Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe
marypcb

25 years of Hackers, 50 years of hacker ethics

There are some seminal computer history books; Fire in the Valley, Revenge of The Nerds, Soul of a New Machine, The Cuckoo's Egg - and Hackers. Nothing to do with the film, although it does have a passing connection with War Games, Hackers is an anecdotal view of the way people who care more about the experience of computing than the goals have shaped what computers we have and how we use them. 25 years ago the first edition explained where abortive and successful personal computers had come from and what they owed to model railroads, cereal box gifts and chinese food; 25 years on there's still questions about the ethics, the business models and the ethos of computing; read my review over on ZDNet to see if I think the new edition answers them.

Thanks to my bronchitis, I spent two days reading this and two more thinking about what you can say about a personal history like this; for me the details are fascinating but the most thought-provoking thing wasn't anything the book said but what I realised when I compared the ideas and principles and attitudes to where computing has gone since. Good books make you think....
Tags: articles, book review, technology, writing, zdnet
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