Chapter 2-3 

Hackers, Heroes of the Computer Revolution


If you don't have access to the information you need to improve
things, how can you fix them?  A free exchange of information
particularly when the information was in the form of a computer
program, allowed for greater overall creativity.  When you were
working on a machine like the TX-0, which came with almost no
software, everyone would furiously write systems programs to make
programming easier--Tools to Make Tools, kept in the drawer by
the console for easy access by anyone using the machine.  This
prevented the dread, time-wasting ritual of reinventing the
wheel: instead of everybody writing his own version of the same
program, the best version would be available to everyone, and
everyone would be free to delve into the code and improve on
THAT.  A world studded with feature-full programs, bummed to the
minimum, debugged to perfection. 

The belief, sometimes taken unconditionally, that information
should be free was a direct tribute to the way a splendid
computer, or computer program, works--the binary bits moving in
the most straightforward, logical path necessary to do their
complex job, What was a computer but something which benefited
from a free flow of information?  If, say, the accumulator found
itself unable to get information from the input/output (i/o)
devices like the tape reader or the switches, the whole system
would collapse.  In the hacker viewpoint, any system could
benefit from that easy flow of information.