CoverI. Intellectual Property1. James Boyle, “The Why of Intellectual Property”2. James Boyle, “Thomas Jefferson Writes a Letter”II. Free Software3. Richard Stallman, “What is Free Software?”4. Richard Stallman, “The GNU Project”III. Open Source5. Eric Raymond, “The Cathedral and the Bazaar”6. Eric Raymond, “Homesteading the Noosphere”IV. Open Content7. David Wiley, “About the Open Publication License”8. David Wiley, “Open Content: The First Decade”V. Defining Free9. Franklin D. Roosevelt, “The Four Freedoms Speech”10. Richard Stallman, “Four Freedoms”11. Erik Moller, “Freedom Defined”12. Bruce Perens, “Debian Free Software Guidelines”VI. Defining Open13. Bruce Perens, “The Open Source Definition”14. David Wiley, “Open Content”15. OKFN, “Open Definition”16. David Wiley, “The Access Compromise and the 5th R”17. David Wiley, “Open Definitions, Specificity, and Avoiding Bright Lines”VII. Open Source Software Licenses18. GNU General Public License19. BSD License20. MIT License21. Apache License22. Comparison of Open Source LicensesVIII. Open Content Licenses23. Creative Commons Licenses24. GNU Free Documentation License25. Open Publication LicenseIX. Open CourseWare26. Charles Vest, “Disturbing the Educational Universe: Universities in the Digital Age — Dinosaurs or Prometheans?”27. History of MIT OCW28. MIT OCW Evaluation Report (2005)29. MIT Reaches OCW Milestone30. David Wiley, “OpenCourseWars”X. Open Educational Resources31. UNESCO Forum on the Impact of Open Courseware for Higher Education in Developing32. Cape Town Open Education Declaration33. UNESCO, “2012 Paris OER Declaration”34. Wiley, Bliss, and McEwen, “Open Educational Resources: OER Literature Review”35. Boston Consulting Group, “Open Educational Resources: The OER Ecosystem”XI. Open Textbooks36. Nicole Allen, “Open Textbooks: A Cover to Cover Solution: How Open Textbooks are the Path to Affordability”37. Frydenberg and Matkin, “Open Textbooks: Why? What? How? When?”XII. Research in Open Education38. OER Research Hub39. Open Education Group40. Marshall Smith, “Ruminations on Research on OER”XIII. The Economics of Open41. Yochai Benkler, “Coases Penguin, or Linux and The Nature of the Firm”42. Yochai Benkler, “Common Wisdom: Peer Production of Educational Materials”43. Yochai Benkler, “‘Sharing Nicely’: On shareable goods and the emergence of sharing as a modality of economic production”XIV. Open Business Models44. Eric Raymond, “The Magic Cauldron”45. OSI, “Open Source Case for Business”46. Various, “A Summer 2014 Conversation on Business Models in Open Education”
An Open Education Reader

Eric Raymond, “Homesteading the Noosphere”

Read the article at


In “Homesteading the Noosphere,” Eric Raymond gives a fascinating overview of the motivations and unofficial organizing principles of the software hacker culture which, he argues, are rooted in Lockean principles of ownership. Raymond identifies membership in the open source culture through the lens of variations of degree in zeal and hostility toward commercial software. The different combinations and intensities of these variations comprise nine different hacker attitudes – from those who zealously oppose and are openly hostile to “evil” commercial software to those who code as a hobby and happily enjoy using Windows for their day job (and occasionally on evenings and weekends).

Key Points

Raymond also explores the somewhat puzzling phenomenon of open source communities of uncompensated programmers who will develop incredibly useful and professional work at a rate faster than compensated programmers. He suggests that hackers have adopted a form of unspoken ownership rights based on “gift culture” where reputation, rather than monetary compensation, is the desired commodity. Raymond uses several historical and related theories to support his argument that the open source community does have a viable structure which allows for efficient paths to conflict resolution and software development.

Discussion Questions

  1. What motivates people to volunteer (e.g., build houses, work in soup kitchens, clean up after disasters, teach children to read)? How have similar motivations driven the open source software communities?
  2. How does “abundance” in the online environment affect the gift culture of the hacker community?

Additional Resources


CC BY: This work is released under a CC BY license, which means that you are free to do with it as you please as long as you properly attribute it.