Paul Graham

Author of Hackers and Painters

OSCON 2005
32 minutes, 15mb, recorded 2005-08-02
Paul Graham
Paul Graham, popular author and Lisp programmer, discusses what business can learn from open source. According to him, it's not about Linux or Firefox, but the forces that produced them. He delves into the reasons why open source is able to produce better software, why traditional workplaces are actually harmful to productivity and the reason why professionalism is overrated.

Paul takes blogging as an analogy and explains how the phenomenon is actually very similar to the open source movement. Both show that amateurs often surpass professionals in what they choose to do, because they love what they are doing. He also points out that in the age of the internet, which has made collaboration extremely easy, large corporations find it difficult to compete with software produced by a bunch of inspired hackers. Paul also takes a dig at workplaces as we know them and illustrates how the most productive phase of any company is when it is still a startup.

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Paul Graham is the author of On Lisp, Ansi Common Lisp, and Hackers & Painters; was co-founder of Viaweb (now Yahoo Store); discovered a simple Bayesian spam filter that inspired many present filters; and is one of the partners in Y Combinator. He has a PhD in computer science from Harvard and studied painting at RISD and the Accademia in Florence.


This program is from the O'Reilly Open Source Convention held in Portland, Oregon August 1-5, 2005.

For Team ITC:

  • Description editor: Thejo Kote
  • Post-production audio engineer: Bruce Sharpe
  • Series producer: Darusha Wehm

This free podcast is from our Open Source Conference series.