Therefore, once we confront hacking in anthropological and historicalterms, some similarities melt into a sea of differences. Coleman demonstrates how hacking, so often marginalized or misunderstood, sheds light on the continuing relevance of liberalism in online collaboration. These are rather glaring gaps, and for me they limit the usefulness of Coding Freedom as an accurate analysis of the community. If, like me, you're not familiar with current work in anthropology, you'll probably feel like part of the discussion is going over your head, and that some terms you're reading with their normal English meaning are actually terms of art with more narrow and specific definitions. The Hippies from Hell were welcoming and helpful.
At the very least, I could communicate to hackers in English, live in a familiar and cosmopolitan urban setting, and at the end of the day, return to the privacy and comfort of my own apartment. From the conference-going world of software programmers to the humor and pleasures of code-fu, and from the phantasms of free speech to the passion and pathos of technical committees, Coleman is an extraordinary guide to the world of contemporary hacking. They were used to communicating both their individual expression and their shared endeavor in source-code comments and elegant algorithms. A bulk of my work was with Debian and its developers. Coding Freedom gave me a renewed appreciation of the insight that can come from the disinterested observer.
One person has had the opportunity to see me through every last step ofbrainstorming, drafting, writing, rewriting, and complaining: Micah Ander-son. Parts of this book have also been published elsewhere, and have benefitedtremendously from the anonymous reviewers and journal editors. Also, all the folks at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Online Policy Group provided me with the invaluable opportunity of interning at their respective organizations. Chapter two charts the rise of free software, but the story is more legal than technical. Or rely on a purely formal and semiotic analysis of texts and objects—amethodology I wanted for various reasons to avoid? A Liberal Critique within Liberalism The terms free and open as applied to software are distinct yet often come paired. Various organizations provided me with generous funding, which has been essential for carrying out this research and writing. One may even say that this taunting is their informal version of the academic peer-review process.
When one is deeply inside a culture, it's easy to get lost in the ethical debates over whether a particular community behavior is good or bad. Rather than designating only a set of explicitly held po-litical, economic, or legal views, I treat liberalism in its cultural registers. While there were countless people who made my fieldwork possible, I have to single out three who really went out on a limb for me, over and over again: Seth Schoen, Praveen Sinha, and Zack Brown. Hopefully others will also take up the project. Or among those who do not understand the name, given that they are all outlaws? Fieldwork, of course, is where the bulk of anthropological research oc-curs. Would I have to stretch my ethnographic imagination toofar? Various organizations provided me with generous funding, which hasbeen essential for carrying out this research and writing. I returned to the University of Chicago in fall 2003 to write my disser-tation, only to discover that really I had no idea how to proceed.
Coleman notes early in the book that she intentionally omitted that topic as one that deserves its own separate treatment. The reason for this dramaticchange of heart was a surprise to me: it was the abundance of humor andlaughter among hackers. I wish Coding Freedom were more engaged with the problems of free software today, instead of the problems of free software in 2002, the era of United States v. We should not take either for granted but instead openthem up to critical reflection, and one route to do so is by bringing themtogether. 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? The abundantmorning sun and deep blue skies deceptively concealed the reality of muchcooler temperatures.
Once can read the book as a narrative of the free software and open source movements, or as a sympathetic description of the behavior norms of hackers. To be sure, these forms of pleasure and engagement were impossible forme, the ethnographer, to touch and feel. It takes an anthropologist to recast all those behaviors, good and bad, as humans being human, and to ask curious questions about what social functions those behaviors serve. Quinn Norton, whose expansive creativity and deep insight into all things geek aided me in toning down the academese, supplied great nuggets of wisdom and insight. Coleman demonstrates how hacking, so often marginalized or misunderstood, sheds light on the continuing relevance of liberalism in online collaboration. How long will the file be downloaded? Because of variouslegendary and at times, illegal computer break-ins, often facilitated by hissocial engineering skills, Mitnick spent a good number of his adult yearseither running from the law or behind bars, although he never profited fromhis hacks, nor destroyed any property Coleman and Golub 2008; Mitnick2011; Thomas 2003.
From 2002—2010, my mother suffered a cruel illness that robbed her of her mind and soul. I am so fortunate that I was able to teach material related to this topic and, especially, to such engaged students and offer a hat tip to Parker Higgins, Max Salzberg, and Kevin Gotkin, in particular. Also,all the folks at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Online Policy Groupprovided me with the invaluable opportunity of interning at their respec-tive organizations. Amid these fears, I took some comfort in the idea that, as my peers had indicated, my initial fieldwork would be free of much of the awkwardness that follows from thrusting oneself into the everyday lives of those who you seek to study, typically in an unfamiliar context. Two of my closest friends are everywhere in this book. Along with personally enjoying their joshingaround, my comprehension of their jokes indicated a change in my outsiderstatus, which also meant I was learning how to read joking in terms of plea-sure, creativity, and modes of being. My time in the Netherlands, in October 2002, was short but made a lasting impression.
During those eight years, I traveled back and forth from wherever I was living to San Juan in order to be by her side. My father has always placed great value on education, sacrificing many years of retirement so I could get a college education. Hackers also tendto adore computers—the glue that binds them together—and are trainedin specialized and esoteric technical arts, primarily programming, system,or Net administration, security research, and hardware hacking. Gabriella Coleman tracks the ways in which hackers collaborate and examines passionate manifestos, hacker humor, free software project governance, and festive hacker conferences. It said that sharing was good for the community, and that access to sourcecode is not only handy but also the basis by which technology grows andimproves. Coleman uses the term meritocracy with very few caveats and complications. Many other professors in and out of the workshopsystem also read a few of the chapters and offered feedback, especially Tan-ya Luhrmann and Patchen Markell, who provided excellent advice on vari-ous chapters.
And in the process,they have built institutions and sustain norms through which they inter-nalize these liberal ideals as meaningful, all the while clearly upholding amarked commitment to unalienated labor. Genevieve Lakier, the brightest woman I know, has read much of this book and pushed my thinking forward. In Expect Us, Jessica L. Coleman describes two crossing trajectories in copyright: the rise of an increasingly expansive domestic and international copyright system and the simultaneous rise of the free software movement, The former is bent on restricting uses; the latter on enabling them. While the liberal articulations made by free software hackers, notablythose of free speech, carry a familiar political imprint, their material experi-ences, the frustrations and pleasures of hacking, including the particulari-ties of making, breaking, and improving software might seem politicallyirrelevant. Understanding Vision explains the computational principles and models of biological visual processing, and in particular, of primate vision.