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The Hacker Ethic: and the Spirit of the Information Age [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Pekka Himanen , Linus Torvalds , Manuel Castells
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30. Januar 2001
This text answers fundamental questions about life in the information age. In the original meaning of the word, "hackers" are enthusiastic computer programmers who share their work with others - they are not computer criminals. In this book, the authors show how hackers represent a new opposing ethos for the information age. Underlying hackers' technical creations, such as the Internet and the personal computer, which have become symbols of the age, are the hacker values that produced them. These values promote passionate and freely rhythmed work; the belief that individuals can create great things by joining forces in imaginative ways; and the need to maintain our existing ethical ideals, such as privacy and equality, in our increasingly technologized society.
-- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe .


  • Gebundene Ausgabe: 256 Seiten
  • Verlag: Random House (30. Januar 2001)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0375505660
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375505669
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 19,3 x 13,5 x 2,8 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 552.036 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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Despite the title The Hacker Ethic is a philosophical essay contrasting the Western capitalist world view with those of hackers. In this context, hackers are those passionate about any subject, not just computers.

The book starts with an essay by Linus Torvalds and finishes with a thoughtful 75-page essay by Manual Cassels called "Informationalism and the Network Society". At its heart though, is the paradox summed up on page 60, "Present capitalism is based on the exploitation of scientific communism". This simply means companies make money based on information provided by scientists for free. This results in an ethical quandary. Companies eagerly seize information freely provided by hackers yet withhold information discovered by themselves. An indefensible position.

Himamen claims hackers work because what they're doing interests them and disseminating what they learn brings the respect of their peers while others work for money and enjoy the envy of their peers. His arguments are well illustrated with ideas from Plato, through medieval village life, protestantism, academia, the industrial revolution and more. He concludes the information revolution makes work central to our lives, soaking up the time and energy necessary for play, for the pursuit of personal passions.

He isn't whistling "Dixie". Who do you know with a hobby? How many talk to their families? Most spend their free time watching actors pretend to be members of passionate families. This is essential reading for anyone who wonders what their life is about. Hackers don't need to read it. --Steve Patient -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.


"Pekka Himanen's theory of the hacker culture as the spirit of informationalism is a fundamental breakthrough in the discovery of the world unfolding in the uncertain dawn of the third millennium."
-Manuel Castells, from the Epilogue

"The Hacker Ethic is one of the most significant political ideas and value systems in history. Hackers are the warriors, explorers, guerrillas, and joyous adventurers of the Digital Age, and the true architects of the new economy. Demonized and often misunderstood, they are changing the world and the way it works. Pekka Himanen explains how and why in a book that is essential reading for anybody who wants to live, work or do business in the twenty-first century."
-Jon Katz, columnist for and author of Geeks: How Two Lost Boys Rode the Internet Out of Idaho

"At last we have a book about the ethics of true hackers . . .not the criminals and vandals that the press calls hackers today, but the idealistic pioneers whose ethics of openness, enablement and cooperation laid the cornerstone for our new economy."
-Danny Hillis, Co-Founder, The Long Now Foundation and Co-Chairman & CTO, Applied Minds, Inc.

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Linus Torvalds says in his Prologue that, for the hacker, "the computer itself is entertainment," meaning that the hacker programs because he finds programming intrinsically interesting, exciting, and joyous. Lesen Sie die erste Seite
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Ein irreführender Titel oder doch nicht .... 9. April 2001
Von Ein Kunde
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Jeder der sich nun denkt was über Hacker zu erfahren wird schwer enttäuscht sein. Das Buch geht vielmehr auf Arbeitsweisen der "Hacker" ein, sprich jenen Menschen die den Begriff Hacker vor 20/30 Jahren geformt haben und damals den Programmcode eingehämmert haben, eben reingehackt. Aber zurück zum Thema: Im Buch werden die Open Source Programmierer hervorgehoben und die Arbeitseinstellung und Art der Arbeit welche Sie ausüben, die Autorin zeigt Vergleiche auf und deutet Änderungen an die sich auf andere Berufssparten übertragen lassen. Das Buch zieht immer wieder die "prostentant work ethic" heran um Vergleiche aufzuzeigen, mitunter hat mich das genervt. Das Vorwort von Linus Torvalds und das Nachwort von Manuel Castells haben mir sehr gut gefallen. Für jeden Begeisterten von sozialen Grundsatzdiskussion ein gutes Buch und leicht verständlich noch dazu.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 3.4 von 5 Sternen  21 Rezensionen
34 von 36 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen An important idea, an important book 9. März 2001
Von Jon D. Katz - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I should say up front that I'm not totally disinterested in the Hacker Ethic. I'm a media critic and author and I blurbed this book, something I don't do a lot. I did -- and am writing this review -- because I feel strongly that this is a very important book advancing a central idea -- the hacker ethic, profoundly misunderstood and demonized by the popular media, is important, both to politics and work. This isn't another in the avalanche of impenetrable cyber-culture books. It looks backwards as well as forwards, to the Protestant Ethic that has shaped many of our lives, and beyond, to the hacker joy and passion. The hacker ethic has trigger a true social and cultural revolution. Himanen (who I don't know) traces its roots, and perhaps more importantly, where it can take us. This is very important. If journalists, CEO's and others would read this book carefully, they might get ahead of the Net Revolution for once, instead of scrambling continuously to figure out where the world is going. If you want to know, this is a good place to start. It is also a very noble endeavor to finally give the hackers their due in the evolution of the modern world. It's not a big dense read either, which it easily could have been. It is a small book and moves quickly. It's ideas are accessible, and very, very convincing.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Intriguing Viewpoints 28. März 2002
Von Todd Hawley - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This book compares the so-called "hacker work ethic" as compared to the old "Protestant work ethic," examining so-called hacker culture and their motivations for working and completing projects, as opposed to the world view of working "because you are supposed to." It makes a number of interesting observations, and points out that in our world, the pressure to "work, work, work" never seems to escape us, in spite of all the technological advances of our world designed to "make life easier."
It also points out that "true hackers" are willing to work at something in order to improve it and are not always motivated to do so by the almighty dollar. I long have worked with engineers who come in to work at 10 or 11 am but stay until almost midnight every day and never quite understood why until now. It's the desire to continue to tinker with and ultimately complete a project.
I will never be a "true hacker," since I lack the aptitude and ultimately patience to sit at a computer screen all hours of the day and night trying to solve programming problems, but books like these give me a much better understanding of the ones who are.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen The Hacker Work Ethic...Or A New Play Ethic? 20. Februar 2001
Von PAT KANE - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I've never read a clearer, more erudite, more persuasive demolition of the old Protestant Work Ethic than Pekka Himanen's essay in this book. And that clarity comes from being part of a new constituency - the hacker community - who are redefining what it is to be a passionate, active, creative, tool-wielding human being (ie, it's much more than just being a "worker").
And rather than the Hacker Ethic being the usual pizza-stained celebration of digital anarchism you find in hacker commentary, Himanen begins to construct a real and tangible politics out of the self-organising energies of hackerdom. What might the hacker ethic mean for how we build educational institutions, as communities of inquiry rather than job factories? For how we generate technological innovation, in ways that don't always depend on the furies of the market? For how we might provide social services amongst ourselves, rather than waiting for politicians and bureaucrats to deliver?
I suppose the only problem I have - and it's one I'm trying to answer with my own project, The Play Ethic (on the web) is this: why do we need to keep describing unalienated human productivity and creativity (which is what hackerdom, and other forms of modern behaviour, are) as "work"? Isn't this the last legacy of Calvin and Knox, still shaping our minds through controlling our vocabulary? Why not call it "play", and be done with it - that's play as defined by Sartre, "that action we do when we apprehend that we are truly free": or Schiller's, meaning that activity we do when we are (as adults) "fully human"?
Play also extends beyond the hacker community (still, as Pekka admits, predominantly male), and touches upon all the other "arts of living" that evade the patriarchal work ethic - in emotions, parent-child relationships, New Age spirituality, gender androgyny, ecological sensibilities. There is also a whole world of non-Christian theologies and traditions out there which place human creativity at their core, which could have been mentioned. (And what about Harold Bloom's cry for an American gnosticism in Omens of Millenium? That's just waiting for Richard Stallman and his cultic robes!)
But hell, that's the book *I'm* writing... In the meantime, The Hacker Ethic is the worst news that the New Economy's work ethic could ever have - which means, the best for all us. Put a copy on your pal's desk: the one with the nervous twitch and the grey pallor. And watch the passion come back into his/her face.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen What is Hacker's Ethic? 20. April 2001
Von Mikko Valimaki - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Pekka Himanen has written an extended essay on theme he thinks is the changing force and imperative within the creators of the information society. He calls it the Hacker Ethic to contrast the Protestant Ethic made famous in Max Weber's classic text.
I think the theme the book is about is extremely important and most people in our society do not understand its effects and functions at all. To some degree Himanen is on the ball and makes the picture clearer to a layman. The first part of the book is about the work ethic where Himanen defines what Hacker's Ethic is about. This is the best part of the book.
Himanen starts defining Hacker's Ethic as a general attitude towards work in the information society. For example a car mechanic can be a "hacker" in his field of expertise. Described by Himanen, in the center of hacker ethic is information sharing. It is held as a duty to share interesting information with like-minded people. In some sense the hacker ethic is a counterforce to the market culture. Hackers enter into information creation and exchange motivated by enthusiasm, joy and passion, not just money. Working times of a hacker are individual and optimized. In overall, hierarchies and rules from above are not driving creative individuals in the information centric fields of our society.
Great stuff. But in some directions Himanen's essay is unfortunately not very profound and lacks touch of reality. This comes in part two which is about "money ethic". To me there is no insight or originality in his thoughts. I believe the worst writings about money I've ever encountered originate from philosophers, idealists, elitists and other guys who are somehow closer to higher superstition than the raw reality of street-level business world. - Brainstorming in the third and last part named "the nethic" is somewhere between the first and the second part. Personally, I don't find it very convincing.
How great hacker Himanen may be, his book is sold as one interesting product of commercial culture, which hopefully entertains and attracts the short attention-window of its target consumers. If you were an average american consumer interested in current societal issues would you buy a book from Pekka Himanen. - From who? No problem, on the cover of the book are printed the names Linus Torvalds and Manuel Castells. Torvalds has actually written a short intro to the book - that has no connection to Himanen's essay. Castells for his part has made a short summary of the main points from his three volume The Information Age (1996-1998) in the end.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent through ch 4, then loses focus 20. Dezember 2004
Von Richard Bejtlich - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I bought and read this book because I enjoy reading about hacker history and culture. When I started, I simply read and flipped pages, thinking I wouldn't find much of deep importance. After about 20 pages I was extremely interested in the book and started underlining the author's main points. By chapter 5, and especially in chapter 6, the author lost my attention and I ended up giving this book a three star review.

The valuable core of 'The Hacker Ethic' lies in its comparison with the Protestant work ethic. The author explains that philosophy's roots in monastic life, and contrasts it with the 'hacker ethic' and its roots in academic/scientific practices. As a history major I thought this comparison was fascinating and it made me examine my own work habits more closely. The author's illumination of time-centric vs. task-centric work was especially interesting.

Linux kernel inventor Linus Torvalds wrote the prologue, so the entire book approaches the free/open software world from an overtly Linux perspective. One mention of BSD appears in a citation of Eric S. Raymond's 'Cathedral and the Bazaar.' ESR criticizes the BSD development model ('carefully coordinated... by a relatively small, tightly knit group of people') in comparison with Linux, where 'quality was maintained not by rigid standards or autocracy but by the naively simple strategy of releasing every week and getting feedback.' I think 'naive' is the operative word here. Linux has certainly prospered, but companies like IBM, Novell, and others are playing increasingly bigger roles.

If you can read Linus' prologue and the first four chapters in a book store, I recommend doing so. I believe the author does a nice job making comparisons with the Protestant work ethic, but doesn't quite know where to go next. Reading four chapters should take a couple of hours, and you'll walk away appreciating the keen insights author Pekka Himanen has to offer on 'The Hacker Ethic.'
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