Open Source Guides Reading List

21 Must-read books for open source program managers, recommended by members of the TODO Group.


by Larry Lessig (2005)

A classic treatise on Internet regulation and the role of code as a form of law.

Intellectual Property and Open Source

by Van Lindberg

A book on open source licensing from an engineer’s rather than a lawyer’s perspective that includes a little history of the relevant laws. Why do we have trademarks? Why do we have copyright? Etc.

Managing 3rd-Party Software Licenses

Self-published, by Giles Middleton (2016)

A quick read that covers a lot of ground.

New Frontiers in Open Innovation

OUP Oxford, by Henry William Chesbrough (2014)

An overview of research findings on open innovation in the enterprise.

Open Business Models: How to Thrive in the New Innovation Landscape, Harvard Business School Press

by Henry Chesbrough (2006)

Builds on Chesbrough’s previous work and reads as a guide to making money through open innovation.

Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating And Profiting from Technology

Harvard Business School Press, by Henry Chesbrough (2005)

A foundational work that takes an academic view of how and why IT companies have effectively innovated through collaboration.

Open Sources 2.0: The Continuing Evolution

O’Reilly Media, by Chris DiBona, Mark Stone, Danese Cooper

A collection of essays on the impact open source has on diverse industries, from an experienced group of enterprise open source managers and advocates.

Open Source for Business: A Practical Guide to Open Source Software Licensing, 2nd Edition

by Heather Meeker

Read this to understand open source software licensing.

Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution

O’Reilly Media, by Eric S. Raymond (1999)

A free collection of essays from some of the early leaders in open source.

Philosophy of the GNU Project

by Richard Stallman

Whether you agree or disagree, it’s helpful to understand Stallman’s perspective.

Producing Open Source Software: How to Run a Successful Free Software Project

O’Reilly Media, by Karl Fogel (2005)

A guide to how successful projects operate, the expectations of users and developers, and the culture of free software.

The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation

O’Reilly Media, by Jono Bacon (2012)

An essential guide to creating and working with open source communities from former Ubuntu community manager Jono Bacon.

The Cathedral and the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary

O’Reilly Media, by Eric Raymond (1999)

A seminal work that defined the open source movement and its role in the enterprise.

The International Free and Open Source Software Law Book

Open Source Press, by Ywein Van den Brande, Shane Coughlan, and Till Jaeger (2014)

A free and fascinating read on how different countries’ laws affect open source licences by preeminent attorneys in FOSS law.

The Magic Cauldron

by Eric Raymond (1999)

A free essay from The Cathedral & The Bazaar on the economics of open source.

The New Kingmakers

O’Reilly Media, by Stephen O’Grady (2013)

Read this if you want to understand the role of developers in technology decision-making today.

The Open Organization: Igniting Passion and Performance

Harvard Business Review Press, by Jim Whitehurst (2012)

Red Hat’s guide on how to structure and manage an organization that’s open source to the core, from the world’s first billion-dollar open source company.

The Open Source Alternative

Wiley, by Heather Meeker (2008)

A user manual for understanding open source licensing issues in business.

The Software Paradox

O’Reilly Media, by Stephen O’Grady (2015)

Learn why the commercial software market has changed from a RedMonk analyst.

The Success of Open Source

by Steven Weber

Great for understanding the significance of open source from an outsider’s perspective.

Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything

by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams, (2006)

These resources were created in partnership with the TODO (Talk Openly, Develop Openly) Group – the professional open source networking group at The Linux Foundation. A special thanks goes out to the open source program managers who contributed their time and knowledge to making these comprehensive guides. Participating companies include Autodesk, Comcast, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Netflix, Oath (Yahoo + AOL), Red Hat, Salesforce, Samsung and VMware. To learn more, visit:

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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