Science Guest of Honor
Ever since he was a little kid, Eric Raymond wanted to be a Heinlein character when he grew up, and he's well on his way. He has yet to butcher a hog or conn a starship, but he plays a mean jazz flute, passable folk guitar, and hand drums (though not all at the same time). He's a deadly shot with a Colt .45, a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and has done some SCA heavy weapons fighting. He has also been know to conjure up a tasty stir-fry.
In his copious free time, Eric programs and lectures on the joys of open source software (though not at the same time). He lives in a red brick ranch house with Cathy, his lawyer wife, Sugar, the world's most civilized cat, and as many books as they can fit through the doors.
Bio by Cathy Raymond
Eric S. Raymond is an observer-participant anthropologist in the Internet hacker culture. His research has helped explain the decentralized open-source model of software development that has proven so effective in the evolution of the Internet. His own software projects include one of the Internet's most widely-used email transport programs.
Here are some excerpts from his writing:
1. WHATEVER BECAME OF "CIVIL RIGHTS"? Written 1990
"What happened to the civil rights movement? "That's a question that often preoccupies me these days when I have time to think about politics. I remember, many years ago, being thrilled at the story of Rosa Parks, the brave black woman who decided she wasn't going to be shuffled to the back of the bus anymore. I was too young to hear or understand Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech when it happened, but I heard the recordings, after he'd died at an assassin's hand, and knew I was hearing a voice of moral force nearly without equal in our century."
2. WHATEVER BECAME OF "CIVIL RIGHTS"?
"I spent a good chunk of last Memorial Day weekend playing conga drums with a multiracial group. I wore a dashiki under my blue eyes and the black woman playing across from me sported a polo shirt right out of some preppie catalog and no one there thought either the least bit odd. Black, white, yellow...didn't matter. Africa's wild thundering rhythms beat through all of us and the people around clapped and danced and yelled for joy. I think Dr. King would have approved. That's the world I want to live in. I hope we can find our way to it someday."
3. DANCING WITH THE GODS Written 1995
"Religions are, mostly, the rotting corpses of dead mystical schools. They're founded by people who have primary mystical experiences or theophanies and (for whatever reason) do not interpret the content of these experiences into the terms of the religious traditions available around them. These primary mystics recruit disciples and attempt to teach them how to replicate their theophany."
4. CONVENTIONS AT LIGHT SPEED: WHAT HACKERS CAN LEARN FROM SF FANDOM Written 1998
"Science-fiction fans have developed an excellent toolkit of techniques for running effective conventions and shows on a shoestring budget with all-volunteer staff."
1. THE NEW HACKER'S DICTIONARY 1996
"Hackers" versus "Crackers" "hacker: (1) A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and how to stretch their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary. (2) One who...enjoys programming rather than just theorizing about programming. VERSUS (8) A malicious meddler who tries to discover sensitive information by poking around...The correct term for this sense is *cracker*."
2. THE VARIETIES OF HACKER IDEOLOGY April 1998
"To pragmatists, the GPL (General Public License) is important as a tool rather than an end in itself. Its main value is not as a weapon 1;2cagainst `hoarding', but as a tool for encouraging software sharing and the growth of the 'bazaar-mode' (italics per author) development communities."
3. THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING USERS August 1999
"If you have the right attitude, interesting problems will find you." 4. SHUT UP AND SHOW THEM THE CODE July 1999 "RMS's best propaganda has always been his hacking. So it for all of us; to the rest of the world outside our little tribe, the excellence of our software is a *far* more persuasive argument for openness and freedom than any amount of highfalutin appeal to abstract principles. So the next time RMS, or anybody else, urges you to "talk about freedom", I urge you to reply, "Shut up and show them the code."