Nearly a century ago, Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism articulated the animating spirit of the industrial age, the Protestant ethic. Now, Pekka Hinamen — together with Linus Torvalds and Manuel Castells — articulates 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 our time — are the hacker values that produced them and that challenge us all. These values promoted 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 new, increasingly technologized society. The Hacker Ethic takes us on a journey through fundamental questions about life in the information age — a trip of constant surprises, after which out time and our lives can be seen from unexpected perspectives.
*In the original meaning of the word, hackers are enthusiastic computer programmers who share their work with others; they are not computer criminals.
“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 slashdot.org and author of Geeks: How Two Lost Boys Rode the Internet Out of Idaho
A thoroughly spirited and commendable framework for human creativity.”—Financial Times
“As comprehensive and instructive as any [survey] to date... Himanen has a powerful grasp on that strangely intoxicating contradiction that is open-source.”—The New York Times Book Review
Pekka Himanen earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Helsinki at the age of twenty. His ongoing mapping of the meaning of technological development has brought him into dialouge with academics, artists, ministers, and CEOs. Himanen works at the University of Helsinki and at the University of California at Berkeley.
Linus Torvalds has become one of the most respected hackers within the computer community for creating the Linux operating system in 1991 while a student at the University of Helsinki. Since then, Linux has grown into a project involving thousands of programmers and millions of users worldwide.
Manuel Castells is a professor of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of the highly acclaimed trilogy The Information Age and of The City of the Grassroots (winnter of the 1983 C. Wright Mills Award) and of more than twenty other books.