Cyberselfish: A Critical Romp through the Terribly Libertarian Culture of High Tech

Borsook, Paulina
ISBN 1586480383
Date finished: 2002-04-14

Borsook examines the association between libertarianism and the high-tech culture of Silicon Valley, in a book that caused a considerable stir when it first came out. It remains to be seen if the current downturn will be enough to break this connection, but for now we're stuck with it, so this discussion is much-needed as it dissects the techie infatuation with biological analogies, cryptography, and Wired magazine. Chapter two is probably the best, as it nicely draws the absurdity and barrenness of cypherpunk thinking, but every chapter has some worthwhile insights. The presentation is flawed by Borsook's occasional use of obscure words (when was the last time you heard someone use "chiliastic" or "prodromal"?), sporadic snarkiness, and a terrible editing job that left many typos, at least in this paperback edition.

Eric S. Raymond wrote a riposte to the book that wasn't particularly effective, and reading Borsook's book makes me wonder what Raymond is doing these days, all of his efforts having seemed to have fallen on hard times in the last year or two. Nothing he's written after "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" and "Homesteading the Noosphere" has had a similar impact; the Open Source Initiative seems comatose; his work on Linux kernel configuration has met strong resistance and may never go in; his Python work has stopped completely. Perhaps he's doomed to just fade away now that the go-go years of open source are clearly over.

Tagged: computing


%T  Cyberselfish
%S  A Critical Romp through the Terribly Libertarian Culture of High Tech
%@  2002-04-14
%A  Borsook, Paulina
%G  ISBN 1586480383
%K  computing

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