Open to Grok. How do hackers’ practices produce hackers?

Vincenzo D'Andrea, Stefano De Paoli, Maurizio Teli

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


How do hackers’ practices produce hackers’ identities? In this paper we argue that the association between science fiction and software programs is rooted in hackers’ practices, defining how hackers’ knowledge’ emerge. The mediation is the one of the Heinlein verb “to grok”, part of the Jargon file and of the name of a code browser, OpenGrok, the technology mediating the relationship between OpenSolaris developers and the code base. Starting with a description of the peculiarity of the verb “to grok”, and its connection with a non-Cartesian view of knowledge, we discuss how the history of OpenGrok and its use by developers make this knowledge part of hackers’ practices and identities, as someone involved in a true, deep understanding of software.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOpen Source Development, Communities and Quality
Subtitle of host publicationIFIP 20th World Computer Congress, Working Group 2.3 on Open Source Software, September 7-10, 2008, Milano, Italy
EditorsBarbara Russo, Ernesto Damiani, Scott Hissam, Björn Lundell, Giancarlo Succi
Place of PublicationBoston
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9780387096841
ISBN (Print)9780387096834
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes
EventIFIP World Computer Congress - Milano Convention Centre, Milano, Italy
Duration: 7 Sep 200810 Sep 2008

Publication series

NameIFIP International Federation for Information Processing (IFIPAICT)
ISSN (Print)1571-5736
ISSN (Electronic)1861-2288


ConferenceIFIP World Computer Congress
Abbreviated titleWCC 2008
Internet address


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