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Coding Freedom by E. Gabriella Coleman

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CHAPTER 2

A Tale of Two Legal Regimes

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; [ … ] it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.

—Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

In 1981, journalist Tracy Kidder published The Soul of a New Machine, which earned a Pulitzer Prize for its incisive commentary on the heightened commercial turn in computing during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The book ends pessimistically with a programmer lamenting how managers at large computer firms robbed the “soul” of computing ...

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