"...a remarkable perspective on the wider computing infrastructure that has found its way nearly everywhere over the past decades. The story of free software (what we might think of as an exotic other) shows how more familiar computing environments share in free software's dimensions of culture, and in the social, economic, political, and historical dimensions that are also covered in this book... the book will likely appeal to a broad audience, and it will be difficult to ignore in fields of study focused on media, science, and technology, and globalization and change, in any way involving the Internet." Jens Kjaerulff, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute "I know of no other book that mixes so beautifully a deep theoretical understanding of social theory with a rich historical and contemporary ethnography of the Free Software and free culture movements. Christopher M. Kelty's book speaks to many audiences; his message should be understood by many more."--Lawrence Lessig, Stanford Law School "Two Bits describes the way those who work and play with Free Software themselves change in the process--engendering what Kelty calls 'recursive publics'--social configurations that realize the Internet's non-hierarchical, ever-evolving, and thus historically attuned logic, creatively updating the types of public spheres previously theorized by Habermas and Michael Warner, among others. Two Bits does something similar, pulling readers into an experimental (ethnographic) mode that draws out how Open Source movements have garnered the momentum and significance they have today. The book--on paper and online--quite literally shows how it is done, itself embodying the standards that make Free Software work. Two Bits is critical reading, in all senses."--Kim Fortun, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute "Just occasionally, you come across a book that reflects part of your own life and experience in a way that makes you stop and say: "Yes, that is the way I remember it happening." This is one such book...The voice of the book captures the familiar uncertainties, complexities and challenges of the time particularly well... A closely argued, well-defended, painstakingly referenced treatise covering one of the most complex, and possibly least understood, cultural movements of recent decades...I had never expected to enjoy a book that delved so deeply into the writing of software licences ...but I did...Kelty succeeds in delivering a book that is academically sound, thoroughly researched and deeply engaging...a very significant book that succeeds in capturing the essence of a period of huge change...Kelty's solidly focused text offers an effective roadmap for the deeply convoluted raw material that defines this period - providing a detailed, and well crafted, reference for future investigators." John Gilbey, Times Higher Education, 21st August 2008Reseña del editor:
In "Two Bits", Christopher M. Kelty investigates the history and cultural significance of Free Software, revealing the people and practices that have transformed not only software, but also music, film, science, and education. Free Software is a set of practices devoted to the collaborative creation of software source code that is made openly and freely available through an unconventional use of copyright law. Kelty shows how these specific practices have reoriented the relations of power around the creation, dissemination, and authorization of all kinds of knowledge after the arrival of the Internet. "Two Bits" also makes an important contribution to discussions of public spheres and social imaginaries by demonstrating how Free Software is a "recursive public" - a public organized around the ability to build, modify, and maintain the very infrastructure that gives it life in the first place. Drawing on ethnographic research that took him from an Internet healthcare start-up company in Boston to media labs in Berlin to young entrepreneurs in Bangalore, Kelty describes the technologies and the moral vision that binds together hackers, geeks, lawyers, and other Free Software advocates. In each case, he shows how their practices and way of life include not only the sharing of software source code but also ways of conceptualizing openness, writing copyright licenses, coordinating collaboration, and proselytizing for the movement. By exploring in detail how these practices came together as the Free Software movement from the 1970s to the 1990s, Kelty also shows how it is possible to understand the new movements that are emerging out of Free Software: projects such as Creative Commons, a nonprofit organization that creates copyright licenses, and Connexions, a project to create an online scholarly textbook commons.
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