Towards a new Hacker Ethic

Hey guys @deejoe had us read Programming is Forgetting: Toward a New Hacker Ethic last week as a part of HFOSS. I wanted to drop my literature review on it here so we can further the discussion.

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This is a great blog post!

The best example I’ve seen of this new hacker ethic arising in an organized movement is with the ethical source movement. I’ve begun to try and frame this coming diversion “Old FOSS v New FOSS” as an “Ethical Source v Copyleft” to see if it fits. I haven’t fully followed this line of thinking but it’s certainly allowed me to pinpoint the main area of friction between these two lines of thinking.

Specifically where I see the disagreement on Ethical Source (new FOSS) v Copyleft (old FOSS) is around Freedom 0 (The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose). Ethical source wants to ensure that all software is made to do good things and that people use it for good and to build more good things. This really puts restrictions on how you can really use ethical source software.

When I went to fosdem and copyleft conf, I met a bunch of people way smarter than I am who have done quite a bit more thinking on this subject so I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention some of their work.

Don Goodman-Wilson who recently left Github over their ICE contract has a PhD in philosophy and spoke on the topic of ethical source at fosdem. He goes a bit further in depth in a recent blog post he wrote as well.

I’ve been lurking in the ethical source working group for some time and it’s certainly not just a small movement. Board members of the OSI, creators of some major FOSS projects, and people who lead open source program offices (OSPO) at a number of major tech companies all are participating. Would definitely recommend some students join if this topic is of interest :slight_smile:

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Great blog post @jxr8142! :+1: I realize where I fall on the philosophical spectrum now. :upside_down_face:

This is the best framing I can think of at the moment. It could also be more on a general political spectrum, e.g. progressive-reformist v. libertarian.