85. doi:10.1016/S0164-1212(02)00065-1. 
  5. ^ Baldwin, Carliss Y; Kim Clark (Jul 2006). "The Architecture of Participation: Does Code Architecture Mitigate Free Riding in the Open Source Development Model?". Management Science. 52 (7): 1125. doi:10.1287/mnsc.1060.0546. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  6. ^ Samir Chopra, Scott D. Dexter (2007). Decoding Liberation: The Promise of Free and Open Source Software. Routledge Studies in New Media and Cyberculture. pp. 21–23. ISBN 0415978939. 
  7. ^ Carmichael, Patrick; Leslie Honour (January 2002). "Open Source as appropriate technology for global education". International Journal of Educational Development. 22 (1): 50. doi:10.1016/S0738-0593(00)00077-8. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  8. ^ Bruns, Bryan (2001). "Open sourcing nanotechnology research and development: issues and opportunities" (PDF). Nanotechnology. 12 (3): 199, 203. doi:10.1088/0957-4484/12/3/303. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 

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