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Open Source as Liberal Art

Emerging Topics
Location: Portland 255 Level: Novice
Average rating: ****.
(4.79, 14 ratings)

Following Pericles in ancient Athens, Xenophon and Aristotle explicitly separated techne from praxis. Techne, the art of making things, was associated with lower status. Praxis, the art of leadership — government, military, and agricultural — was associated with higher status. This distinction reverberated through the ages, shaping Western civilization to the present day.

Practitioners of the software arts, labeled as “engineers,” and held back by the ruling management elites, rebelled, and strove to establish a new world order — restoring software development to its rightfully high-status place — as praxis, not techne.

This rebellion became known as the open source revolution. This is a retelling of that epic.

Photo of r0ml Lefkowitz

r0ml Lefkowitz


Robert (a/k/a r0ml) Lefkowitz is a vice president of information technology at Asurion, where he is responsible for the data warehouse, content management, and the Deli. He previously held a similar role at AT&T Wireless.

OSCON 2008