Sun May 6 10:33:01 PDT 2012
I was a founding member of one the earliest US hackerspaces, the l0pht,
before we knew what the word was. This was when the words Open Source
didn't exist and all we knew of was the League of Programming Freedom,
which would later become the Free Software Foundation, thanks to RMS.
It was when reverse engineering electronics wasn't much of a crime and most
of the laws regarding "Cybersecurity" didn't exist yet. We started off
because our girlfriends and wives (yes, some of us were that old) hated
having all that technology littering our apartments and we all wanted some
place to work.
Women in our organization like Limor Fried (ladyada) and Window Snyder
forged new ground for women in technology and rallied against male-driven
engineering fields to create new opportunities to teach others engineering
and security, for both men and women (and girls and boys.)
If not for our ability to come together and share what we knew, none of us
would have had Internet access or the chance to learn and work on Unix,
which back then was extremely difficult to do (we had to cobble together
Sun Sparcstations and Vax machines from junk). Even Slackware was in it's
mere nascent phase of development and Linux was very, very unstable. These
experiences, building these machines, built careers for people.
What we did back then was more than likely illegal, and we had to work
together to get access to technology. Our small group of people went on to
do great things, from speaking in front of congress, to breaking RSA's
SecurID, and forming great companies like @stake and VeraCode. All because
we worked together on shared interests.
What I do have to say is that the actions of some of the people on this
list saddens me, and I am just responding to what I see here on the list.
It keeps me from becoming an active member of Noisebridge. It keeps me from
getting on my bicycle, riding to the mission and sharing what I know (and
learning new things from) all of you because my perception of the actions
of a few make it sound like a wonderful hackerspace has become overrun with
drama and madness.
It keeps me from donating money and certainly keeps me from helping out.
You've got a permissive society here, perhaps too permissive to permit
great things to happen.
Cut it out. Convince me I'm wrong. I think all of you are smart enough to
work through this and to realize the value in the resource that you have
worked so hard to create and the insanity in allowing this to continue
along the path you've chosen.
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