Scott Rosenberg - “Dreaming In Code”

Follows the development of Chandler, a now defunct attempt at creating an open-source Outlook competitor. The company behind the project, OSAF, tried to differentiate themselves radically from typical software house corporations but ended up repeating every mistake in the book, including the ones described decades before in The Mythical Man Month.

The writing is pretty good, the author worked for Salon.com and he can create convincing narratives. That being said, the book is pretty wordy and the story could easily been condensed into half the size, without much detriment to the quality. This guy is no Nicholas Nassim Taleb.

The fact that the author left the project when it was still struggling hinders the book by not providing any climax, any real takeaway. Maybe that’s the point though.

It was an interesting read for me because there’s lots of Python history hidden there, even if it’s really only mentioned briefly in the background. And there’s a lot of background. I liked those parts more than the actual story really. There’s good “layman” summaries of many technical things which made me rethink what’s essential about them, given how long I’ve been working on them.