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Thema's 'Techniek'

Atoombom, wapentuig

Internet, Sociale media

Informatieovervloed

Privacy

Spionage, inlichtingendiensten

Geschiedenis hacken

Hackerethiek

Voorkant Raymond 'The cathedral and the bazaar' Eric S. RAYMOND
The cathedral and the bazaar - Musings on Linux and open source by an accidental revolutionary
Sebastopol: O'Reilly Media, 1999, 2001 revised; 242 blzn.
ISBN: 05 9600 1088

Dit boek bevat een bundel van artikelen over het gedrag en de cultuur van 'computer hackers' en over de daarmee verbonden 'open source' - beweging. Deze artikelen zijn vrij toegankelijk via internet en worden af en toe geupdate naar een nieuwe versie.

[Ik baseer me op de genoemde boekuitgave en op versie 3 op internet van 15 augustus 2002 - zie de website van Raymond: https://catb.org/esr/writings/homesteading/. De paginanummers van de citaten hieronder verwijzen naar het boek, maar ik kopieer de citaten over van de website.]

[Bedenk weer dat Raymond een Amerikaan is, en dan nog een die vindt dat alle Amerikanen het recht hebben een wapen te dragen - zie zijn website. Brrrr. Hij ziet zichzelf graag als een klassieke 'hacker', zet zichzelf ook graag in het gezelschap van Linus Torvalds. Het is een beetje dat typische 'bragging' van 'hackers'. Maar ook al mag je Raymond best als zo'n klassieke 'hacker' zien, dat betekent nog niet dat zijn persoonlijke waarden en normen en oordelen allemaal zo geweldig intelligent zijn.]

(xi) Preface: Why you should care

Antwoord: Omdat computersoftware zo belangrijk is geworden in onze samenleving. En omdat het delen van inzichten en kennis geleid heeft tot zaken als Internet, Unix, en zo verder, waarvan zo veel mensen vandaag de dag gebruik maken.

"I just referred to 'the open-source movement'. That hints at other and perhaps more ultimately interesting reasons for the reader to care. The idea of open source has been pursued, realized, and cherished over those thirty years by a vigorous tribe of partisans native to the Internet. These are the people who proudly call themselves 'hackers' -- not as the term is now abused by journalists to mean a computer criminal, but in its true and original sense of an enthusiast, an artist, a tinkerer, a problem solver, an expert.

The tribe of hackers, after decades spent in obscurity struggling against hard technical problems and the far greater weight of mainstream indifference and dismissal, has recently begun to come into its own. They built the Internet; they built Unix; they built the World Wide Web; they're building Linux and open-source software today; and, following the great Internet explosion of the mid-1990s, the rest of the world is finally figuring out that it should have been paying more attention to them all along."(xii)

(1) A brief history of hackerdom

Samenvatting:

"I explore the origins of the hacker culture, including prehistory among the Real Programmers, the glory days of the MIT hackers, and how the early ARPAnet nurtured the first network nation. I describe the early rise and eventual stagnation of Unix, the new hope from Finland, and how `the last true hacker' became the next generation's patriarch. I sketch the way Linux and the mainstreaming of the Internet brought the hacker culture from the fringes of public consciousness to its current prominence. "(1)

De weergave van de geschiedenis volgt het boek van Levy en ook de zo positieve waardering van de 'hacker'.

"Your historian first became involved with the hacker culture in 1977 through the early ARPAnet and science-fiction fandom. From then onward, I personally witnessed and participated in many of the changes described here."(7)

De ontwikkeling van UNIX ging samen met de ontwikkeling van computernetwerken en met de opkomst van de hackercultuur rondom personal computers. UNIX was in het begin vrij verkrijgbaar, maar ook in die wereld sloeg de commercialisering toe en er ontstonden allerlei versies van UNIX die volkomen incompatibel en ontoegankelijk waren. En Richard Stallman's plannen met zijn Free Software Foundation voor een vrije versie van UNIX met de naam HURD kwamen niet goed van de grond. Toen kwam Linux.

"Into the gap left by the Free Software Foundation's uncompleted HURD had stepped a Helsinki University student named Linus Torvalds. In 1991 he began developing a free Unix kernel for 386 machines using the Free Software Foundation's toolkit. His initial, rapid success attracted many Internet hackers to help him develop Linux, a full-featured Unix with entirely free and re-distributable sources."(15)

"The most important feature of Linux, however, was not technical but sociological. Until the Linux development, everyone believed that any software as complex as an operating system had to be developed in a carefully coordinated way by a relatively small, tightly-knit group of people. This model was and still is typical of both commercial software and the great free-software cathedrals built by the Free Software Foundation in the 1980s; also of the freeBSD/netBSD/OpenBSD projects that spun off from the Jolitzes' original 386BSD port.

Linux evolved in a completely different way. From nearly the beginning, it was rather casually hacked on by huge numbers of volunteers coordinating only through the Internet. Quality was maintained not by rigid standards or autocracy but by the naively simple strategy of releasing every week and getting feedback from hundreds of users within days, creating a sort of rapid Darwinian selection on the mutations introduced by developers. To the amazement of almost everyone, this worked quite well."(16)

[Als je dit zo leest dan lijkt het er bijna op dat dat bazaar-model pas ontstond met de ontwikkeling van Linux. Maar dat is natuurlijk niet zo. Wanneer je naar de geschiedenis van 'hacking' kijkt, zie je al bij het MIT die sfeer van het delen van kennis en informatie, het bekritizeren van elkaars broncode, en zo verder.]

[De centrale aanpak ontstond vooral later door de commercialisering, toen er over alles geheimzinnig gedaan ging worden. Maar juist die aanpak van de commercialisering heeft laten zien dat er grote nadelen kleven aan 'proprietary closed software': de geheimzinnigheid, het niet open zijn over fouten, de oncontroleerbaarheid van de broncode, het vastleggen van softwarepatenten, en zo verder heeft bepaald belemmerend gewerkt. De latere open source - beweging is daar een reactie op, maar de filosofie van delen en openheid ervan was dus niet nieuw.]

(19) The cathedral and the bazaar

Uitwerking van die twee manieren van software ontwikkelen, waarbij de eerste hier verder 'the cathedral model' genoemd wordt en de tweede 'the bazaar model' aan de hand van de software 'fetchmail' van de auteur.

[Het is deze karakterisering waarmee Raymond bekend geworden is. Die sloeg namelijk aan bij de media en voordat hij het wist werd hij tot woordvoerder van de open source - beweging gebombardeerd. ]

"Linus Torvalds's style of development - release early and often, delegate everything you can, be open to the point of promiscuity - came as a surprise. No quiet, reverent cathedral-building here - rather, the Linux community seemed to resemble a great babbling bazaar of differing agendas and approaches (aptly symbolized by the Linux archive sites, who'd take submissions from anyone) out of which a coherent and stable system could seemingly emerge only by a succession of miracles."(21)

Binnen het 'cathedral-model' zou men wachten met een uitgave van software totdat alle fouten er zo veel mogelijk uit zouden zijn. Niet onbegrijpelijk: je ontziet de gebruikers op die manier. Maar Torvalds ging er van uit dat er in de ontwikkeling van software medeontwikkelaars zouden zijn en dat er bovendien ook veel geleerd kon worden van het commentaar van gebruikers. En zo werkte het ook. Hieronder de kern in de vorm van citaten:

"In Linus's Law, I think, lies the core difference underlying the cathedral-builder and bazaar styles. In the cathedral-builder view of programming, bugs and development problems are tricky, insidious, deep phenomena. It takes months of scrutiny by a dedicated few to develop confidence that you've winkled them all out. Thus the long release intervals, and the inevitable disappointment when long-awaited releases are not perfect.

In the bazaar view, on the other hand, you assume that bugs are generally shallow phenomena - or, at least, that they turn shallow pretty quickly when exposed to a thousand eager co-developers pounding on every single new release. Accordingly you release often in order to get more corrections, and as a beneficial side effect you have less to lose if an occasional botch gets out the door."(31)

"It's fairly clear that one cannot code from the ground up in bazaar style. One can test, debug and improve in bazaar style, but it would be very hard to originate a project in bazaar mode. Linus didn't try it. I didn't either. Your nascent developer community needs to have something runnable and testable to play with.

When you start community-building, what you need to be able to present is a plausible promise. Your program doesn't have to work particularly well. It can be crude, buggy, incomplete, and poorly documented. What it must not fail to do is (a) run, and (b) convince potential co-developers that it can be evolved into something really neat in the foreseeable future."(47)

"I think the future of open-source software will increasingly belong to people who know how to play Linus's game, people who leave behind the cathedral and embrace the bazaar. This is not to say that individual vision and brilliance will no longer matter; rather, I think that the cutting edge of open-source software will belong to people who start from individual vision and brilliance, then amplify it through the effective construction of voluntary communities of interest."(54)

(65) Homesteading the noosphere

Over de GPL en andere licentievormen en achterliggende gedachten over eigendom van software. Het is een vorm van culturele antropologie van de open source - beweging. Deze wordt gezien als een giftcultuur in tegenstelling tot een ruilcultuur. Samenvatting:

"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."(65)

Verderop een verhaal over basiszaken als 'egocentrisme':

"This illustrates an interesting point about the hacker culture. It consciously distrusts and despises egotism and ego-based motivations; self-promotion tends to be mercilessly criticized, even when the community might appear to have something to gain from it. So much so, in fact, that the culture's 'big men' and tribal elders are required to talk softly and humorously deprecate themselves at every turn in order to maintain their status. How this attitude meshes with an incentive structure that apparently runs almost entirely on ego cries out for explanation.

A large part of it, certainly, stems from the generally negative Europo-American attitude towards 'ego'. The cultural matrix of most hackers teaches them that desiring ego satisfaction is a bad (or at least immature) motivation; that ego is at best an eccentricity tolerable only in prima donnas and often an actual sign of mental pathology. Only sublimated and disguised forms like 'peer repute', 'self-esteem', 'professionalism' or 'pride of accomplishment' are generally acceptable."(88)

[Dat lijkt me de plank misslaan. Ik denk dat hij te veel denkt in termen van de christelijke waarden van nederigheid. Maar er is ook nog zoiets als kapitalisme met zijn egoïsme. En het lijkt er echt niet op in de geschiedenis van 'hacking' dat men zo nederig was, integendeel.]

"The contrast with the pirate culture is instructive. In that culture, status-seeking behavior is overt and even blatant. These crackers seek acclaim for releasing ``zero-day warez'' (cracked software redistributed on the day of the original uncracked version's release) but are closemouthed about how they do it. These magicians don't like to give away their tricks. And, as a result, the knowledge base of the cracker culture as a whole increases only slowly.

In the hacker community, by contrast, one's work is one's statement. There's a very strict meritocracy (the best craftsmanship wins) and there's a strong ethos that quality should (indeed must) be left to speak for itself. The best brag is code that ``just works'', and that any competent programmer can see is good stuff. Thus, the hacker culture's knowledge base increases rapidly."(89)

"Finally, the reputation-game analysis explains the oft-cited dictum that you do not become a hacker by calling yourself a hacker - you become a hacker when other hackers call you a hacker. A 'hacker', considered in this light, is somebody who has shown (by contributing gifts) that he or she both has technical ability and understands how the reputation game works. This judgement is mostly one of awareness and acculturation, and can be delivered only by those already well inside the culture."(94)

[Meritocratie is binnen het 'hackerdom' de 'name of the game', dat is duidelijk. Maar dat sluit helemaal niet uit dat mensen opscheppen over hun kwaliteiten en denigrerend zijn over de kwaliteiten van anderen. Egotrips genoeg in dit wereldje, zoals zelfs het boek van Levy laat zien.]

[Raymond is me een beetje te positief en onkritisch over de 'hacker culture' en de 'hacker ethics'. Ik kan me daarom best wel voorstellen dat mensen uit het kathedraalmodel sceptisch zijn over wat er met het bazaarmodel mogelijk is - ze kunnen het niet serieus nemen omdat ze teveel ego en te weinig zakelijkheid zien langskomen.]

[Desondanks kleven er ook zo veel bezwaren aan dat kathedraalmodel dat dat ook niet de oplossing vormt. Inmiddels zien je de open source - beweging toch ook steeds verder organiseren en professionaliseren. En met succes. Denk aan Ubuntu of Firefox.]

"Respondents to this essay too numerous to list have pointed out that hacker ownership customs seem intimately related to (and may derive directly from) the practices of the academic world, especially the scientific research commmunity. This research community has similar problems in mining a territory of potentially productive ideas, and exhibits very similar adaptive solutions to those problems in the ways it uses peer review and reputation.

Since many hackers have had formative exposure to academia (it's common to learn how to hack while in college) the extent to which academia shares adaptive patterns with the hacker culture is of more than casual interest in understanding how these customs are applied.

Obvious parallels with the hacker 'gift culture' as I have characterized it abound in academia. Once a researcher achieves tenure, there is no need to worry about survival issues. (Indeed, the concept of tenure can probably be traced back to an earlier gift culture in which 'natural philosophers' were primarily wealthy gentlemen with time on their hands to devote to research.) In the absence of survival issues, reputation enhancement becomes the driving goal, which encourages sharing of new ideas and research through journals and other media. This makes objective functional sense because scientific research, like the hacker culture, relies heavily on the idea of 'standing upon the shoulders of giants', and not having to rediscover basic principles over and over again."(106)

(113) The magic cauldron

Samenvatting:

"This essay analyzes the evolving economic substrate of the open-source phenomenon. I first explode some prevalent myths about the funding of program development and the price structure of software. I then present a game-theory analysis of the stability of open-source cooperation. I present nine models for sustainable funding of open-source development; two non-profit, seven for-profit. I then continue to develop a qualitative theory of when it is economically rational for software to be closed. I then examine some novel additional mechanisms the market is now inventing to fund for-profit open-source development, including the reinvention of the patronage system and task markets. I conclude with some tentative predictions of the future."(113)

[Door de ontwikkelingen in de wereld van software zijn de economische uitwerkingen in dit hoofdstuk een beetje achterhaald.]

(167) Revenge of the hackers

Samenvatting:

"The eruption of open-source software into the mainstream in 1998 was the revenge of the hackers after 20 years of marginalization. I found myself semi-accidentally cast as chief rabble-rouser and propagandist. In this essay, I describe the tumultuous year that followed, focusing on the media stategy and language we used to break through to the Fortune 500. I finish with a look at where the trend curves are going."(167)

[Ook hier geldt dat de inhoud van het hoofdstuk nogal achterhaald is:
--Programmeertalen zijn vrijwel allemaal open source geworden en ook de editors ervoor.
--Inmiddels gebruiken steeds meer mensen distributies van Linux voor hun desktop, en al is de dominantie van grote bedrijven als Microsoft nog groot, er zijn toch ook steeds meer bedrijven die hun drivers etc. ook voor Linux ontwikkelen.
--In de sfeer van de internetontwikkeling zijn steeds meer toepassingsprogramma's open source: het is niet meer alleen Netscape, er zijn allerlei browsers. Bovendien zijn ook mailclients, ftp- irc- en chat-programma's open source.
--Verder is de hele ontwikkeling van Web 2.0 met zijn sociale software als Facebook van enorme invloed op het delen van allerlei vormen van informatie.
--En ook de multimedia hebben zich bijzonder snel ontwikkeld en de programma's voor de weergave van muziek en video en film zijn ook vaak open source.]

[Kortom: er is heel wat gebeurd sinds dit boek verscheen. Zo veel zelfs dat een nieuw modern boek over de open source - beweging noodzakelijk is.]

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