Hacking: A Disobedient Act That Drives Change

[Adam Dachis] published an essay a couple of days ago called Why We Hack. In it he discusses the outlook that hacking, on all of its various levels, is a simple form of disobedience. We have to agree with him. Manufacturers would like you to think that voiding the warranty is as good as smashing the product to bits. But we all know that if you can’t crack it open you don’t really own it. [Adam] says we can sit around and complain about it, or we can do better. So crack it open, dump the firmware, and make it do your bidding.

If you haven’t already seen it, you should also go back and watch [Corey Doctorow’s] keynote address from Toorcon 8. He discusses freedom of information and hits especially hard on End User License Agreements (EULA) and the ills they cause. We’ve never seen someone hit the target quite as well as he does in this fantastic speech.

16 thoughts on “Hacking: A Disobedient Act That Drives Change

  1. @Tomasito

    I came to the comments to post the exact same thing. Seriously HAD writers, if you’re only writing one or two paragraphs about a link, PROOF READ IT. It literally takes a minute to read over and if you can’t catch stupid typos like this that’s just unacceptable.

  2. Why do I hack? because no corporation can make the things I want.

    I want my media center to be DRM free and play all video formats… GoogleTV=fail AppleTV=Fail Windows Media Center =Fail

    I want a router that uses a real OS that is a honest price.

    Cisco = Fail. Nokia=Fail.

    Ad Nauseous.. I want stuff that was built like it was in the 60’s and 70’s. WEll designed for the consumer, with schematics and nothing to block me. Hell my dad’s radio from 1976 opened easily to get to the circuit boards..

    Make stuff that is open, not this closed low grade crap they shovel at us.

    Robots? gotta make em because companies wont.. The Rovio is a perfect example of utter FAIL.

    And yes, I do want a doorbell that fires marshmallows at you if you are wearing a hoodie. Dang emo kids, hood off when you come to my house.

  3. I will have to disagree — A hack may also be an act of disobedience, but first and foremost, a hack is a way to extend the function of a technology — from silly (musical printers) to serious (blood oxygen sensor) hacking is invention. If your main reason for hacking is disobedience… go hold a cardboard sign at a rally somewhere. On the other hand, if you want to build cool stuff and explore technological possibilities — come over to my shop.

  4. @Olestra

    I agree. I have noticed that some people who hack/make things are going out of their way to make it seem like some kind of fight against the man. I love tech because I do. I love to alter things because well I can and its fun. But I never thought of it as some kind of disobedience act. Thats why I feel like I could never go to a hacker space or to one of those make fairs. I would not be accepted because I am not taking down the man (which I have heard people say in interviews).

    I think that to do anything now days you need some political or social reason. Why can it not be just for the hell of it.

  5. @Olestra – I agree whole heartedly.

    @lobster – I only have experience with one hacker space, but taking down the man has never been a priority. Things are taken apart because it is fun or simply because it is there to be taken apart.

    I assume that when I see people in interviews talking about taking down that man that they are just trying and in part failing to communicate to a larger audience what the impact of their hackerspace is on the rest of society.

    In short, lobster, you should check out a hackerspace and see what your local one is like first hand.

  6. @fluidic

    I’m sorry, when have I ever written a HAD article? I am allowed to make mistakes in my comments, especially when it is an extremely nitpicky mistake (in which the meaning was clear and didn’t require that you waste your time re-reading the sentence) that you never would have cared to mention if I wasn’t criticizing the terrible writing skills of the average HAD submitter.

  7. @Davorak

    I hear you about that. The main thing I find odd is mainly on the site for make magazine (which I have every volume of make) that it slowly went from lets learn to a more political movement. I mainly see this on that site.

    Thats why I like Hack a Day. Its about the hacks. I do want things to be easily understood and modified such as radios back in the day and I do see some places doing that. I would think the Linksys/Cisco routers that let you put your own firmware on and people putting com ports and webcams on it is a sign of how things have gotten better.

  8. Hacking is a form of “civil disobedience”?

    Come on. Why do we have to politicize or give some grand sociological significance to every effing little thing we do?

    Maybe some of us just like making stuff. Sheesh.

  9. Maybe hacking government webservers or writing politically targeted viruses would be a form of civil disobedience but I fail to see how blinking an LED with twenty arduinos is sticking it to the man in any way.

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