• List Price: CDN$ 36.95
  • You Save: CDN$ 13.27 (36%)
FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 35.
Only 3 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca. Gift-wrap available.
Coding Freedom: The Ethic... has been added to your Cart
+ CDN$ 6.49 shipping
Used: Good | Details
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Moderate wear on cover and edges. Minimal highlighting and/or other markings can be present. May be ex-library copy and may not include CD, Accessories and/or Dust Cover. Good readable copy.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking Paperback – Nov 19 2012

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
CDN$ 23.68
CDN$ 17.00 CDN$ 6.84

Unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping for Six Months When You Try Amazon Student
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking
  • +
  • Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous
Total price: CDN$ 47.03
Buy the selected items together

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (Nov. 19 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691144613
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691144610
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 1.8 x 23.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #213,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2013

"Coding Freedom is insightful and fascinating, a superbly observed picture of the motives, divisions and history of the free software and software freedom world."--Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing

"Anyone who thinks about programmers, open source, online communities, or the politics of intellectual property should have a copy of Coding Freedom on the shelf. It is an invaluable portrait of how free-software coders work, individually and collectively."--James Grimmelmann, Jotwell

"The hacker ethic may be peculiar to outsiders. But it stems from a deep commitment to justice, fairness, and freedom. Anthropologist Gabriella Coleman describes in her phenomenal book Coding Freedom how hacker ethic gets encoded into both technical and political practice."--Danah Boyd, Wired

"Though occasionally she uses academic jargon, her book is an intriguing read and connects the dots. . . . Reading this book will help you to understand the conflict, as well as hacker culture."--David Hutchinson, io9.com

"[S]triking and important. . . . Coleman has captured a great deal of the essential spirit of the free- and open-software movement. . . . I strongly suggest that you buy a copy of the book."--John Gilbey, Times Higher Education

"[I]t is well-written and the analyses really get to the heart of some deeply ethical questions about individual, group and political relationships in voluntary groups which are rarely considered in such detail."--John R. Hudson, Briefing Bradford

"This work by Coleman is at once history, ethnography, cultural criticism, and storytelling. . . . Once can read the book as a narrative of the free software and open source movements, or as a sympathetic description of the behavior norms of hackers. . . . Some readers will likely not consider hackers' aesthetic appreciation of good or clever coding as beauty, nor hackers' humor as funny, but these are Coleman's courageous attempts to provide a rounded depiction of this subculture. This book seems likely to be one of the defining works of cultural anthropology."--Choice

"Coding Freedom is a persuasive piece of writing that tackles some of the questions central to the current political climate."--Sebastian Kubitschko, Culture Machine

"Coding Freedom is an important analysis of F/OSS that offers deep ethnographic detail and creates a complex appreciation of this phenomenon. Coleman is also able to take this rich detail and extend it into the ethics and politics of F/OSS, connecting internal community principles to wider political effects, of which she provides a unique analysis. This book is compulsory reading for anyone interested in the cultural and social meaning of F/OSS and will powerfully repay anyone interested in the nature of ethics and society in the 21st century."--Tim Jordan, American Journal of Sociology

From the Back Cover

"Coleman knows, understands, and lives free culture. No one is more credible or more fascinating when describing the lives of the women and men whose mission is an open, free information age."--Cory Doctorow, author of Little Brother and coauthor of The Rapture of the Nerds

"Coleman's book is definitive--everything in it is lovingly detailed, exhaustively researched, fluently written, and packed with provocative insights. A monument of scholarship, it combines the best of anthropology with an unconventional and fresh approach to law, political theory, and ethics. From the conference-going world of software programmers to the humor and pleasures of code-fu, and from the phantasms of free speech to the passion and pathos of technical committees, Coleman is an extraordinary guide to the world of contemporary hacking."--Christopher Kelty, University of California, Los Angeles

"Coleman's book on free and open source software programmers and hackers is desperately needed and will be a significant, landmark contribution to our understanding of the current technologically mediated moment. Coleman mixes case studies with learned treatments of this community, changes in the legal environment, and other relevant dimensions."--Thomas M. Malaby, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

"This is a revelatory ethnographic look at the origins and evolution of the free and open source software subculture. Coleman provides entirely new insights into the humor, aesthetics, and social life of hackers, while exploring the philosophical implications of open source for ideas about personal freedom, labor, and markets. Coding Freedom is an essential study of the technological revolution of our times."--Joseph Masco, University of Chicago

See all Product Description

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 3 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is an impressive work of the anthropologist Gabriella Coleman about the free and open source software world. She immersed herself in the hacker community for many years painting a very detailed and analyzed picture of this whole movement.

I consider myself part of this community (or at least believe it :) for many years and reading the first chapters was like reliving my whole life from 13 to 21. The portrait of open source activists and hackers is staggering with details that simply fits my life even though I was NEVER interviewed by the author.

This is truly a serious and well documented piece of work and I recommend to everyone wanting to understand what this community is all about, how it came to life and what is it fighting for today. Understanding this world open your eyes to a whole new set of possibilities. :)

Thanks Gabriella for this!
3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
In November I completed a four month sabbatical from my regular work as a Minister with The United Church of Canada. The topic of my sabbatical was to look for the "spirit" in the Open Source Developer Community. During that time, I read a number of books all revolving around the topic in one fashion or another. I received "Coding Freedom" as soon as it was available, but a few weeks after I returned to work. In many ways, this is the book I might have wanted to write as a reflection on the things I learned. Gabriella Coleman was able to do what I might have wanted to do - embed herself in an open source community - the Debian Linux project to be precise - in order to discover what makes the people who write this software tick. I came away from this book wondering if there is some way I can go back to school and work on this topic some more at McGill - where Ms. Coleman is currently a professor. At the beginning Ms. Coleman suggests that she will do her best to meld academic rigour and readability and she does a pretty fine job of it. I was hoping to find connections that would support some of my own theories around the ethical stance and "spirituality" of people involved in the hacker (not cracker!) community and the fact that I did not, is not a critique of the author, but rather a caution for myself, that perhaps I was expecting too much, and too narrow a focus for this community which stretches around the world geographically and stretches in other ways in terms of the range of worldviews that are encompassed by it. Just the same, Gabriella Coleman, because of her deep analysis and lengthy relationship with the open source developer community is able to describe an ethic and sensibility that is both a product of the community and a drawing card for those who are part of it. Well done, a complete and deep assessment that still left me wanting more!
2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book, in a few steps:

1. Glamourize hacker culture, with the implicit support of hackers who want to see themselves as heroes.
2. Take a strain of political activism, which is frequently youthful and free of maturity/nuance, and turn it into a "world-changing force."
3. Wrap it all in pseudo-academic jargon suitable for a Philosophy undergraduate,
4. Sell it as academic material to the ruling class.

And that's how you mill an youthful, well-meaning, sometimes misguided political movement into pretentious yarn for old white academics.

I can't believe I once liked this book. This is pure fraud.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars July 11 2016
By Charlotte T. Hale Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good read--
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential lexicon for future technology Jan. 21 2013
By Tom Marble - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Coleman understands us better than we understand ourselves.

It is difficult for me to top the reviews of others -- including
the review from Simon who is a friend, colleague and important voice in FLOSS.

I was initially drawn to understand the legal underpinnings
of Free Software because I was struck how essential it is
to have the "freedom to be creative". Typically artists, say painters,
are not given tools of their craft with odd restrictions like
1) paint anything you like, but you cannot use colors in combination
without asking permission first and 2) you may not be inspired
by the masters who have come before you.

That our digital era involves "copying" for any use has led to
a bonanza for the "content development industries". Lessig has
covered the price we pay as a culture for this unintended consequence.
Coleman gives perspective on Lessig's influence in the large -- a perspective
which is desperately needed today.

Artists of the keyboard (hackers) have had to become aware of
the law and specifically how copyright works to understand
how "open source" enables creativity.

The trajectory of technology is pointing clearly to software
in a starring role. And thus fully understanding the power
and risks of software for creativity, privacy, security and free speech
is not optional. Coding Freedom offers a lexicon to discuss
and work together for the kind of technology we want in our society.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very, very good Jan. 4 2013
By Peter Fein - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Speaking as a programmer and husband of an anthropologist, this is one heck of a good book. Coleman strikes the rare balance between academic rigor and readability. She clearly explains the experience of being a hacker in terms understandable to a lay audience. I was blown away by the connections she draws between the open source movement and larger trends in free speech and intellectual property law.
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally somebody who really understands hackers Dec 2 2012
By Rabble - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
So much has been written about software developers and hacker culture is done by people who haven't spent the time to figure out how it really works. Coleman has taken her academic work on hackers and made it in to something that is both accessible and has intellectual depth. Well worth reading for anybody who's trying to understand the culture of hackers, the culture of people who make software which is reshaping the world.

One really cool part of the book is it gets in to the relationship between hacker culture and politics. Why do hackers become political and around which issues.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Coding Freedom: One of the Most Important Books of Last Decade Feb. 22 2013
By justleft - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking

Hear interview with author Biella Coleman here: [...]

In the past 2 years, we've discussed in many interviews and updates, the attacks on whistle-blowers and hackers. The emerging movement of programmers, hackers, open source software, online communities has challenged and exposed corporate and government control and surveillance, making them targets of prosecution. Today we talk with author Gabriella Coleman about her recently published book Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking. It's a good place to start for those learning about the political significance of free software, intellectual property and the morality of computer hacking.

Gabriella Coleman:

■When you utter the word hacker, usually the image that pops into people's minds is nefarious criminal. That can be the case but really hackers are composed of an extremely lively group of individuals who tend to be computer programmers and network administrators, who actually are committed to a range of civil liberties such as free speech and privacy. Especially in the last decade they've been involved in political activities as well.
■They're quite a bit of diversity among hackers, technically.
■Hackers - are keenly aware of the issues such as censorship, which impact the present and the future of the internet. Some hackers are committed to insuring internet freedoms for their own productive autonomy.
■Beyond productive autonomy they're really starting to care about the broader issues relating to internet freedoms and how they relate to democracy at large.
■In order for software to be made, it must be written in a programming language such as C++, Python and Pearl and its written in source code. These are the underlying directions of software.
■A very prominent group of hackers who are committed to always having access to source code have actually reinvented the law to make sure that that source code is eternally available. They're very much against copyrights and patents and have created something called a copyleft to make sure the source code that powers software is always accessible to them.
■Proprietary software such as the Microsoft Operating System is behind lock and key. We don't have access to the underlying directions.
■There's a contingent within the hacker world who believe that access is not only good for the sake of improving technology but is the morally right thing to do.
■That its a collaborative process, that everyone should have access to it. There are other hackers that are a little less concerned about the ethics of access and they're more concerned about the pragmatics.
■I originally thought that these free software developers who were part of these large projects such as Debion, were raging Leftists. The project itself had collected people from all political orientations.