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> Hacker Ethic
post 1 Jul 2007, 01:06 PM
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[title]Hacker ethic[/title]

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The term hacker ethic was coined by journalist Steven Levy and used for the first time in Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution (1984). Levy's account of the hacker ethic is in large part based on the values of the hackers at MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Among these hackers was Richard M. Stallman, whom Levy at the time called the last true hacker. The similarities between the hacker ethic and values existing in open scientific communities is, therefore, no coincidence.

In Levy's codification, the principles of the hacker ethic are:
  • Access to computers and anything which might teach you something about the way the world works should be unlimited and total. Always yield to the Hands-on Imperative!
  • All information should be free.
  • Mistrust authority promote decentralization.
  • Hackers should be judged by their hacking, not bogus criteria such as degrees, age, race, or position.
  • You can create art and beauty on a computer.
  • Computers can change your life for the better.

Later in 2001, Finnish philosopher Pekka Himanen promoted the hacker ethic in opposition to the Protestant work ethic. In Himanen's opinion the hacker ethic is more closely related to the virtue ethics found in the writings of Plato and of Aristotle.

For Himanen (who wrote "The Hacker Ethic"), Torvalds (prologue), and Castells (epilogue), the hacker ethic centers around passion, hard work, creativity and joy in creating software.



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