May 2, 2020
Antidotecritical and alternative views on free and open source software
I’ve just published a new list of critical and alternative views on free software, open source, and hacker culture. Have a look. Most sources are free online.
Whenever I read a compelling source in an area outside of my expertise, I try to queue up an equally weighty source to the contrary. At best, that means a book for a book, an article for an article, a video for a video, and so on. As a fallback, I’ll read reviews.
Open source has been part of my life for so long that I didn’t think to apply this discipline for many years. But the same blindness didn’t stop me doubling back on Internet utopianism, especially after living abroad. I sought and found ample critical commentary of the Internet and technology more generally as an inherently democratic, liberating, prosocial force. Fortunately, the tail end of that critical literature overlapped with the ascent of open source, which the authors often treated as a continuation of the ideology under scrutiny. They knocked my open source blinders off.
I hope the new list can be a starting point for others toward a more nuanced, informed, balanced view. But I’m mostly looking forward to notes about what’s missing from my list, especially sources I haven’t seen or read yet.
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