1. Shlomi Fish
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shl...@iglu.org.il@cec68495-dca5-4e2b-845c-11fdaaa4f967  committed 98d0a25

Add the "Homesteading-the-Noosphere" hebrew translation.

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+<title>Homesteading the Noosphere</title>
+<!-- %%BEGIN STANDALONE%% -->
+  <firstname>Eric</firstname>
+  <othername>Steven</othername>
+  <surname>Raymond</surname>
+  <affiliation>
+    <orgname><ulink url="http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/">
+    Thyrsus Enterprises</ulink></orgname> 
+    <address>
+    <email>esr@thyrsus.com</email>
+    </address>
+  </affiliation>
+<pubdate role="cvs">$Date: 2002/08/02 09:02:15 $</pubdate>
+<releaseinfo>This is version 3.0</releaseinfo>
+  <year>2000</year>
+  <holder role="mailto:esr@thyrsus.com">Eric S. Raymond</holder> 
+  <title>Copyright</title>
+  <para>Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify
+  this document under the terms of the Open Publication License,
+  version 2.0.</para>
+   <revision>
+      <revnumber>1.22</revnumber>
+      <date>24 August 2000</date>
+      <authorinitials>esr</authorinitials>
+       <revremark>
+	  Handicap theory, peacocks, and stags.  Parallels with knighthood.
+       </revremark>
+   </revision>
+   <revision>
+      <revnumber>1.22</revnumber>
+      <date>24 August 2000</date>
+      <authorinitials>esr</authorinitials>
+       <revremark>
+	  DocBook 4.1 conversion.
+       </revremark>
+   </revision>
+   <revision>
+      <revnumber>1.21</revnumber>
+      <date>31 Aug 1999</date>
+      <authorinitials>esr</authorinitials>
+       <revremark>
+	  Major revision for the O'Reilly book. Incorporated some
+	  ideas about the costs of forking and rogue patches from
+	  Michael Chastain.  Thomas Gagne (tgagne@ix.netcom.com)
+	  noticed the similarity between "seniority wins" and database
+	  heuristics.  Henry Spencer's political analogy.  Ryan
+	  Waldron and El Howard (elhoward@hotmail.com)
+	  contributed thoughts on the value of novelty.  Thomas Bryan
+	  (tbryan@arlut.utexas.edu) explained the hacker
+	  revulsion to ``embrace and extend''.  Darcy Horrocks
+	  inspired the new section ``How Fine A Gift?''  Other new
+	  material on the connection to the Maslovian hierarcy of
+	  values, and the taboo against attacks on competence.
+       </revremark>
+   </revision>
+   <revision>
+      <revnumber>1.14</revnumber>
+      <date>21 November 1998</date>
+      <authorinitials>esr</authorinitials>
+       <revremark>
+	  Minor editorial and stale-link fixes.
+       </revremark>
+   </revision>
+   <revision>
+      <revnumber>1.10</revnumber>
+      <date>11 July 1998</date>
+      <authorinitials>esr</authorinitials>
+       <revremark>
+          Remove Fare Rideau's reference to `fame' at his
+          suggestion.
+       </revremark>
+   </revision>
+   <revision>
+      <revnumber>1.9</revnumber>
+      <date>26 May 1998</date>
+      <authorinitials>esr</authorinitials>
+       <revremark>
+	  Incorporated Far&eacute; Rideau's noosphere/ergosphere
+	  distinction. Incorporated RMS's assertion that he is not
+	  anticommercial.  New section on acculturation and academia
+	  (thanks to Ross J. Reedstrom, Eran Tromer, Allan McInnes,
+	  Mike Whitaker, and others). More about humility, (`egoless
+	  behavior') from Jerry Fass and Marsh Ray.
+       </revremark>
+   </revision>
+   <revision>
+      <revnumber>1.8</revnumber>
+      <date>27 April 1998</date>
+      <authorinitials>esr</authorinitials>
+       <revremark>
+          Added Goldhaber to the bibliography.  This is the
+	  version that will go in the Linux Expo proceedings.
+       </revremark>
+   </revision>
+   <revision>
+      <revnumber>1.7</revnumber>
+      <date>16 April 1998</date>
+      <authorinitials>esr</authorinitials>
+       <revremark>
+	  New section on `Global implications' discusses
+	  historical tends in the colonization of the noosphere, and
+	  examines the `category-killer' phenomenon.  Added another
+	  research question.
+       </revremark>
+   </revision>
+   <revision>
+      <revnumber>1.3</revnumber>
+      <date>12 April 1998</date>
+      <authorinitials>esr</authorinitials>
+       <revremark>
+          Typo fixes and responses to first round of public
+	  comments.  First four items in bibliography.  An anonymously
+	  contributed observation about reputation incentives
+	  operating even when the craftsman is unaware of them.  Added
+	  instructive contrasts with warez d00dz, material on the
+	  `software should speak for itself' premise, and observations
+	  on avoiding personality cults.  As a result of all these
+	  changes, the section on `The Problem of Ego' grew and
+	  fissioned.
+       </revremark>
+   </revision>
+   <revision>
+      <revnumber>1.2</revnumber>
+      <date>10 April 1998</date>
+      <authorinitials>esr</authorinitials>
+       <revremark>
+          First published on the Web.
+       </revremark>
+   </revision>
+<!-- %%END ENDNOTES%% -->
+<para>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.</para>
+<sect1><title>An Introductory Contradiction</title>
+<para>Anyone who watches the busy, tremendously productive world of Internet
+open-source software for a while is bound to notice an interesting
+contradiction between what open-source hackers say they believe and
+the way they actually behave&mdash;between the official ideology of the
+open-source culture and its actual practice.</para>
+<para>Cultures are adaptive machines.  The open-source culture is a
+response to an identifiable set of drives and pressures.  As usual,
+the culture's adaptation to its circumstances manifests both as
+conscious ideology and as implicit, unconscious or semi-conscious
+knowledge.  And, as is not uncommon, the unconscious adaptations are
+partly at odds with the conscious ideology.</para>
+<para>In this essay, I will dig around the roots of that contradiction, and
+use it to discover those drives and pressures.  I will deduce some
+interesting things about the hacker culture and its customs.  I will
+conclude by suggesting ways in which the culture's implicit knowledge
+can be leveraged better.</para>
+<sect1><title>The Varieties of Hacker Ideology</title>
+<para>The ideology of the Internet open-source culture (what hackers
+say they believe) is a fairly complex topic in itself.  All members
+agree that open source (that is, software that is freely
+redistributable and can readily evolved and be modified to fit
+changing needs) is a good thing and worthy of significant and
+collective effort.  This agreement effectively defines membership in
+the culture.  However, the reasons individuals and various subcultures
+give for this belief vary considerably.</para>
+<para>One degree of variation is zealotry; whether open source development
+is regarded merely as a convenient means to an end (good tools and fun
+toys and an interesting game to play) or as an end in itself.</para>
+<para>A person of great zeal might say ``Free software is my life!  I
+exist to create useful, beautiful programs and information resources,
+and then give them away.''  A person of moderate zeal might say ``Open
+source is a good thing, which I am willing to spend significant time
+helping happen''.  A person of little zeal might say ``Yes, open
+source is okay sometimes.  I play with it and respect people who build
+<para>Another degree of variation is in hostility to commercial
+software and/or the companies perceived to dominate the commercial
+software market.</para>
+<para>A very anticommercial person might say ``Commercial software is
+theft and hoarding.  I write free software to end this evil.''  A
+moderately anticommercial person might say ``Commercial software in
+general is OK because programmers deserve to get paid, but companies
+that coast on shoddy products and throw their weight around are
+evil.''  An un-anticommercial person might say ``Commercial software
+is okay, I just use and/or write open-source software because I like it
+better''.  (Nowadays, given the growth of the open-source part of the
+industry since the first public version of this essay, one might also
+hear ``Commercial software is fine, as long as I get the source or it
+does what I want it to do.'')</para>
+<para>All nine of the attitudes implied by the cross-product of the
+categories mentioned earlier are represented in the open-source
+culture.  It is worthwhile to point out the distinctions because they
+imply different agendas, and different adaptive and cooperative
+<para>Historically, the most visible and best-organized part of the hacker
+culture has been both very zealous and very anticommercial.  The Free
+Software Foundation founded by Richard M. Stallman (RMS) supported 
+a great deal of open-source development from the early 1980s forward,
+including tools like Emacs and GCC which are still basic to the Internet
+open-source world, and seem likely to remain so for the forseeable
+<para>For many years the FSF was the single most important focus of
+open-source hacking, producing a huge number of tools still critical
+to the culture.  The FSF was also long the only sponsor of open source
+with an institutional identity visible to outside observers of the
+hacker culture.  They effectively defined the term `free software',
+deliberately giving it a confrontational weight (which the newer label
+`<ulink url="http://www.opensource.org">open source</ulink>' just as
+deliberately avoids).</para>
+<para>Thus, perceptions of the hacker culture from both within and without
+it tended to identify the culture with the FSF's zealous attitude and
+perceived anticommercial aims.  RMS himself denies he is
+anticommercial, but his program has been so read by most people,
+including many of his most vocal partisans.  The FSF's vigorous and
+explicit drive to ``Stamp Out Software Hoarding!'' became the closest
+thing to a hacker ideology, and RMS the closest thing to a leader of
+the hacker culture.</para>
+<para>The FSF's license terms, the ``General Public License'' (GPL),
+expresses the FSF's attitudes.  It is very widely used in the
+open-source world.  North Carolina's <ulink
+(formerly Sunsite) is the largest and most popular software archive in
+the Linux world.  In July 1997 about half the Sunsite software
+packages with explicit license terms used GPL.</para>
+<para>But the FSF was never the only game in town.  There was always a
+quieter, less confrontational and more market-friendly strain in the
+hacker culture.  The pragmatists were loyal not so much to an ideology
+as to a group of engineering traditions founded on early open-source
+efforts which predated the FSF.  These traditions included, most
+importantly, the intertwined technical cultures of Unix and the
+pre-commercial Internet.</para>
+<para>The typical pragmatist attitude is only moderately anticommercial, and
+its major grievance against the corporate world is not `hoarding' per
+se.  Rather it is that world's perverse refusal to adopt superior
+approaches incorporating Unix and open standards and open-source
+software.  If the pragmatist hates anything, it is less likely to be
+`hoarders' in general than the current King Log of the software
+establishment; formerly IBM, now Microsoft.</para>
+<para>To pragmatists the GPL is important as a tool, rather than as an
+end in itself.  Its main value is not as a weapon against `hoarding',
+but as a tool for encouraging software sharing and the growth of
+<ulink url="http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar">
+bazaar-mode</ulink>bazaar-mode development communities.  The
+pragmatist values having good tools and toys more than he dislikes
+commercialism, and may use high-quality commercial software without
+ideological discomfort.  At the same time, his open-source experience
+has taught him standards of technical quality that very little closed
+software can meet.</para>
+<para>For many years, the pragmatist point of view expressed itself
+within the hacker culture mainly as a stubborn current of refusal to
+completely buy into the GPL in particular or the FSF's agenda in
+general.  Through the 1980s and early 1990s, this attitude tended to
+be associated with fans of Berkeley Unix, users of the BSD license,
+and the early efforts to build open-source Unixes from the BSD source
+base.  These efforts, however, failed to build bazaar communities of
+significant size, and became seriously fragmented and
+<para>Not until the Linux explosion of early 1993&ndash;1994 did
+pragmatism find a real power base.  Although Linus Torvalds never made
+a point of opposing RMS, he set an example by looking benignly on the
+growth of a commercial Linux industry, by publicly endorsing the use
+of high-quality commercial software for specific tasks, and by gently
+deriding the more purist and fanatical elements in the culture.</para>
+<para>A side effect of the rapid growth of Linux was the induction of
+a large number of new hackers for which Linux was their primary
+loyalty and the FSF's agenda primarily of historical interest.  Though
+the newer wave of Linux hackers might describe the system as ``the
+choice of a GNU generation'', most tended to emulate Torvalds more
+than Stallman.</para>
+<para>Increasingly it was the anticommercial purists who found themselves in
+a minority.  How much things had changed would not become apparent
+until the Netscape announcement in February 1998 that it would
+distribute Navigator 5.0 in source.  This excited more interest in `free
+software' within the corporate world. The subsequent call to the hacker
+culture to exploit this unprecedented opportunity and to re-label its
+product from `free software' to `open source' was met with a level of
+instant approval that surprised everybody involved.</para>
+<para>In a reinforcing development, the pragmatist part of the culture was
+itself becoming polycentric by the mid-1990s.  Other semi-independent
+communities with their own self-consciousness and charismatic leaders
+began to bud from the Unix/Internet root stock.  Of these, the most
+important after Linux was the Perl culture under Larry Wall.  Smaller,
+but still significant, were the traditions building up around John
+Osterhout's Tcl and Guido van Rossum's Python languages.  All three of
+these communities expressed their ideological independence by devising
+their own, non-GPL licensing schemes.</para>
+<sect1><title>Promiscuous Theory, Puritan Practice</title>
+<para>Through all these changes, nevertheless, there remained a broad
+consensus theory of what `free software' or `open source' is.  The
+clearest expression of this common theory can be found in the various
+open-source licenses, all of which have crucial common
+elements. </para>
+<para>In 1997 these common elements were distilled into the Debian Free
+Software Guidelines, which became the <ulink
+url="http://www.opensource.org">Open Source Definition</ulink>.  Under
+the guidelines defined by the OSD, an open-source license must protect an
+unconditional right of any party to modify (and redistribute modified
+versions of) open-source software.</para>
+<para>Thus, the implicit theory of the OSD (and OSD-conformant
+licenses such as the GPL, the BSD license, and Perl's Artistic
+License) is that anyone can hack anything.  Nothing prevents half a
+dozen different people from taking any given open-source product (such
+as, say the Free Software Foundations's gcc C compiler), duplicating
+the sources, running off with them in different evolutionary
+directions, but all claiming to be <emphasis>the</emphasis>
+<para>This kind of divergence is called a <emphasis>fork</emphasis>.
+The most important characteristic of a fork is that it spawns
+competing projects that cannot later exchange code, splitting the
+potential developer community.  (There are phenomena that look
+superficially like forking but are not, such as the proliferation of
+different Linux distributions. In these pseudo-forking cases there may
+be separate projects, but they use mostly common code and can benefit
+from each other's development efforts completely enough that they are
+neither technically nor sociologically a waste, and are not perceived
+as forks.)</para>
+<para>The open-source licenses do nothing to restrain forking, let
+alone pseudo-forking; in fact, one could argue that they implicitly
+encourage both.  In practice, however, pseudo-forking is common but
+forking almost never happens.  Splits in major projects have been
+rare, and are always accompanied by re-labeling and a large volume of
+public self-justification.  It is clear, in such cases as the GNU
+Emacs/XEmacs split, or the gcc/egcs split, or the various fissionings
+of the BSD splinter groups, that the splitters felt they were going
+against a fairly powerful community norm <link
+<para>In fact (and in contradiction to the anyone-can-hack-anything
+consensus theory) the open-source culture has an elaborate but
+largely unadmitted set of ownership customs. These customs
+regulate who can modify software, the circumstances under which
+it can be modified, and (especially) who has the right to
+redistribute modified versions back to the community.</para>
+<para>The taboos of a culture throw its norms into sharp relief.  Therefore,
+it will be useful later on if we summarize some important ones here:</para>
+There is strong social pressure against forking projects.  It does
+not happen except under plea of dire necessity, with much public
+self-justification, and requires a renaming.</para></listitem>
+Distributing changes to a project without the cooperation of the
+moderators is frowned upon, except in special cases like essentially
+trivial porting fixes.</para></listitem>
+Removing a person's name from a project history, credits, or maintainer
+list is absolutely <emphasis>not done</emphasis> without the person's explicit
+<para>In the remainder of this essay, we shall examine these taboos and
+ownership customs in detail.  We shall inquire not only into how they
+function but what they reveal about the underlying social dynamics and
+incentive structures of the open-source community.</para>
+<sect1><title>Ownership and Open Source</title>
+<para>What does `ownership' mean when property is infinitely reduplicable, 
+highly malleable, and the surrounding culture has neither coercive
+power relationships nor material scarcity economics?</para>
+<para>Actually, in the case of the open-source culture this is an easy
+question to answer.  The owner of a software project is the person
+who has the exclusive right, recognized by the community at large,
+to <emphasis>distribute modified versions</emphasis>.</para>
+<para>(In discussing `ownership' in this section I will use the singular, as
+though all projects are owned by some one person.  It should be
+understood, however, that projects may be owned by groups.  We shall
+examine the internal dynamics of such groups later on.)</para>
+<para>According to the standard open-source licenses, all parties are
+equals in the evolutionary game.  But in practice there is a very
+well-recognized distinction between `official' patches, approved and
+integrated into the evolving software by the publicly recognized
+maintainers, and `rogue' patches by third parties.  Rogue patches are
+unusual, and generally not trusted <link
+<para>That <emphasis>public</emphasis> redistribution is the
+fundamental issue is easy to establish.  Custom encourages people to
+patch software for personal use when necessary. Custom is indifferent
+to people who redistribute modified versions within a closed user or
+development group.  It is only when modifications are posted to the
+open-source community in general, to compete with the original, that
+ownership becomes an issue.</para>
+<para>There are, in general, three ways to acquire ownership of an
+open-source project.  One, the most obvious, is to found the project.
+When a project has had only one maintainer since its inception and
+the maintainer is still active, custom does not even permit a
+<emphasis>question</emphasis> as to who owns the project.</para>
+<para>The second way is to have ownership of the project handed to you by
+the previous owner (this is sometimes known as `passing the baton').
+It is well understood in the community that project owners have a duty
+to pass projects to competent successors when they are no longer
+willing or able to invest needed time in development or maintenance
+<para>It is significant that in the case of major projects, such transfers
+of control are generally announced with some fanfare.  While it is
+unheard of for the open-source community at large to actually
+interfere in the owner's choice of succession, customary practice
+clearly incorporates a premise that public legitimacy is important.</para>
+<para>For minor projects, it is generally sufficient for a change history
+included with the project distribution to note the change of
+ownership.  The clear presumption is that if the former owner has not
+in fact voluntarily transferred control, he or she may reassert
+control with community backing by objecting publicly within a
+reasonable period of time.</para>
+<para>The third way to acquire ownership of a project is to observe that it
+needs work and the owner has disappeared or lost interest.  If you
+want to do this, it is your responsibility to make the effort to find
+the owner.  If you don't succeed, then you may announce in a relevant
+place (such as a Usenet newsgroup dedicated to the application area)
+that the project appears to be orphaned, and that you are considering
+taking responsibility for it.</para>
+<para>Custom demands that you allow some time to pass before following
+up with an announcement that you have declared yourself the new owner.
+In this interval, if someone else announces that they have been
+actually working on the project, their claim trumps yours.  It is
+considered good form to give public notice of your intentions more
+than once.  You get more points for good form if you announce in many
+relevant forums (related newsgroups, mailing lists), and still more if
+you show patience in waiting for replies.  In general, the more
+visible effort you make to allow the previous owner or other claimants
+to respond, the better your claim if no response is
+<para>If you have gone through this process in sight of the project's user
+community, and there are no objections, then you may claim ownership
+of the orphaned project and so note in its history file.  This,
+however, is less secure than being passed the baton, and you cannot
+expect to be considered fully legitimate until you have made
+substantial improvements in the sight of the user community.</para>
+<para>I have observed these customs in action for 20 years, going back
+to the pre-FSF ancient history of open-source software.  They have
+several very interesting features.  One of the most interesting is
+that most hackers have followed them without being fully aware of
+doing so.  Indeed, this may be the first conscious and reasonably
+complete summary ever to have been written down.</para>
+<para>Another is that, for unconscious customs, they have been followed with
+remarkable (even astonishing) consistency.  I have observed the
+evolution of literally hundreds of open-source projects, and I can
+still count the number of significant violations I have observed or
+heard about on my fingers.</para>
+<para>Yet a third interesting feature is that as these customs have evolved
+over time, they have done so in a consistent direction.  That
+direction has been to encourage more public accountability, more
+public notice, and more care about preserving the credits and change
+histories of projects in ways that (among other things) establish
+the legitimacy of the present owners.</para>
+<para>These features suggest that the customs are not accidental, but are
+products of some kind of implicit agenda or generative pattern in the
+open-source culture that is utterly fundamental to the way it operates.</para>
+<para>An early respondent pointed out that contrasting the Internet hacker
+culture with the cracker/pirate culture (the ``warez d00dz'' centered
+around game-cracking and pirate bulletin-board systems) illuminates
+the generative patterns of both rather well.  We'll return to the
+d00dz for contrast later in this essay.</para>
+<sect1><title>Locke and Land Title</title>
+<para>To understand this generative pattern, it helps to notice a historical
+analogy for these customs that is far outside the domain of hackers'
+usual concerns.  As students of legal history and political philosophy
+may recognize, the theory of property they imply is virtually
+identical to the Anglo-American common-law theory of land tenure!</para>
+<para>In this theory, there are three ways to acquire ownership of land:</para>
+<para>On a frontier, where land exists that has never had an owner, one
+can acquire ownership by <emphasis>homesteading</emphasis>, mixing one's labor
+with the unowned land, fencing it, and defending one's title.</para>
+<para>The usual means of transfer in settled areas is <emphasis>transfer of
+title</emphasis>&mdash;that is, receiving the deed from the previous owner.
+In this theory, the concept of `chain of title' is important.
+The ideal proof of ownership is a chain of deeds and transfers
+extending back to when the land was originally homesteaded.</para>
+<para>Finally, the common-law theory recognizes that land title may be
+lost or abandoned (for example, if the owner dies without heirs, or
+the records needed to establish chain of title to vacant land are
+gone).  A piece of land that has become derelict in this way may be
+claimed by <emphasis>adverse possession</emphasis>&mdash;one moves in,
+improves it, and defends title as if homesteading.</para>
+<para>This theory, like hacker customs, evolved organically in a context
+where central authority was weak or nonexistent.  It developed over a
+period of a thousand years from Norse and Germanic tribal law.
+Because it was systematized and rationalized in the early modern era
+by the English political philosopher John Locke, it is sometimes
+referred to as the Lockean theory of property.</para>
+<para>Logically similar theories have tended to evolve wherever
+property has high economic or survival value and no single authority
+is powerful enough to force central allocation of scarce goods.  This
+is true even in the hunter-gatherer cultures that are sometimes
+romantically thought to have no concept of `property'.  For example,
+in the traditions of the !Kung San bushmen of the Kgalagadi (formerly
+`Kalahari') Desert, there is no ownership of hunting grounds.  But
+there <emphasis>is</emphasis> ownership of waterholes and springs
+under a theory recognizably akin to Locke's.</para>
+<para>The !Kung San example is instructive, because it shows that Lockean
+property customs arise only where the expected return from the
+resource exceeds the expected cost of defending it.  Hunting grounds
+are not property because the return from hunting is highly
+unpredictable and variable, and (although highly prized) not a
+necessity for day-to-day survival.  Waterholes, on the other hand, are
+vital to survival and small enough to defend.</para>
+<para>The `noosphere' of this essay's title is the territory of ideas, the
+space of all possible thoughts <link linkend="N">[N]</link>.  What we see
+implied in hacker ownership customs is a Lockean theory of property
+rights in one subset of the noosphere, the space of all programs.
+Hence `homesteading the noosphere', which is what every founder of a
+new open-source project does.</para>
+<para>Far&eacute; Rideau <email>fare@tunes.org</email> correctly
+points out that hackers do not exactly operate in the territory of
+pure ideas. He asserts that what hackers own is <emphasis>programming
+projects</emphasis>&mdash;intensional focus points of material labor
+(development, service, etc), to which are associated things like
+reputation, trustworthiness, etc.  He therefore asserts that the space
+spanned by hacker projects, is <emphasis>not</emphasis> the noosphere
+but a sort of dual of it, the space of noosphere-exploring program
+projects.  (With an apologetic nod to the astrophysicists out there,
+it would be etymologically correct to call this dual space the
+`ergosphere' or `sphere of work'.)</para>
+<para>In practice, the distinction between noosphere and ergosphere is
+not important for the purposes of our present argument.  It is dubious whether
+the `noosphere' in the pure sense on which Far&eacute; insists can be said
+to exist in any meaningful way; one would almost have to be a
+Platonic philosopher to believe in it.  And the distinction between
+noosphere and ergosphere is only of <emphasis>practical</emphasis>
+importance if one wishes to assert that ideas (the elements of the
+noosphere) cannot be owned, but their instantiations as projects can.
+This question leads to issues in the theory of intellectual property
+which are beyond the scope of this essay (but see <link linkend="DF">
+<para>To avoid confusion, however, it is important to note that
+neither the noosphere nor the ergosphere is the same as the totality
+of virtual locations in electronic media that is sometimes (to the
+disgust of most hackers) called `cyberspace'.  Property there is
+regulated by completely different rules that are closer to those of
+the material substratum&mdash;essentially, he who owns the media and
+machines on which a part of `cyberspace' is hosted owns that piece of
+cyberspace as a result.</para>
+<para>The Lockean logic of custom suggests strongly that open-source
+hackers observe the customs they do in order to defend some kind of
+expected return from their effort.  The return must be more
+significant than the effort of homesteading projects, the cost of
+maintaining version histories that document `chain of title', and the
+time cost of making public notifications and waiting before taking
+adverse possession of an orphaned project.</para>
+<para>Furthermore, the `yield' from open source must be something more than
+simply the use of the software, something else that would be
+compromised or diluted by forking.  If use were the only issue, there
+would be no taboo against forking, and open-source ownership would not
+resemble land tenure at all.  In fact, this alternate world (where use
+is the only yield, and forking is unproblematic) is the one implied by
+existing open-source licenses.</para>
+<para>We can eliminate some candidate kinds of yield right away.  Because
+you can't coerce effectively over a network connection, seeking power
+is right out.  Likewise, the open-source culture doesn't have anything
+much resembling money or an internal scarcity economy, so hackers
+cannot be pursuing anything very closely analogous to material wealth
+(e.g. the accumulation of scarcity tokens).</para>
+<para>There is one way that open-source activity can help people become
+wealthier, however&mdash;a way that provides a valuable clue to what
+actually motivates it.  Occasionally, the reputation one gains in the
+hacker culture can spill over into the real world in economically
+significant ways.  It can get you a better job offer, or a consulting
+contract, or a book deal.</para>
+<para>This kind of side effect, however, is at best rare and marginal for
+most hackers; far too much so to make it convincing as a sole
+explanation, even if we ignore the repeated protestations by hackers that
+they're doing what they do not for money but out of idealism or love.</para>
+<para>However, the way such economic side effects are mediated is worth
+examination.  Next we'll see that an understanding of the dynamics of
+reputation within the open-source culture <emphasis>itself</emphasis> has
+considerable explanatory power.</para>
+<sect1><title>The Hacker Milieu as Gift Culture</title>
+<para>To understand the role of reputation in the open-source culture, it is
+helpful to move from history further into anthropology and economics,
+and examine the difference between <emphasis>exchange cultures</emphasis> and
+<emphasis>gift cultures</emphasis>.</para>
+<para>Human beings have an innate drive to compete for social status; it's
+wired in by our evolutionary history.  For the 90% of hominid history
+that ran before the invention of agriculture, our ancestors lived in
+small nomadic hunter-gatherer bands.  High-status individuals (those
+most effective at informing coalitions and persuading others to
+cooperate with them) got the healthiest mates and access to the best
+food.  This drive for status expresses itself in different ways,
+depending largely on the degree of scarcity of survival goods.</para>
+<para>Most ways humans have of organizing are adaptations to scarcity
+and want.  Each way carries with it different ways of gaining social
+<para>The simplest way is the <emphasis>command hierarchy</emphasis>.
+In command hierarchies, scarce goods are allocated by one central
+authority and backed up by force.  Command hierarchies scale very
+poorly <link linkend="Mal">[Mal]</link>; they become increasingly
+brutal and inefficient as they get larger.  For this reason, command
+hierarchies above the size of an extended family are almost always
+parasites on a larger economy of a different type.  In command
+hierarchies, social status is primarily determined by access to
+coercive power.</para>
+<para>Our society is predominantly an <emphasis>exchange
+economy</emphasis>.  This is a sophisticated adaptation to scarcity
+that, unlike the command model, scales quite well.  Allocation of
+scarce goods is done in a decentralized way through trade and
+voluntary cooperation (and in fact, the dominating effect of
+competitive desire is to produce cooperative behavior).  In an
+exchange economy, social status is primarily determined by having
+control of things (not necessarily material things) to use or
+<para>Most people have implicit mental models for both of the above, and how
+they interact with each other.  Government, the military, and
+organized crime (for example) are command hierarchies parasitic on the
+broader exchange economy we call `the free market'.  There's a third
+model, however, that is radically different from either and not
+generally recognized except by anthropologists; the <emphasis>gift
+<para>Gift cultures are adaptations not to scarcity but to abundance.  
+They arise in populations that do not have significant
+material-scarcity problems with survival goods.  We can observe
+gift cultures in action among aboriginal cultures living in
+ecozones with mild climates and abundant food.  We can also
+observe them in certain strata of our own society, especially
+in show business and among the very wealthy.</para>
+<para>Abundance makes command relationships difficult to sustain
+and exchange relationships an almost pointless game.  In gift
+cultures, social status is determined not by what you control
+but by <emphasis>what you give away</emphasis>.</para>
+<para>Thus the Kwakiutl chieftain's potlach party.  Thus the
+multi-millionaire's elaborate and usually public acts of philanthropy.
+And thus the hacker's long hours of effort to produce high-quality
+open-source code.</para>
+<para>For examined in this way, it is quite clear that the society of
+open-source hackers is in fact a gift culture.  Within it, there is no
+serious shortage of the `survival necessities'&mdash;disk space, network
+bandwidth, computing power.  Software is freely shared.  This
+abundance creates a situation in which the only available measure of
+competitive success is reputation among one's peers.</para>
+<para>This observation is not in itself entirely sufficient to explain
+the observed features of hacker culture, however.  The crackers and
+warez d00dz have a gift culture that thrives in the same (electronic)
+media as that of the hackers, but their behavior is very different.
+The group mentality in their culture is much stronger and more
+exclusive than among hackers.  They hoard secrets rather than sharing
+them; one is much more likely to find cracker groups distributing
+sourceless executables that crack software than tips that give away
+how they did it.  (For an inside perspective on this behavior, see
+<link linkend="lw" >[LW]</link>).</para>
+<para>What this shows, in case it wasn't obvious, is that there is
+more than one way to run a gift culture.  History and values matter.
+I have summarized the history of the hacker culture in <citetitle>A
+Brief History of Hackerdom</citetitle><link linkend="HH">[HH]</link>;
+the ways in which it shaped present behavior are not mysterious.
+Hackers have defined their culture by a set of choices about the
+<emphasis>form</emphasis> that their competition will take.  It is
+that form that we will examine in the remainder of this essay.</para>
+<sect1><title>The Joy of Hacking</title>
+<para>In making this `reputation game' analysis, by the way, I do not mean to
+devalue or ignore the pure artistic satisfaction of designing
+beautiful software and making it work.  Hackers all experience this kind
+of satisfaction and thrive on it.  People for whom it is not a
+significant motivation never become hackers in the first place, just
+as people who don't love music never become composers.</para>
+<para>So perhaps we should consider another model of hacker behavior in
+which the pure joy of craftsmanship is the primary motivation.
+This `craftsmanship' model would have to explain hacker custom as a way
+of maximizing both the opportunities for craftsmanship and the quality
+of the results.  Does this conflict with or suggest different results
+than the reputation game model?</para>  
+<para>Not really.  In examining the craftsmanship model, we come back
+to the same problems that constrain hackerdom to operate like a gift
+culture.  How can one maximize quality if there is no metric for
+quality?  If scarcity economics doesn't operate, what metrics are
+available besides peer evaluation?  It appears that any craftsmanship
+culture ultimately must structure itself through a reputation
+game&mdash;and, in fact, we can observe exactly this dynamic in many
+historical craftsmanship cultures from the medieval guilds
+<para>In one important respect, the craftsmanship model is weaker than the
+`gift culture' model; by itself, it doesn't help explain the
+contradiction we began this essay with.</para>
+<para>Finally, the craftsmanship motivation itself may not be
+psychologically as far removed from the reputation game as we might
+like to assume.  Imagine your beautiful program locked up in a drawer
+and never used again.  Now imagine it being used effectively and with
+pleasure by many people.  Which dream gives you satisfaction?</para> 
+<para>Nevertheless, we'll keep an eye on the craftsmanship model.  It is
+intuitively appealing to many hackers, and explains some aspects of
+individual behavior well enough <link linkend="HT">[HT]</link>.</para>
+<para>After I published the first version of this essay on the Internet, an
+anonymous respondent commented: ``You may not work to get reputation,
+but the reputation is a real payment with consequences if you do the
+job well.''  This is a subtle and important point.  The reputation
+incentives continue to operate whether or not a craftsman is aware of
+them; thus, ultimately, whether or not a hacker understands his own
+behavior as part of the reputation game, his behavior will be shaped
+by that game.</para>
+<para>Other respondents related peer-esteem rewards and the joy of
+hacking to the levels above subsistence needs in Abraham Maslow's
+well-known `hierarchy of values' model of human motivation <link
+linkend="MH">[MH]</link>.  On this view, the joy of hacking fulfills a
+self-actualization or transcendence need, which will not be
+consistently expressed until lower-level needs (including those for
+physical security and for `belongingness' or peer esteem) have been at
+least minimally satisfied.  Thus, the reputation game may be critical
+in providing a social context within which the joy of hacking can in
+fact <emphasis>become</emphasis> the individual's primary
+<sect1><title>The Many Faces of Reputation</title>
+<para>There are reasons general to every gift culture why peer repute
+(prestige) is worth playing for:</para>
+<para>First and most obviously, good reputation among one's peers is a
+primary reward.  We're wired to experience it that way for
+evolutionary reasons touched on earlier.  (Many people learn to
+redirect their drive for prestige into various sublimations that
+have no obvious connection to a visible peer group, such as ``honor'',
+``ethical integrity'', ``piety'' etc.; this does not change the underlying
+<para>Secondly, prestige is a good way (and in a pure gift economy,
+the <emphasis>only</emphasis> way) to attract attention and
+cooperation from others.  If one is well known for generosity,
+intelligence, fair dealing, leadership ability, or other good
+qualities, it becomes much easier to persuade other people that they
+will gain by association with you.</para>
+<para>Thirdly, if your gift economy is in contact with or intertwined with
+an exchange economy or a command hierarchy, your reputation may spill
+over and earn you higher status there.</para>
+<para>Beyond these general reasons, the peculiar conditions of the hacker
+culture make prestige even more valuable than it would be in a
+`real world' gift culture.</para>
+<para>The main `peculiar condition' is that the artifacts one gives away
+(or, interpreted another way, are the visible sign of one's gift of
+energy and time) are very complex.  Their value is nowhere near as
+obvious as that of material gifts or exchange-economy money.  It is
+much harder to objectively distinguish a fine gift from a poor one.
+Accordingly, the success of a giver's bid for status is delicately
+dependent on the critical judgement of peers.</para>
+<para>Another peculiarity is the relative purity of the open-source culture.
+Most gift cultures are compromised&mdash;either by exchange-economy
+relationships such as trade in luxury goods, or by command-economy
+relationships such as family or clan groupings.  No significant
+analogues of these exist in the open-source culture; thus, ways
+of gaining status other than by peer repute are virtually absent.</para>
+<sect1><title>Ownership Rights and Reputation Incentives</title>
+<para>We are now in a position to pull together the previous analyses into a
+coherent account of hacker ownership customs.  We understand the
+yield from homesteading the noosphere now; it is peer repute in the
+gift culture of hackers, with all the secondary gains and side effects
+that implies.</para>
+<para>From this understanding, we can analyze the Lockean property
+customs of hackerdom as a means of <emphasis>maximizing reputation
+incentives</emphasis>; of ensuring that peer credit goes where it is
+due and does not go where it is not due.</para>
+<para>The three taboos we observed above make perfect sense under this
+analysis.  One's reputation can suffer unfairly if someone else
+misappropriates or mangles one's work; these taboos (and related
+customs) attempt to prevent this from happening.  (Or, to put it more
+pragmatically, hackers generally refrain from forking or
+rogue-patching others' projects in order to be able to deny legitimacy
+to the same behavior practiced against themselves.)</para>
+Forking projects is bad because it exposes pre-fork contributors to
+a reputation risk they can only control by being active in both
+child projects simultaneously after the fork.  (This would generally
+be too confusing or difficult to be practical.)</para></listitem> 
+Distributing rogue patches (or, much worse, rogue binaries) exposes
+the owners to an unfair reputation risk.  Even if the official code
+is perfect, the owners will catch flak from bugs in the patches (but
+see <link linkend="rp">[RP]</link>).</para></listitem>
+Surreptitiously filing someone's name off a project is, in cultural
+context, one of the ultimate crimes.  Doing this steals the victim's gift
+to be presented as the thief's own.</para></listitem>
+<para>Of course, forking a project or distributing rogue patches for it also
+directly attacks the reputation of the original developer's group.  If
+I fork or rogue-patch your project, I am saying: "you made a wrong
+decision by failing to take the project where I am taking it"; and
+anyone who uses my forked variation is endorsing this challenge.  But this
+in itself would be a fair challenge, albeit extreme; it's the sharpest end of
+peer review.  It's therefore not sufficient in itself to account for
+the taboos, though it doubtless contributes force to them.</para>
+<para>All three taboo behaviors inflict global harm on the open-source
+community as well as local harm on the victim(s).  Implicitly they
+damage the entire community by decreasing each potential contributor's
+perceived likelihood that gift/productive behavior will be
+<para>It's important to note that there are alternate candidate explanations
+for two of these three taboos.</para>
+<para>First, hackers often explain their antipathy to forking projects
+by bemoaning the wasteful duplication of work it would imply as the
+child products evolve on more-or-less parallel courses into the
+future. They may also observe that forking tends to split the
+co-developer community, leaving both child projects with fewer brains
+to use than the parent.</para>
+<para>A respondent has pointed out that it is unusual for more than one 
+offspring of a fork to survive with significant `market share' into
+the long term.  This strengthens the incentives for all parties to
+cooperate and avoid forking, because it's hard to know in advance
+who will be on the losing side and see a lot of their work either
+disappear entirely or languish in obscurity. </para>
+<para>It has also been pointed out that the simple fact that forks are
+likely to produce contention and dispute is enough to motivate social
+pressure against them.  Contention and dispute disrupt the teamwork
+that is necessary for each individual contributor to reach his or her
+<para>Dislike of rogue patches is often explained by the objection
+that they can create compatibility problems between the daughter 
+versions, complicate bug-tracking enormously, and inflict work on
+maintainers who have quite enough to do catching their
+<emphasis>own</emphasis> mistakes.</para>
+<para>There is considerable truth to these explanations, and they certainly
+do their bit to reinforce the Lockean logic of ownership.  But while
+intellectually attractive, they fail to explain why so much emotion
+and territoriality gets displayed on the infrequent occasions that the
+taboos get bent or broken&mdash;not just by the injured parties, but by
+bystanders and observers who often react quite harshly.  Cold-blooded
+concerns about duplication of work and maintainance hassles simply do
+not sufficiently explain the observed behavior.</para>
+<para>Then, too, there is the third taboo.  It's hard to see how anything
+but the reputation-game analysis can explain this.  The fact that this
+taboo is seldom analyzed much more deeply than ``It wouldn't be fair''
+is revealing in its own way, as we shall see in the next section.</para>
+<sect1><title>The Problem of Ego</title>
+<para>At the beginning of this essay I mentioned that the unconscious
+adaptive knowledge of a culture is often at odds with its conscious
+ideology.  We've seen one major example of this already in the fact
+that Lockean ownership customs have been widely followed despite the
+fact that they violate the stated intent of the standard licenses.</para>
+<para>I have observed another interesting example of this phenomenon when
+discussing the reputation-game analysis with hackers.  This is that
+many hackers resisted the analysis and showed a strong reluctance to
+admit that their behavior was motivated by a desire for peer repute
+or, as I incautiously labeled it at the time, `ego satisfaction'.</para>
+<para>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.</para>
+<para>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.</para>
+<para>I could write an entire other essay on the unhealthy roots of this
+part of our cultural inheritance, and the astonishing amount of
+self-deceptive harm we do by believing (against all the evidence of
+psychology and behavior) that we ever have truly `selfless' motives.
+Perhaps I would, if Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche and Ayn Rand had not
+already done an entirely competent job (whatever their other failings)
+of deconstructing `altruism' into unacknowledged kinds of
+<para>But I am not doing moral philosophy or psychology here, so I will
+simply observe one minor kind of harm done by the belief that ego is
+evil, which is this: it has made it emotionally difficult for many
+hackers to consciously understand the social dynamics of their own
+<para>But we are not quite done with this line of investigation.  The
+surrounding culture's taboo against visibly ego-driven behavior is so
+much intensified in the hacker (sub)culture that one must suspect it
+of having some sort of special adaptive function for hackers.
+Certainly the taboo is weaker (or nonexistent) among many other gift
+cultures, such as the peer cultures of theater people or the very
+<sect1><title>The Value of Humility</title>
+<para>Having established that prestige is central to the hacker culture's
+reward mechanisms, we now need to understand why it has seemed so
+important that this fact remain semi-covert and largely unadmitted.</para>
+<para>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.</para>
+<para>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
+<emphasis>must</emphasis>) 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
+<para>The taboo against ego-driven posturing therefore increases productivity.
+But that's a second-order effect; what is being directly protected
+here is the quality of the information in the community's
+peer-evaluation system.  That is, boasting or self-importance is
+suppressed because it behaves like noise tending to corrupt the vital
+signals from experiments in creative and cooperative behavior.</para>
+<para>For very similar reasons, attacking the author rather than the code is
+not done.  There is an interesting subtlety here that reinforces the
+point; hackers feel very free to flame each other over ideological and
+personal differences, but it is unheard of for any hacker to publicly
+attack another's competence at technical work (even private criticism
+is unusual and tends to be muted in tone).  Bug-hunting and criticism
+are always project-labeled, not person-labeled.</para>
+<para>Furthermore, past bugs are not automatically held against a
+developer; the fact that a bug has been fixed is generally considered
+more important than the fact that one used to be there.  As one
+respondent observed, one can gain status by fixing `Emacs bugs', but
+not by fixing `Richard Stallman's bugs'&mdash;and it would be considered
+extremely bad form to criticize Stallman for <emphasis>old</emphasis>
+Emacs bugs that have since been fixed.</para>
+<para>This makes an interesting contrast with many parts of academia, in
+which trashing putatively defective work by others is an important
+mode of gaining reputation.  In the hacker culture, such behavior
+is rather heavily tabooed&mdash;so heavily, in fact, that the
+absence of such behavior did not present itself to me as a datum until
+that one respondent with an unusual perspective pointed it out nearly
+a full year after this essay was first published!</para>
+<para>The taboo against attacks on competence (not shared with academia) is
+even more revealing than the (shared) taboo on posturing, because we
+can relate it to a difference between academia and hackerdom in their
+communications and support structures.</para>
+<para>The hacker culture's medium of gifting is intangible, its
+communications channels are poor at expressing emotional nuance, and
+face-to-face contact among its members is the exception rather than
+the rule.  This gives it a lower tolerance of noise than most other
+gift cultures, and goes a long way to explain both the taboo against
+posturing and the taboo against attacks on competence.  Any
+significant incidence of flames over hackers' competence would
+intolerably disrupt the culture's reputation scoreboard.</para>
+<para>The same vulnerability to noise explains the model of public
+humility required of the hacker community's tribal elders.  They must
+be seen to be free of boast and posturing so the taboo against
+dangerous noise will hold. <link linkend="dc">[DC]</link></para>
+<para>Talking softly is also functional if one aspires to be a
+maintainer of a successful project; one must convince the community
+that one has good judgement, because most of the maintainer's job is
+going to be judging other people's code.  Who would be inclined to
+contribute work to someone who clearly can't judge the quality of
+their own code, or whose behavior suggests they will attempt to
+unfairly hog the reputation return from the project?  Potential
+contributors want project leaders with enough humility and class to be
+able to to say, when objectively appropriate, ``Yes, that does work
+better than my version, I'll use it''&mdash;and to give credit where
+credit is due.</para>
+<para>Yet another reason for humble behavior is that in the open source
+world, you seldom want to give the impression that a project is
+`done'.  This might lead a potential contributor not to feel needed.
+The way to maximize your leverage is to be humble about the state of
+the program. If one does one's bragging through the code, and then says
+``Well shucks, it doesn't do x, y, and z, so it can't be that good'',
+patches for x, y, and z will often swiftly follow.</para>
+<para>Finally, I have personally observed that the self-deprecating behavior
+of some leading hackers reflects a real (and not unjustified) fear of
+becoming the object of a personality cult.  Linus Torvalds and Larry
+Wall both provide clear and numerous examples of such avoidance
+behavior.  Once, on a dinner expedition with Larry Wall, I joked
+``You're the alpha hacker here&mdash;you get to pick the restaurant''.
+He flinched noticeably.  And rightly so; failing to distinguish their
+shared values from the personalities of their leaders has ruined a
+good many voluntary communities, a pattern of which Larry and Linus
+cannot fail to be fully aware.  On the other hand, most hackers would
+love to have Larry's problem, if they could but bring themselves to
+admit it.</para>
+<sect1><title>Global Implications of the Reputation-Game Model</title>
+<para>The reputation-game analysis has some more implications that may not
+be immediately obvious.  Many of these derive from the fact that one
+gains more prestige from founding a successful project than from
+cooperating in an existing one.  One also gains more from projects
+that are strikingly innovative, as opposed to being `me, too'
+incremental improvements on software that already exists.  On the
+other hand, software that nobody but the author understands or has a
+need for is a non-starter in the reputation game, and it's often
+easier to attract good notice by contributing to an existing project
+than it is to get people to notice a new one.  Finally, it's much
+harder to compete with an already successful project than it is to
+fill an empty niche.</para>
+<para>Thus, there's an optimum distance from one's neighbors (the most
+similar competing projects).  Too close and one's product will be a
+``me, too!'' of limited value, a poor gift (one would be better off
+contributing to an existing project).  Too far away, and nobody will
+be able to use, understand, or perceive the relevance of one's effort
+(again, a poor gift).  This creates a pattern of homesteading in the
+noosphere that rather resembles that of settlers spreading into a
+physical frontier&mdash;not random, but like a diffusion-limited
+fractal. Projects tend to get started to fill functional gaps near the
+frontier (see <link linkend="no">[NO]</link> for further discussion of
+the lure of novelty).</para>
+<para>Some very successful projects become `category killers'; nobody
+wants to homestead anywhere near them because competing against the
+established base for the attention of hackers would be too hard.
+People who might otherwise found their own distinct efforts end up,
+instead, adding extensions for these big, successful projects.
+The classic `category killer' example is GNU Emacs; its variants fill the
+ecological niche for a fully-programmable editor so completely that
+no competitor has gotten much beyond the one-man project stage
+since the early 1980s.  Instead, people write Emacs modes.</para>
+<para>Globally, these two tendencies (gap-filling and category-killers) 
+have driven a broadly predictable trend in project starts over time.
+In the 1970s most of the open source that existed was toys and demos.
+In the 1980s the push was in development and Internet tools.  In
+the 1990s the action shifted to operating systems.  In each case, 
+a new and more difficult level of problems was attacked when the
+possibilities of the previous one had been nearly exhausted.</para>
+<para>This trend has interesting implications for the near future.  In early
+1998, Linux looks very much like a category-killer for the niche
+`open-source operating systems'&mdash;people who might otherwise write
+competing operating systems are now writing Linux device drivers and
+extensions instead.  And most of the lower-level tools the culture
+ever imagined having as open source already exist.  What's left?</para>
+<para>Applications.  As the third millenium begins, it seems safe to
+predict that open-source development effort will increasingly shift
+towards the last virgin territory&mdash;programs for non-techies.  A
+clear early indicator was the development of <ulink
+url="http://www.gimp.org">GIMP</ulink>, the Photoshop-like image
+workshop that is open source's first major application with the kind
+of end-user&ndash;friendly GUI interface considered <emphasis>de
+rigueur</emphasis> in commercial applications for the last decade.
+Another is the amount of buzz surrounding application-toolkit projects
+like <ulink url="http://www.kde.org">KDE</ulink> and <ulink
+<para>A respondent to this essay has pointed out that the homesteading
+analogy also explains why hackers react with such visceral anger to
+Microsoft's ``embrace and extend'' policy of complexifying and then
+closing up Internet protocols.  The hacker culture can coexist with
+most closed software; the existence of Adobe Photoshop, for example,
+does not make the territory near GIMP (its open-source equivalent)
+significantly less attractive.  But when Microsoft succeeds at
+de-commoditizing <link linkend="HD">[HD]</link> a protocol so that
+only Microsoft's own programmers can write software for it, they do
+not merely harm customers by extending their monopoly; they also
+reduce the amount and quality of noosphere available for hackers to
+homestead and cultivate.  No wonder hackers often refer to Microsoft's
+strategy as ``protocol pollution''; they are reacting exactly like
+farmers watching someone poison the river they water their crops
+<para>Finally, the reputation-game analysis explains the oft-cited
+dictum that you do not become a hacker by calling yourself a
+hacker&mdash;you become a hacker when <emphasis>other
+hackers</emphasis> call you a hacker <link linkend="KN">[KN]</link>.
+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.</para>
+<sect1><title>How Fine a Gift? </title>
+<para>There are consistent patterns in the way the hacker culture values
+contributions and returns peer esteem for them.  It's not hard to
+observe the following rules:</para>
+<blockquote><para>1. If it doesn't work as well as I have been led
+to expect it will, it's no good&mdash;no matter how clever and original
+it is.</para></blockquote>
+<para>Note the phrase `led to expect'.  This rule is not a demand for
+perfection; beta and experimental software is allowed to have bugs.
+It's a demand that the user be able to accurately estimate risks from
+the stage of the project and the developers' representations about
+<para>This rule underlies the fact that open-source software tends to stay
+in beta for a long time, and not get even a 1.0 version number until
+the developers are very sure it will not hand out a lot of nasty
+surprises.  In the closed-source world, Version 1.0 means ``Don't
+touch this if you're prudent.''; in the open-source world it reads
+something more like ``The developers are willing to bet their
+reputations on this.''</para>
+<blockquote><para>2. Work that extends the noosphere is better than
+work that duplicates an existing piece of functional
+<para>The naive way to put this would have been: <emphasis>Original
+work is better than mere duplication of the functions of existing
+software.</emphasis> But it's not actually quite that simple.
+Duplicating the functions of existing <emphasis>closed</emphasis>
+software counts as highly as original work if by doing so you break
+open a closed protocol or format and make that territory newly
+<para>Thus, for example, one of the highest-prestige projects in the present
+open-source world is Samba&mdash;the code that allows Unix machines to
+act as clients or servers for Microsoft's proprietary SMB file-sharing
+protocol.  There is very little creative work to be done here; it's
+mostly an issue of getting the reverse-engineered details right.
+Nevertheless, the members of the Samba group are perceived as heroes
+because they neutralize a Microsoft effort to lock in whole user
+populations and cordon off a big section of the noosphere.</para>
+<blockquote><para>3. Work that makes it into a major distribution
+is better than work that doesn't.  Work carried in all major
+distributions is most prestigious.</para></blockquote>
+<para>The major distributions include not just the big Linux distributions
+like Red Hat, Debian, Caldera, and SuSE., but other collections
+that are understood to have reputations of their own to maintain and
+thus implicitly certify quality &mdash;like BSD distributions or the Free
+Software Foundation source collection.</para>
+<blockquote><para>4. Utilization is the sincerest form of
+flattery&mdash;and category killers are better than
+<para>Trusting the judgment of others is basic to the peer-review
+process.  It's necessary because nobody has time to review all
+possible alternatives.  So work used by lots of people is considered
+better than work used by a few,</para>
+<para>To have done work so good that nobody cares to use the alternatives
+any more is therefore to have earned huge prestige.  The most possible
+peer esteem comes from having done widely popular, category-killing
+original work that is carried by all major distributions.  People who
+have pulled this off more than once are half-seriously referred to as
+<blockquote><para>5. Continued devotion to hard, boring work (like
+debugging, or writing documentation) is more praiseworthy than
+cherrypicking the fun and easy hacks.</para></blockquote>
+<para>This norm is how the community rewards necessary tasks that hackers
+would not naturally incline towards.  It is to some extent
+contradicted by:</para>
+<blockquote><para>6. Nontrivial extensions of function are better
+than low-level patches and debugging.</para></blockquote>
+<para>The way this seems to work is that on a one-shot basis, adding a
+feature is likely to get more reward than fixing a bug&mdash;unless
+the bug is exceptionally nasty or obscure, such that nailing it is
+itself a demonstration of unusual skill and cleverness.  But when these 
+behaviors are extended over time, a person with a long history of
+paying attention to and nailing even ordinary bugs may well out-rank
+someone who has spent a similar amount of effort adding easy features.</para>
+<para>A respondent has pointed out that these rules interact in
+interesting ways and do not necessarily reward highest possible
+utility all the time.  Ask a hacker whether he's likely to become
+better known for a brand new tool of his own or for extensions to
+someone else's and the answer ``new tool'' will not be in doubt.  But
+ask about (a) a brand new tool which is only used a few times a day
+invisibly by the OS but which rapidly becomes a category killer,
+versus (b) several extensions to an existing tool which are neither
+especially novel nor category-killers, but are daily used and daily
+visible to a huge number of users</para>
+<para>and you are likely to get some hesitation before the hacker settles on
+(a).  These alternatives are about evenly stacked.</para>
+<para>Said respondent gave this question point for me by adding ``Case
+(a) is fetchmail; case (b) is your many Emacs extensions, like
+<filename>vc.el</filename> and <filename>gud.el</filename>.''  And
+indeed he is correct; I am more likely to be tagged ``the author of
+fetchmail'' than ``author of a boatload of Emacs modes'', even though the
+latter probably have had higher total utility over time.</para>
+<para>What may be going on here is simply that work with a novel `brand
+identity' gets more notice than work aggregated to an existing
+`brand'.  Elucidation of these rules, and what they tell us about the
+hacker culture's scoreboarding system, would make a good topic for
+further investigation.</para>
+<sect1><title>Noospheric Property and the Ethology of Territory</title>
+<para>To understand the causes and consequences of Lockean property customs,
+it will help us to look at them from yet another angle; that of animal
+ethology, specifically the ethology of territory.</para>
+<para>Property is an abstraction of animal territoriality, which evolved as
+a way of reducing intraspecies violence.  By marking his bounds, and
+respecting the bounds of others, a wolf diminishes his chances of
+being in a fight that could weaken or kill him and make him less
+reproductively successful.  Similarly, the function of property in
+human societies is to prevent inter-human conflict by setting bounds
+that clearly separate peaceful behavior from aggression.</para>
+<para>It is fashionable in some circles to describe human property as an
+arbitrary social convention, but this is dead wrong.  Anybody who has
+ever owned a dog who barked when strangers came near its owner's
+property has experienced the essential continuity between animal
+territoriality and human property.  Our domesticated cousins of the
+wolf know, instinctively, that property is no mere social convention
+or game, but a critically important evolved mechanism for the
+avoidance of violence.  (This makes them smarter than a good many human
+political theorists.)</para>
+<para>Claiming property (like marking territory) is a performative act, a
+way of declaring what boundaries will be defended.  Community support
+of property claims is a way to minimize friction and maximize
+cooperative behavior.  These things remain true even when the
+``property claim'' is much more abstract than a fence or a dog's bark,
+even when it's just the statement of the project maintainer's name in
+a README file.  It's still an abstraction of territoriality, and (like
+other forms of property) based in territorial instincts evolved to
+assist conflict resolution.</para>
+<para>This ethological analysis may at first seem very abstract and
+difficult to relate to actual hacker behavior.  But it has some
+important consequences. One is in explaining the popularity of World
+Wide Web sites, and especially why open-source projects with websites
+seem so much more `real' and substantial than those without
+<para>Considered objectively, this seems hard to explain.  Compared to the
+effort involved in originating and maintaining even a small program,
+a web page is easy, so it's hard to consider a web page evidence
+of substance or unusual effort.</para>
+<para>Nor are the functional characteristics of the Web itself sufficient
+explanation.  The communication functions of a web page can be as well
+or better served by a combination of an FTP site, a mailing list, and
+Usenet postings.  In fact it's quite unusual for a project's routine
+communications to be done over the Web rather than via a mailing list
+or newsgroup.  Why, then, the popularity of websites as project
+<para>The metaphor implicit in the term `home page' provides an important
+clue.  While founding an open-source project is a territorial claim
+in the noosphere (and customarily recognized as such) it is not a
+terribly compelling one on the psychological level.  Software, after
+all, has no natural location and is instantly reduplicable.  It's
+assimilable to our instinctive notions of `territory' and `property',
+but only after some effort.</para>
+<para>A project home page concretizes an abstract homesteading in the space
+of possible programs by expressing it as `home' territory in the more
+spatially-organized realm of the World Wide Web.  Descending from the
+noosphere to `cyberspace' doesn't get us all the way to the real world
+of fences and barking dogs yet, but it does hook the abstract property
+claim more securely to our instinctive wiring about territory.  And
+this is why projects with web pages seem more `real'.</para>
+<para>This point is much strengthened by hyperlinks and the existence of
+good search engines.  A project with a web page is much more
+likely to be noticed by somebody exploring its neighborhood in the
+noosphere; others will link to it, searches will find it.  A web page
+is therefore a better advertisement, a more effective performative
+act, a stronger claim on territory.</para>
+<para>This ethological analysis also encourages us to look more closely
+at mechanisms for handling conflict in the open-source culture. It
+leads us to expect that, in addition to maximizing reputation
+incentives, ownership customs should also have a role in preventing
+and resolving conflicts.</para>
+<sect1><title>Causes of Conflict</title>
+<para>In conflicts over open-source software we can identify four
+major issues:</para>
+<listitem><para> Who gets to make binding decisions about a
+<listitem><para> Who gets credit or blame for what?</para></listitem>
+<listitem><para> How to reduce duplication of effort and prevent rogue
+       versions from complicating bug tracking?</para></listitem>
+<listitem><para> What is the Right Thing, technically
+<para>If we take a second look at the ``What is the Right Thing'' issue,
+however, it tends to vanish.  For any such question, either there is
+an objective way to decide it accepted by all parties or there isn't.
+If there is, game over and everybody wins.  If there isn't, it reduces
+to ``Who decides?''.</para>
+<para>Accordingly, the three problems a conflict-resolution theory has to
+resolve about a project are (a) where the buck stops on design
+decisions, (b) how to decide which contributors are credited and how,
+and (c) how to keep a project group and product from fissioning into
+multiple branches.</para>
+<para>The role of ownership customs in resolving issues (a) and (c) is
+clear.  Custom affirms that the owners of the project make the binding
+decisions.  We have previously observed that custom also exerts heavy
+pressure against dilution of ownership by forking.</para>
+<para>It's instructive to notice that these customs make sense even if one
+forgets the reputation game and examines them from within a pure
+`craftmanship' model of the hacker culture.  In this view these
+customs have less to do with the dilution of reputation incentives
+than with protecting a craftsman's right to execute his vision in his
+chosen way.</para>
+<para>The craftsmanship model is not, however, sufficient to explain
+hacker customs about issue (b), who gets credit for what&mdash;because a
+pure craftsman, one unconcerned with the reputation game, would have
+no motive to care.  To analyze these, we need to take the Lockean
+theory one step further and examine conflicts and the operation of
+property rights <emphasis>within</emphasis> projects as well as
+<emphasis>between</emphasis> them.</para>
+<sect1><title>Project Structures and Ownership</title>
+<para>The trivial case is that in which the project has a single
+owner/maintainer.  In that case there is no possible conflict.  The
+owner makes all decisions and collects all credit and blame.  The only
+possible conflicts are over succession issues&mdash;who gets to be the
+new owner if the old one disappears or loses interest.  The community
+also has an interest, under issue (c), in preventing forking.  These
+interests are expressed by a cultural norm that an owner/maintainer
+should publicly hand title to someone if he or she can no longer
+maintain the project.</para>
+<para>The simplest non-trivial case is when a project has multiple
+co-maintainers working under a single `benevolent dictator' who owns
+the project.  Custom favors this mode for group projects; it has been
+shown to work on projects as large as the Linux kernel or Emacs, and
+solves the ``who decides'' problem in a way that is not obviously worse
+than any of the alternatives.</para>
+<para>Typically, a benevolent-dictator organization evolves from an
+owner-maintainer organization as the founder attracts contributors.
+Even if the owner stays dictator, it introduces a new level of possible
+disputes over who gets credited for what parts of the project.</para>
+<para>In this situation, custom places an obligation on the owner/dictator
+to credit contributors fairly (through, for example, appropriate
+mentions in README or history files).  In terms of the Lockean property
+model, this means that by contributing to a project you earn
+part of its reputation return (positive or negative).</para>
+<para>Pursuing this logic, we see that a `benevolent dictator' does not in
+fact own his entire project absolutely.  Though he has the right
+to make binding decisions, he in effect trades away shares of the
+total reputation return in exchange for others' work.  The analogy with
+sharecropping on a farm is almost irresistible, except that a
+contributor's name stays in the credits and continues to `earn' to
+some degree even after that contributor is no longer active.</para>
+<para>As benevolent-dictator projects add more participants, they tend to
+develop two tiers of contributors; ordinary contributors and
+co-developers.  A typical path to becoming a co-developer is taking
+responsibility for a major subsystem of the project.  Another is to
+take the role of `lord high fixer', characterizing and fixing many
+bugs.  In this way or others, co-developers are the contributors who 
+make a substantial and continuing investment of time in the project.</para>
+<para>The subsystem-owner role is particularly important for our analysis
+and deserves further examination.  Hackers like to say that `authority
+follows responsibility'. A co-developer who accepts maintainance
+responsibility for a given subsystem generally gets to control both
+the implementation of that subsystem and its interfaces with the rest
+of the project, subject only to correction by the project leader
+(acting as architect). We observe that this rule effectively creates
+enclosed properties on the Lockean model within a project, and has
+exactly the same conflict-prevention role as other property
+<para>By custom, the `dictator' or project leader in a project with
+co-developers is expected to consult with those co-developers on key
+decisions.  This is especially so if the decision concerns a subsystem
+that a co-developer `owns' (that is, has invested time in and taken
+responsibility for).  A wise leader, recognizing the function of the
+project's internal property boundaries, will not lightly interfere
+with or reverse decisions made by subsystem owners.</para>
+<para>Some very large projects discard the `benevolent dictator' model
+entirely. One way to do this is turn the co-developers into a voting
+committee (as with Apache).  Another is rotating dictatorship, in
+which control is occasionally passed from one member to another within
+a circle of senior co-developers; the Perl developers organize
+themselves this way.</para>
+<para>Such complicated arrangements are widely considered unstable and
+difficult.  Clearly this perceived difficulty is largely a function of
+the known hazards of design-by-committee, and of committees
+themselves; these are problems the hacker culture consciously
+understands.  However, I think some of the visceral discomfort hackers
+feel about committee or rotating-chair organizations is that
+they're hard to fit into the unconscious Lockean model hackers use for
+reasoning about the simpler cases.  It's problematic, in these complex
+organizations, to do an accounting of either ownership in the sense of
+control or ownership of reputation returns.  It's hard to see where
+the internal boundaries are, and thus hard to avoid conflict unless
+the group enjoys an exceptionally high level of harmony and trust.</para>
+<sect1><title>Conflict and Conflict Resolution</title>
+<para>We've seen that within projects, an increasing complexity of roles is
+expressed by a distribution of design authority and partial property
+rights.  While this is an efficient way to distribute incentives, it
+also dilutes the authority of the project leader&mdash;most importantly,
+it dilutes the leader's authority to squash potential conflicts.</para>
+<para>While technical arguments over design might seem the most obvious risk
+for internecine conflict, they are seldom a serious cause of strife.
+These are usually relatively easily resolved by the territorial rule
+that authority follows responsibility.</para>
+<para>Another way of resolving conflicts is by seniority&mdash;if two
+contributors or groups of contributors have a dispute, and the dispute
+cannot be resolved objectively, and neither owns the territory of the
+dispute, the side that has put the most work into the project as a
+whole (that is, the side with the most property rights in the whole
+project) wins.</para>
+<para>(Equivalently, the side with the least invested loses.  Interestingly
+this happens to be the same heuristic that many relational database
+engines use to resolve deadlocks.  When two threads are deadlocked over
+resources, the side with the least invested in the current transaction
+is selected as the deadlock victim and is terminated.  This usually
+selects the longest running transaction, or the more senior, as the
+<para>These rules generally suffice to resolve most project disputes.  When
+they do not, fiat of the project leader usually suffices.  Disputes
+that survive both these filters are rare.</para>
+<para>Conflicts do not, as a rule, become serious unless these two criteria
+("authority follows responsibility" and "seniority wins") point in
+different directions, <emphasis>and</emphasis> the authority of the project
+leader is weak or absent.  The most obvious case in which this may
+occur is a succession dispute following the disappearance of the
+project lead.  I have been in one fight of this kind.  It was ugly,
+painful, protracted, only resolved when all parties became exhausted
+enough to hand control to an outside person, and I devoutly hope I am
+never anywhere near anything of the kind again.</para>
+<para>Ultimately, all of these conflict-resolution mechanisms rest on the
+entire hacker community's willingness to enforce them.  The only available
+enforcement mechanisms are flaming and shunning&mdash;public condemnation
+of those who break custom, and refusal to cooperate with them after
+they have done so.</para>
+<sect1><title>Acculturation Mechanisms and the Link to Academia</title>
+<para>An early version of this essay posed the following research question:
+how does the community inform and instruct its members as to its
+customs?  Are the customs self-evident or self-organizing at a
+semi-conscious level?  Are they taught by example?  Are they taught by
+explicit instruction?</para>
+<para>Teaching by explicit instruction is clearly rare, if only
+because few explicit descriptions of the culture's norms have existed
+for instructional use up to now.</para>
+<para>Many norms are taught by example.  To cite one very simple case, there
+is a norm that every software distribution should have a file called
+README or READ.ME that contains first-look instructions for browsing
+the distribution.  This convention has been well established since at
+least the early 1980s; it has even, occasionally, been written down.
+But one normally derives it from looking at many distributions.</para>
+<para>On the other hand, some hacker customs are self-organizing once one has
+acquired a basic (perhaps unconscious) understanding of the reputation
+game.  Most hackers never have to be taught the three taboos I listed
+earlier in this essay, or at least would claim if asked that they are
+self-evident rather than transmitted.  This phenomenon invites
+closer analysis&mdash;and perhaps we can find its explanation in the
+process by which hackers acquire knowledge about the culture.</para>
+<para>Many cultures use hidden clues (more precisely `mysteries' in the
+religio/mystical sense) as an acculturation mechanism.  These are
+secrets that are not revealed to outsiders, but are expected to be
+discovered or deduced by the aspiring newbie.  To be accepted inside,
+one must demonstrate that one both understands the mystery and has
+learned it in a culturally sanctioned way.</para>
+<para>The hacker culture makes unusually conscious and extensive use of such
+clues or tests.  We can see this process operating at at least three
+Password-like specific mysteries. As one example, there is a Usenet
+newsgroup called alt.sysadmin.recovery that has a very explicit such
+secret; you cannot post without knowing it, and knowing it is
+considered evidence you are fit to post.  The regulars have a strong
+taboo against revealing this secret.</para></listitem>
+The requirement of initiation into certain technical mysteries. One
+must absorb a good deal of technical knowledge before one can give
+valued gifts (e.g. one must know at least one of the major computer
+languages).  This requirement functions in the large in the way hidden
+clues do in the small, as a filter for qualities (such as capability
+for abstract thinking, persistence, and mental flexibility) that are
+necessary to function in the culture.</para></listitem>
+Social-context mysteries.  One becomes involved in the culture through
+attaching oneself to specific projects.  Each project is a live social
+context of hackers that the would-be contributor has to investigate
+and understand socially as well as technically in order to
+function. (Concretely, a common way one does this is by reading the
+project's web pages and/or email archives.) It is through these project
+groups that newbies experience the behavioral example of experienced
+<para>In the process of acquiring these mysteries, the would-be hacker
+picks up contextual knowledge that (after a while) does make the
+three taboos and other customs seem `self-evident'.</para>
+<para>One might, incidentally, argue that the structure of the hacker gift
+culture itself is its own central mystery.  One is not considered
+acculturated (concretely: no one will call you a hacker) until one
+demonstrates a gut-level understanding of the reputation game and its
+implied customs, taboos, and usages.  But this is trivial; all
+cultures demand such understanding from would-be joiners.  Furthermore
+the hacker culture evinces no desire to have its internal logic and
+folkways kept secret&mdash;or, at least, nobody has ever flamed me
+for revealing them!</para>
+<para>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.</para>
+<para>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
+<para>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.</para>
+<para>Some have gone so far as to suggest that hacker customs are merely a
+reflection of the research community's folkways and have actually (in
+most cases) been acquired there by individual hackers.  This probably
+overstates the case, if only because hacker custom seems to be readily
+acquired by intelligent high-schoolers!</para>
+<sect1><title>Gift Outcompetes Exchange</title>
+<para>There is a more interesting possibility here.  I suspect
+academia and the hacker culture share adaptive patterns not because
+they're genetically related, but because they've both evolved the one
+most optimal social organization for what they're trying to do, given
+the laws of nature and the instinctive wiring of human beings.
+The verdict of history seems to be that free-market capitalism is the
+globally optimal way to cooperate for economic efficiency; perhaps, in
+a similar way, the reputation-game gift culture is the globally
+optimal way to cooperate for generating (and checking!) high-quality
+creative work.</para>
+<para>Support for this theory becomes from a large body of
+psychological studies on the interaction between art and reward <link
+linkend="GNU">[GNU]</link>.  These studies have received less
+attention than they should, in part perhaps because their popularizers
+have shown a tendency to overinterpret them into general attacks
+against the free market and intellectual property.  Nevertheless,
+their results do suggest that some kinds of scarcity-economics rewards
+actually decrease the productivity of creative workers such as
+<para>Psychologist Theresa Amabile of Brandeis University, cautiously
+summarizing the results of a 1984 study of motivation and reward,
+observed ``It may be that commissioned work will, in general, be less
+creative than work that is done out of pure interest.''.  Amabile goes
+on to observe that ``The more complex the activity, the more it's hurt
+by extrinsic reward.''  Interestingly, the studies suggest that
+flat salaries don't demotivate, but piecework rates and bonuses do.</para>
+<para>Thus, it may be economically smart to give performance bonuses to
+people who flip burgers or dug ditches, but it's probably smarter to
+decouple salary from performance in a programming shop and let
+people choose their own projects (both trends that the open-source
+world takes to their logical conclusions).  Indeed, these results
+suggest that the only time it is a good idea to reward performance
+in programming is when the programmer is so motivated that he
+or she would have worked without the reward!</para>
+<para>Other researchers in the field are willing to point a finger
+straight at the issues of autonomy and creative control that so
+preoccupy hackers. ``To the extent one's experience of being
+self-determined is limited,'' said Richard Ryan, associate
+psychology professor at the University of Rochester, ``one's
+creativity will be reduced as well.''</para>
+<para>In general, presenting any task as a means rather than an end in
+itself seems to demotivate.  Even winning a competition with others or
+gaining peer esteem can be demotivating in this way if the victory is
+experienced as work for reward (which may explain why hackers are
+culturally prohibited from explicitly seeking or claiming that
+<para>To complicate the management problem further, controlling verbal
+feedback seems to be just as demotivating as piecework payment.  Ryan
+found that corporate employees who were told, ``Good, you're doing as
+you <emphasis>should</emphasis>'' were ``significantly less intrinsically
+motivated than those who received feedback informationally.''</para>
+<para>It may still be intelligent to offer incentives, but they have to come
+without attachments to avoid gumming up the works.  There is a critical
+difference (Ryan observes) between saying, ``I'm giving you this
+reward because I recognize the value of your work'', and ``You're
+getting this reward because you've lived up to my standards.'' The
+first does not demotivate; the second does.</para>
+<para>In these psychological observations we can ground a case that an
+open-source development group will be substantially more productive
+(especially over the long term, in which creativity becomes more
+critical as a productivity multiplier) than an equivalently sized and
+skilled group of closed-source programmers (de)motivated by scarcity
+<para>This suggests from a slightly different angle one of the
+speculations in <citetitle>The Cathedral And The Bazaar</citetitle>;
+that, ultimately, the industrial/factory mode of software production
+was doomed to be outcompeted from the moment capitalism began to
+create enough of a wealth surplus that many programmers could live in
+a post-scarcity gift culture.</para>
+<para>Indeed, it seems the prescription for highest software
+productivity is almost a Zen paradox; if you want the most efficient
+production, you must give up trying to <emphasis>make</emphasis>
+programmers produce.  Handle their subsistence, give them their heads,
+and forget about deadlines.  To a conventional manager this sounds
+crazily indulgent and doomed&mdash;but it is <emphasis>exactly</emphasis>
+the recipe with which the open-source culture is now clobbering its
+<sect1><title>Conclusion: From Custom to Customary Law</title>
+<para>We have examined the customs which regulate the ownership and control
+of open-source software.  We have seen how they imply an underlying
+theory of property rights homologous to the Lockean theory of land
+tenure.  We have related 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 have examined the
+implications of this analysis for conflict resolution in the culture.</para>
+<para>The next logical question to ask is "Why does this matter?"  Hackers
+developed these customs without conscious analysis and (up to now)
+have followed them without conscious analysis.  It's not immediately
+clear that conscious analysis has gained us anything practical&mdash;unless,
+perhaps, we can move from description to prescription and deduce ways
+to improve the functioning of these customs.</para>
+<para>We have found a close logical analogy for hacker customs in the theory
+of land tenure under the Anglo-American common-law tradition.
+Historically <link linkend="miller">[Miller]</link>, the European tribal
+cultures that invented this tradition improved their
+dispute-resolution systems by moving from a system of unarticulated,
+semi-conscious custom to a body of explicit customary law memorized by
+tribal wisemen&mdash;and eventually, written down.</para>
+<para>Perhaps, as our population rises and acculturation of all new members
+becomes more difficult, it is time for the hacker culture to do
+something analogous&mdash;to develop written codes of good practice for
+resolving the various sorts of disputes that can arise in connection
+with open-source projects, and a tradition of arbitration in which
+senior members of the community may be asked to mediate disputes.</para>
+<para>The analysis in this essay suggests the outlines of what such a code
+might look like, making explicit that which was previously implicit.
+No such codes could be imposed from above; they would have to be
+voluntarily adopted by the founders or owners of individual projects.
+Nor could they be completely rigid, as the pressures on the culture
+are likely to change over time.  Finally, for enforcement of such
+codes to work, they would have to reflect a broad consensus of the
+hacker tribe.</para>
+<!-- %%BEGIN STANDALONE%% -->
+<para>I have begun work on such a code, tentatively titled the "Malvern
+Protocol" after the little town where I live.  If the general analysis
+in this paper becomes sufficiently widely accepted, I will make the Malvern
+Protocol publicly available as a model code for dispute resolution.
+Parties interested in critiquing and developing this code, or just
+offering feedback on whether they think it's a good idea or not, are
+invited to <ulink url="mailto:esr@thyrsus.com">contact me by
+<!-- %%END STANDALONE%% -->
+<sect1><title>Questions for Further Research</title>
+<para>The culture's (and my own) understanding of large projects that don't
+follow a benevolent-dictator model is weak.  Most such projects fail.
+A few become spectacularly successful and important (Perl, Apache,
+KDE).  Nobody really understands where the difference lies.  There's
+a vague sense abroad that each such project is <emphasis>sui generis</emphasis>
+and stands or falls on the group dynamic of its particular members,
+but is this true or are there replicable strategies that a group can
+<!-- %%BEGIN ENDNOTES -->
+<para><anchor id="N"/><emphasis>[N]</emphasis> The term `noosphere' is
+an obscure term of art in philosophy.  It is pronounced KNOW-uh-sfeer
+(two o-sounds, one long and stressed, one short and unstressed tending
+towards schwa). If one is being excruciatingly correct about one's
+orthography, the term is properly spelled with a diaeresis over the
+second `o' to mark it as a separate vowel.</para>
+<para>In more detail; this term for ``the sphere of human thought''
+derives from the Greek `noos' meaning `mind', `intelligence', or `perception'.
+It was invented by E. LeRoy in <emphasis>Les origines humaines et
+l'evolution de l'intelligence</emphasis> (Paris 1928).  It was
+popularized first by the Russian biologist and pioneering ecologist
+Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky, (1863&ndash;1945), then by the Jesuit
+paleontologist/philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
+(1881&ndash;1955).  It is with Teilhard de Chardin's theory of future human
+evolution to a form of pure mind culminating in union with the Godhead
+that the term is now primarily associated.</para>
+<para><anchor id="DF"/><emphasis>[DF]</emphasis>
+David Friedman, one of the most lucid and accessible thinkers in
+contemporary economics, has written an excellent 
+<ulink url="http://www.best.com/~ddfr/Academic/Course_Pages/L_and_E_LS_98/Why_Is_Law/Why_Is_Law_Chapter_11.html">outline</ulink>
+of the
+history and logic of intellectual-property law.  I recommend it as a
+starting point to anyone interested in these issues.</para>
+<para><anchor id="BSD"/><emphasis>[BSD]</emphasis>
+One interesting difference between the Linux and BSD worlds is that
+the Linux kernel (and associated OS core utilities) have never forked,
+but BSD's has, at least three times.  What makes this interesting is
+that the social structure of the BSD groups is centralized in a way
+intended to define clear lines of authority and to prevent forking, while
+the decentralized and amorphous Linux community takes no such
+measures.  It appears that the projects which open up development
+the most actually have the <emphasis>least</emphasis> tendency to fork!</para>
+<para>Henry Spencer <email>henry@spsystems.net</email> suggests that, in general, the
+stability of a political system is inversely proportional to the
+height of the entry barriers to its political process.  His analysis
+is worth quoting here:</para>
+<para>One major strength of a relatively open democracy is that most potential 
+revolutionaries find it easier to make progress toward their objectives by
+working via the system rather by attacking it.  This strength is easily
+undermined if established parties act together to `raise the bar', making
+it more difficult for small dissatisfied groups to see <emphasis>some</emphasis> progress
+made toward their goals.</para>
+<para>(A similar principle can be found in economics.  Open markets have the
+strongest competition, and generally the best and cheapest products.
+Because of this, it's very much in the best interests of established
+companies to make market entry more difficult&mdash;for example, by
+convincing governments to require elaborate RFI testing on computers, or  
+by creating `consensus' standards which are so complex that they cannot be
+implemented effectively from scratch without large resources.  The markets
+with the strongest entry barriers are the ones that come under the
+strongest attack from revolutionaries, e.g. the Internet and the Justice
+Dept. vs. the Bell System.)</para>
+<para>An open process with low entry barriers encourages participation rather
+than secession, because one can get results without the high overheads of
+secession.  The results may not be as impressive as what could be achieved
+by seceding, but they come at a lower price, and most people will consider
+that an acceptable tradeoff.  (When the Spanish government revoked
+Franco's anti-Basque laws and offered the Basque provinces their own
+schools and limited local autonomy, most of the Basque Separatist movement
+evaporated almost overnight.  Only the hard-core Marxists insisted that it
+wasn't good enough.)</para>
+<para><anchor id="rp"/><emphasis>[RP]</emphasis>
+There are some subtleties about rogue patches.  One can divide them
+into `friendly' and `unfriendly' types.  A `friendly' patch is
+designed to be merged back into the project's main-line sources under
+the maintainer's control (whether or not that merge actually happens); an
+`unfriendly' one is intended to yank the project in a direction the
+maintainer doesn't approve.  Some projects (notably the Linux kernel
+itself) are pretty relaxed about friendly patches and even encourage
+independent distribution of them as part of their beta-test phase.
+An unfriendly patch, on the other hand, represents a decision to
+compete with the original and is a serious matter.  Maintaining a whole
+raft of unfriendly patches tends to lead to forking.</para>
+<para><anchor id="lw"/><emphasis>[LW]</emphasis>
+I am indebted to Michael Funk <email>mwfunk@uncc.campus.mci.net</email> for
+pointing out how instructive a contrast with hackers the pirate
+culture is. Linus Walleij has posted an analysis of their cultural
+dynamics that differs from mine (describing them as a scarcity
+culture) in <ulink url="http://www.df.lth.se/~triad/papers/Raymond_D00dz.html">A Comment on `Warez D00dz' Culture</ulink>.</para>
+<para>The contrast may not last.  Former cracker Andrej Brandt
+<email>andy@pilgrim.cs.net.pl</email> reports that he believes the
+cracker/warez d00dz culture is now withering away, with its brightest
+people and leaders assimilating to the open-source world.  Independent
+evidence for this view may be provided by a precedent-breaking July
+1999 action of the cracker group calling itself `Cult of the Dead Cow'.
+They have released their `Back Orifice 2000' for breaking Microsoft
+Windows security tools under the GPL.</para>
+<para><anchor id="HT"/><emphasis>[HT]</emphasis> 
+In evolutionary terms, the craftsman's urge itself may (like
+internalized ethics) be a result of the high risk and cost of
+deception.  Evolutionary psychologists have collected experimental
+evidence <link linkend="BCT">[BCT]</link> that human beings have brain logic