Software Ecosystem

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Article publication date: 1 June 2004


(2004), "Software Ecosystem", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 53 No. 4.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Software Ecosystem

David Messerschmitt and Clemens SzyperskiThe MIT PressISBN: 0-262-13432-2£26.51

Software! Not a software package, but all software – that is the ambitious subject of this book.

It starts with a summary of “what makes software interesting” – if you do not think it is, perhaps this is not the book for you.

The second chapter defines information technology, then wanders around the topics of information, digital representations and programmability, before finishing with a thorough account of Moore’s Law and its implications. Subsequent chapters explore the different perspectives of users, developers, managers, policy experts, lawyers and economists. Finally, chapter 10 attempts to look into the future. This, however, is rather cursory and fails to excite or challenge.

Oddly enough, opinion formers such as the media, analysts and academics are completely ignored. They are apparently not part of the ecosystem according to these authors.

There are other omissions and annoyances. For example, though open source (or “community”) development is touched on, and Linus Torvalds does get his due credit for Linux, the GNU system does not rate a mention.

Perhaps the main fault with this book is its attempt to cover the whole “ecosystem”. The authors acknowledge that many readers will be primarily interested in “their own area”. However, some of the coverage means that even this may not be true!

This is not a bad book. Much of the content is good, some of it is interesting but ultimately it fails to hit either one specific target or sufficient mini-targets really well.