Open to Grok. How do Hackers’ Practices Produce Hackers?
How do hackers’ practices produce hackers’ identities? In this paper we argue that the association between science fiction and software programs is rooted in hackers’ practices, defining how hackers’ knowledge’ emerge. The mediation is the one of the Heinlein verb “to grok”, part of the Jargon file and of the name of a code browser, OpenGrok, the technology mediating the relationship between OpenSolaris developers and the code base. Starting with a description of the peculiarity of the verb “to grok”, and its connection with a non-Cartesian view of knowledge, we discuss how the history of OpenGrok and its use by developers make this knowledge part of hackers’ practices and identities, as someone involved in a true, deep understanding of software.