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Descrições em inglês

Hackerspaces: an opportunity for the free knowledge on hardware and software

Hackerspaces are community spaces where people interested in developing software and hardware have access to infrastructure to enable their personal projects. Most of the equipment used for hardware design are expensive and, therefore, their access is often restricted. For this reason, hackerspaces serve as a space for democratizing access to technology and enabler of opportunities for technological development that hitherto could only be found in academic settings and in large research laboratories.

Often organized into a structure similar to a club, hackerspaces have independent source of funding in order to ensure that the use of infrastructure is free of formalities, bureaucracy or conflicts of interest.

For the free software movement, the hackerspaces are potentially an opportunity to strengthen local communities through the organization of workshops, install fests, lectures and events in general. By providing a space for social interaction among hackers, hackerspaces sprints can also facilitate development and documentation, exchange of experience between developers and mentoring novices and gurus in free software projects.

Moreover, the hacker ethic that underlies the operation hackerspaces is quite compatible with the ideals of collaboration, freedom of knowledge and autonomy of computer users that guide the free software community. No wonder that several open hardware projects, such as 3D printers, have been created initially in hackerspaces.

Throughout the last couple years, the hackerspace scene has emerged in Brazil, initially with Garoa Hacker Clube, and now counting another 2 active organizations and a few others in the process of incubation. The process is similar in other countries of Latin America.