Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking

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Princeton University Press, Nov 25, 2012 - Social Science - 272 pages

Who are computer hackers? What is free software? And what does the emergence of a community dedicated to the production of free and open source software--and to hacking as a technical, aesthetic, and moral project--reveal about the values of contemporary liberalism? Exploring the rise and political significance of the free and open source software (F/OSS) movement in the United States and Europe, Coding Freedom details the ethics behind hackers' devotion to F/OSS, the social codes that guide its production, and the political struggles through which hackers question the scope and direction of copyright and patent law. In telling the story of the F/OSS movement, the book unfolds a broader narrative involving computing, the politics of access, and intellectual property.


E. Gabriella Coleman tracks the ways in which hackers collaborate and examines passionate manifestos, hacker humor, free software project governance, and festive hacker conferences. Looking at the ways that hackers sustain their productive freedom, Coleman shows that these activists, driven by a commitment to their work, reformulate key ideals including free speech, transparency, and meritocracy, and refuse restrictive intellectual protections. Coleman demonstrates how hacking, so often marginalized or misunderstood, sheds light on the continuing relevance of liberalism in online collaboration.

 

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User Review  - librarianbryan - LibraryThing

I don’t code and I read the print version of this book. I feel like that puts me off the table. But over here at the kids’ table, I have witnessed first hand the transformative power of free software ... Read full review

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Political theorist, and author of a best-selling cookbook, began life as a mercenary soldier and ended it as the head of the Vatican Library.
A papal official under the humanist Pope Pius II, he was a member of the humanist academies of Cardinal Bessarion and Pomponio Leto,
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Who are computer hackers? What is free software? And what does the emergence of a community dedicated to the production of free and open source software--and to hacking as a technical, aesthetic, and moral project--reveal about the values of contemporary liberalism? Exploring the rise and political significance of the free and open source software (F/OSS) movement in the United States and Europe, Coding Freedom details the ethics behind hackers' devotion to F/OSS, the social codes that guide its production, and the political struggles through which hackers question the scope and direction of copyright and patent law. In telling the story of the F/OSS movement, the book unfolds a broader narrative involving computing, the politics of access, and intellectual property. E. Gabriella Coleman tracks the ways in which hackers
 

Contents

A Tale of Two Worlds
1
HISTORIES
23
CODES OF VALUE
91
THE POLITICS OF AVOWAL AND DISAVOWAL
159
The Cultural Critique of Intellectual Property Law
185
How to Proliferate Distinctions Not Destroy Them
207
Notes
211
References
225
Index
249
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

E. Gabriella Coleman is the Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University.

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