Homesteading the Noosphere
After observing a contradiction between the 'official' ideology defined by open-source licenses and the actual behavior of hackers, we examine the actual customs which regulate the ownership and control of open-source software. We discover that they imply an underlying theory of property rights homologous to the Lockean theory of land tenure. We 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. We then examine the implications of this analysis for conflict resolution in the culture, and develop some prescriptive implications.
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