Eric Raymond’s famous essay The Cathedral and the Bazaar compares commercial software projects to cathedrals and open source software projects to bazaars. Cathedrals are carefully planned. Bazaars are not. The organizational structure a bazaars emerges without deliberate coordination of its participants. The open source community has embraced the metaphor of the bazaar and the informality and spontaneity it implies.
Shmork wrote the following observation in the comments to a Coding Horror post yesterday that discussed the difficulties of using Linux software.
Almost nobody in the Western world shops at real-life bazaars either, because they are dodgy, unsafe, and unregulated. And in the Western world, we like things to be reliable, working, safe. So cathedral it is. Even our flea markets aren’t bazaars, really, they’re just knock-off cathedrals.