Who are hackers, and what does hacking mean for our broader community? You’ve likely heard a lot about hackers releasing information, but you may have heard less about who hackers are. Hearsay Culture discussed with Professor Gabriella Coleman about her surprise findings when she studied the open-source hacker community in 2013. Expecting to find hackers with the “geek” stereotype, instead she discovered a broad demographic of individuals: diverse personality types, interests, and national backgrounds. By understanding hackers in 2013 we better understand this influential technical community and their impact on society.
What is Open Source?: Open source is code that is accessible to the public, allowing it to be modified by anyone.
“Geeks and hackers are [a] really, really important cohort of actors who are actually working in very interesting political and legal ways to try to ensure that civil liberties stay alive online.” – Gabriella Coleman
“A piece of knowledge, unlike a piece of physical property, can be shared by large groups of people without making anybody poorer.” – Aaron Swartz
Aaron Swartz was an important member of the open source community as the co-founder of Creative Commons and Reddit, and creator of RSS (Really Simple Syndication).