Hacked by Design, Ver 0.83

Guy West

What Is S5?


Creativity flows into the meals you cook and to the movies you make. It's just a constant sense of being creative. It helps your life and your work.
filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, Sin City, 2005

Free as in freedom or as in Free Trade?

Concepts of Freedom

Gates - China's New Form Of Capitalism Is Best Ever
DAVOS, Switzerland, (AFP) - United States software giant Bill Gates has high praise for China, which he says has created a brand-new form of capitalism that benefits consumers more than anything has in the past.
It is a brand-new form of capitalism, and as a consumer its the best thing that ever happened, Gates told an informal meeting late on Friday at the World Economic Forum in this ski resort.
He characterised the Chinese model in terms of willingness to work hard and not having quite the same medical overhead or legal overhead.
Manufacturers have created scale economies that are just phenomenal, in part owing to companies there and elsewhere on the planet designing good products, Gates said.
Looking ahead, he added: You know they haven't run out of labour yet, the portion that can come out of the agriculture sector was still considerable.
It's not like Korea, Korea got to a point where, boom, the wages went up a lot, he said, adding that's good, you know, they got rich and now they have to add value at a different level.
They're closer to the United States in that sense than they are to where China is right now.
Gates continued by heaping praise on the current generation of Chinese leaders.
They're smart, he said with emphasis.
They have this mericratic way of picking people for these government posts where you rotate into the university and really think about state allocation of resources and the welfare of the country and then you rotate back into some bureaucratic position.
That rotation continued, Gates explained, and leaders were constantly subjected to various kinds of ratings.
This generation of leaders is so smart, so capable, from the top down, particularly from the top down, he concluded.

Information wants to be free.

Peter Samson, Tech Model Railroad Club at MIT, 1959


source code is not a commodity

In the 1960s and 1970s, software was not considered to be a product but rather an add-on the mainframe vendors gave to their customers to use the computers at all. In that culture, programmers and developers frequently shared their software freely among each other.


Printer Jamming

Richard Stallman, a software programmer at the MIT AI Lab, had problems with the lab&s printer jamming; he set about fixing the software. He had done this before with the lab&s old printer. Richard Stallman tries to get the source code to change the driver software, but he can&t get it. Xerox only supplied a machine-readable program, not the source code.

Free as in Freedom By Sam Williams

used and abused

Richard Stallman was working on a Lisp interpreter. Symbolics asked to use the Lisp interpreter, and Stallman agreed to supply them with a public domain version of his work. Symbolics improved the Lisp interpreter, but when Stallman wanted access to the improvements that Symbolics had made to his interpreter, they refused.


Defending the principles of hackerism

Richard Stallman The Last of the Hackers, who vowed to defend the principles of hackerism to the bitter end. Remained at MIT until there was no one to eat Chinese food with.

Steven Levy, Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution.


A person who delights in having an intimate understanding of the internal workings of a system, computers and computer networks in particular. The term is often misused in a pejorative context, where cracker would be the correct term. See also: cracker.

Requests for Comments 1392

hacker ethic: n.

  1. The belief that information-sharing is a powerful positive good, and that it is an ethical duty of hackers to share their expertise by writing open-source code and facilitating access to information and to computing resources wherever possible.


hacker ethic: n.

...hackers build things, crackers break them

  1. The belief that system-cracking for fun and exploration is ethically OK as long as the cracker commits no theft, vandalism, or breach of confidentiality.


How to become a Hacker

The Hacker Attitude

  1. The world is full of fascinating problems waiting to be solved.
  2. No problem should ever have to be solved twice.
  3. Boredom and drudgery are evil.
  4. Freedom is good.
  5. Attitude is no substitute for competence.


How to become a Hacker

Basic Hacking Skills

  1. Learn how to program.
  2. Get one of the open-source Unixes and learn to use and run it.
  3. Learn how to use the World Wide Web and write HTML.
  4. If you don't have functional English, learn it.


How to become a Hacker

Status in the Hacker Culture

  1. Write open-source software
  2. Help test and debug open-source software
  3. Publish useful information
  4. Help keep the infrastructure working
  5. Serve the hacker culture itself


Frustration leads to action

Stallman wants to create a complete operating system - called GNU based on his free software concept, meaning that users are allowed to copy, modify and redistribute it.

On January 5, 1984, Stallman quit his job at MIT so that they could not claim ownership and interfere with distributing GNU as free software.

Copyleft and GPL

The purpose of the GPL (GNU General Public License) is to grant the user rights to copy, modify, and redistribute programs (normally prohibited by copyright), and to ensure that those rights are preserved in derivative works via a copyleft mechanism.

GPL is Freedom

In reality the &free' in free software means that the source code has been liberated and anybody may copy and compile it, but that does not exclude payment.

Free as Free Speech, not Free Beer.

Free software is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of free as in free speech, not as in free beer.
Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software.


Four freedoms of Free software: (1)


Four freedoms of Free software: (2)


Linux: Participatory programming

Linus Torvalds, Finnish university student, while attending the University of Helsinki initially wrote the Linux operating system as a hobby. Immediately, thousands of developers around the world participated in the development of Linux.

The Cathedral and the Bazaar

Gift economy vs. Market economy

Free Software vs. Open Source

The fundamental difference between the two movements is in their values, their ways of looking at the world. For the Open Source movement, the issue of whether software should be open source is a practical question, not an ethical one. As one person put it, Open source is a development methodology; free software is a social movement.

Hackers and Painters

Hackers and Painters by Paul Graham, draws parallels between hacking and painting. ...[they] have a lot in common. In fact, of all the different types of people I've known, hackers and painters are among the most alike. ...they're both makers. Along with composers, architects, and writers, what hackers and painters are trying to do is make good things. They're not doing research per se, though if in the course of trying to make good things they discover some new technique, so much the better.

Hackers and Painters

Paul Graham:
Sometimes what the hackers do is called "software engineering," but this term is just as misleading. Good software designers are no more engineers than architects are. The border between architecture and engineering is not sharply defined, but it's there. It falls between what and how: architects decide what to do, and engineers figure out how to do it.

Rip, Mix, Burn.

or Rip. Sample. Mash. Share. ...true creativity needs to be open, fluid, and alive. When it comes to copyright, be pro-choice.

Reverse engineering

Reverse engineering (RE) is the process of taking something (a device, an electrical component, a software program, etc.) apart and analyzing its workings in detail, usually with the intention to construct a new device or program that does the same thing without actually copying anything from the original.


The LazyWeb

The idea that if you wait long enough, someone will implement that wacky idea you had... (or already has!)

Additional Reading

Home assignment

A final thought from the man who started it all.

Richard M. Stallman:

The whole GNU project is really one big hack, its one big act of subversive playful cleverness to change society for the better, because I am only interested in changing society for the better, but in a clever way.

Revolution OS (2001) Directed by J.T.S. Moore