Hacker ethic as a basis of my literacies

Open Source movement can be seen as a precedent of connectivism. I have got some insights today after reading Stephen Downes answer and drawing many pictures and curves for understanding the meaning of connectivism. I wrote a  comment to Downes but it disappeared somewher. So it is better to write here.

Hacker ethic seems to be something I accept and feel commited to. I tell about it accurately in order to avoid  misunderstandings. I use the book of Pekka Himanen The Hacker Ethic and the Spirit of Information Age, 2001. Prologue by Linus Torvalds and Epilogue by Manuell Castells. I also appreciate Glyn Moody’s book Rebel Code. The Inside Story of Open Source Revolution. I have been pondering about this movement, why it has been succesful? All boldings are mine.

MIT passionate programmers started calling themselves hackers in the early sixties – enthusiastic individuals who just started to realize their ideas with other like-minded individuals working in free rhythm. A hacker is basically an expert or enthusiast of any kind. It is attitude toward work that matters, their work ethic.

Unix philosophy means that you need to have or recover that attitude:  You need to care. You need to play. You need to be willing to explore.  It means working like an artist, you have a calling. The precursor is the academy – open development of sciences with passionate life. Being a hacker is lots of fun, but it’s a kind of fun that takes an effort. Hard work and dedication will become a kind of intense play rather than drudgery.

Money per se is not what ultimately motivates people. For hackers computer itself is entertainment. They are doing something interesting and also get the social part. This is how they have this fundamental Linux networking effect where you have a lot of hackers working together because they enjoy what they do. Agility is gained by networking.

Certainly this is my life, our life, which we must live fully, not a stripped beta version of it.

Everyone needs to belong to some group within which can feel oneself approved. But mere approval is not enough: we also want to be recognized for what we do and we have a need for an even deeper experience that of feeling loved and loving someone else. To put it another way,  human beings need the experience of being part of We with some others the experience of being respected within some community and the experience of being a special I with someone else. By doing a good job a person may gain recognition. Raymond says that hackers are motivated by the force of peer recognition.

The Hacker Open Learning Model can be called Net academy , where a teacher can be seen as a midwife or a master of ceremonies. Hacker world is decentralized, groups engaged in similar activity. Lack of strong structures is one of the reasons why this model is so powerful.

Learning starts with setting up an interesting problem, working toward solution by using various sources, then submitting the solution to extensive testing. Learning more about a subject becomes the hacker’s passion. The process of teaching also involves by its very nature the comprehensive analysis of subject matter.

Every learning event would permanently enrich all other learners. Hackers follow concurrent versioning systems: how they differ form existing and each other. On a more theoretical level the problem can be solved by the practice of referees – deep understanding, criticizing, questioning, collective process.

Truth knows no borders. Information wants to be free. Technology is the key.

The ICT professional is self-programmable and has the ability to retrain itself and adapt to new tasks, new processes and new sources of information as technology, demand and management speed up their rate of change. Almost all knowledge becomes outdated quickly, the self-programmable need to to reprogram their expertise constantly.

So much has said before connectivism. My following task is to ponder the subject matter: hackers have programming and they knew it. They did not say that they connect what ever in the world. How about connectivism? I have a hunch that it can be a meaningful theory for amateurs who use computers and have no special discipline behind. When an old and experienced person like me begins to study connectivism it means re-inventing everything I already know. This is only a feeling, have to explore it more.

I take a break, thunder is coming and I close my computer.

8 thoughts on “Hacker ethic as a basis of my literacies

  1. Hi Heli,
    I quite enjoyed your sense of humour, especially when I read the explanation of hacker. I wonder if it has similar meaning to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker_(computing), but it seems that hacker are enthusiasts, rather than HACKERS who are described negatively as someone who steal password or personal details from others in the internet. So may I use this? “A hacker could be an amateur who uses computer and may have no special discipline behind”
    It has been an enjoyable time connecting with you, Jenny and others. Now it is near the end of this course. Wish you to have another re-invention & enjoyable moment with the vacation.
    John

  2. Hi John,
    the concept hacker is problematic because it has turned to a negative interpretation in everyday use. That’s why I explained it and told my sources.
    I tried to say that hackers did know their expertise but in connectivism we try to connect what ever to what ever and so it makes no sense. You have misunderstood me, I meant the opposite. But we call this enjoyable discussion and thank each other. You have a proper attitude to networking, I am sure about it.
    Have a nice winter, a hot day is beginning here again
    Heli

  3. “the selfprogrammable need to to reprogram their expertice constantly.”
    Which is inverse to old idea of expert? So the new idea of networked teacher is the meta learner who knows unlearning and relearning even more than learning? And can challenge co-learners around their edges and their centres?

    Thanks for bringing the parallel networked learner experiences of hacker net academy and Connectivism, I am not yet grown to comment on their similarities or differences, but I do enjoy the disruptive intent of each.

  4. Thanks Ruth,
    I love your definition of networked teacher.

    Should we really know the learning theories in this Connectivism movement? Hackers know programming but we have very different background, great diversity so what?
    Here am I going today…

  5. Hi Heli,
    I see your point in, and that’s why I checked with the meaning of hacker on wiki and you to ensure my understanding. “hackers did know their expertise but in connectivism we try to connect what ever to what ever and so it makes no sense.” I think this also illustrates an important point – the use of words that may be interpreted a bit differently under a different culture, or context. Thanks for helping me in understanding the syntax, pragmatics and semantics within a message, and sorry for any misunderstanding that I have made.
    At this, we are closing another chapter of CritLit, and how fast is the time… Enjoy the July.
    John

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