The Architecture of Open Source Applications

Two of Kitware’s open source software packages were featured in a sequel book to O’Reilly’s “Beautiful Code”. In the new book “The Architecture of Open Source Applications” there are two chapters by Kitware authors: Berk Geveci and Will Schroeder wrote about VTK, and Bill Hoffman and Ken Martin wrote about CMake.  The book is meant to give detailed insight into the development process of some popular open source projects. Readers are given valuable insights into the engineering trade-offs made during development process. 

The book should prove useful to developers of both open and closed source software. The instructional value of the book further demonstrates the power of open source development. The valuable insights given into the development of complicated powerful software systems would not be possible with closed projects. The book content is available for free under a Creative Commons license and the book can be purchased from various online retailers.

The official press release for the book follows:

New Book Gives Insight Into How Leading Software Developers Think

Toronto, ON, May 25, 2011 — A new book about the design of open source software, released this week under a Creative Commons license, provides unique insight into how leading developers think.  Titled “The Architecture
of Open Source Applications”, the book contains chapter-length descriptions of the design of over two dozen significant projects, along with their creators’ explanations of why things are the way they are, and what they learned along the way.

Software developers have long complained about the fact that while architects study thousands of buildings during their training, most programmers only ever get to see a handful of large programs—usually programs they wrote
themselves.  As a result, they repeat one another’s mistakes rather than building on one another’s successes.  “The Architecture of Open Source Applications” seeks to change that, and by doing so, help developers at all levels learn more about how to create complex systems well.

The book is published by, and is available there [1] and through other online retailers.  All royalties from sales will be donated to Amnesty International to support their worldwide campaign for basic human rights. The book’s content is also available online at its web site [2].  For more information, contact Greg Wilson at

“…a wonderful book and a wonderful contribution to the industry.”
– Grady Booch (co-inventor of UML)



Questions or comments are always welcome!