Hackers Don’t Need External Validation but May Appreciate Understanding

Slashdot links to a Techworld piece that summarizes an interesting article from a biweekly publication out of the Vatican. In it, Jesuit priest, Father Antonio Spadaro, demonstrates a surprisingly profound grasp of the hacker ethos. He goes further to draw many parallels between the actions and motivations of hackers and his faith. To advocates of the principle freedoms of Free Software that he finds much in common in the plane of social justice comes as no surprise.

As a rule, hackers don’t seek approval or even validation from formal institutions. This quality may even encourage some of us to dismiss Spadaro’s writing out of hand, which I think would be a mistake. I think there is an intellectually respectable tradition of moral philosophy within the Catholic church, regardless of how you may view the institution as a whole. Seeing that thoughtfully applied to the hacker spirit does present an interesting opportunity for understanding on which it would be useful to expand.

The more people who understand the internal workings of hackers, the less we have to take such great care, as Spadaro has done, to distinguish between hackers and “crackers” or “black hat hackers”. Much of the writing and speaking I do isn’t all that different in some ways from what Spadaro has done, trying to build bridges between hackers and non-hackers of particular stripes.

The Vatican Lauds Hackers, Slashdot

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