Eric S. Raymond – Homesteading The Noosphere

26 Jan

“After observing a contradiction between the official ideology defined by open-source licenses and the actual behavior of hackers, I examine the actual customs that regulate the ownership and control of open-source software. I show that they imply an underlying theory of property rights homologous to the Lockean theory of land tenure. I then relate that to an analysis of the hacker culture as a `gift culture’ in which participants compete for prestige by giving time, energy, and creativity away. Finally, I examine the consequences of this analysis for conflict resolution in the culture, and develop some prescriptive implications.”

Eric S. Raymond

 “Homesteading the Noosphere” is an essay written by Eric S. Raymond. In this essay he explains the    social workings of open-source software development. In “An Introductory Contradiction”, the first  part of the essay, he says: “In this essay, I will dig around the roots of that contradiction, and use it to  discover those drives and pressures. I will deduce some interesting things about the hacker culture and its customs. I will conclude by suggesting ways in which the culture’s implicit knowledge can be leveraged better.”

So, the essay examines investigating possible anthropological bases of the gift culture (Eric S. Raymond analyses the hacker culture as a gift culture) in open source. Raymond studies the contrast between the stated aims of open source and observed behaviors, and also explores the underlying motivations of people involved in the open source movement. While reading this essay, you will be able to analyse the customs that  regulate the ownership and control of open-source software.

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