CSE 40842 is a Computer Science and Engineering elective course at the University of Notre Dame that explores the idea of a "hacker" and the practice of participating in the open source "bazaar". To examine the sociology of hackers, we will read, discuss, and reflect on books such as Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, Hackers & Painters, The Cathedral and the Bazaar, and Just For Fun. Additionally, students will apply the ideas and concepts explored in these books by contributing to different open source projects. Finally, students will develop a project of their own design by employing the open source development methodology.

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Discuss the history and impact of the Hacker Culture and Hacker Ethic on the technology community.

  2. Contribute to open source projects in a productive and efficient manner.

  3. Construct software artifacts in a collaborate group environment.

Class Information

T/TH 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
356A Fitzpatrick Hall
Mailing List (Class)
Planet RSS, Blog List
Project 01, Project 02, Project 03, Project 04


Peter Bui (pbui@nd.edu)
Office Hours
M/W/F 2:00 PM - 4:30 PM, and by appointment
Office Location
350 Fitzpatrick Hall

Help Protocol

  1. Think
  2. Slack
  3. Think
  4. Email
  5. Think
  6. Office
Unit Date Topics Assignment
Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution
True Hackers 01/17 Cambridge: The Fifties and Sixties Slides Slides Reading 00
01/19 Inside a PC, Code Bumming I Slides
Hardware Hackers 01/24 Northern California: The Seventies Slides Reading 01
01/26 Build a PC, Code Bumming II, Raspberry Pis Slides
Game Hackers 01/31 The Sierras: The Eighties Slides Reading 02
02/02 Piracy, Video Games Slides
Project 01 02/07 Hackathon
02/09 Presentations Project 01
Hackers & Painters
Nerds as Hackers 02/14 Why Nerds Are Unpopular, Hackers and Painters, What You Can't Say, Good Bad Attitude Slides Reading 03
02/16 Cloud Computing
Programming Languages 02/21 Beating the Averages, The Hundred-Year Language, Revenge of the Nerds Slides Reading 04
02/23 Programming Languages I
Wealth Creation 02/28 The Other Road Ahead, How To Make Wealth, Mind the Gap Slides Reading 05
03/02 Programming Languages II
Project 02 03/07 Hackathon
03/09 Presentations Project 02
Spring Break
The Cathedral and the Bazaar
History, Manifesto 03/21 A Brief History of Hackerdom, The Cathedral and the Bazaar Slides Reading 06
03/23 Tour of Open Source Projects
Customs, Culture 03/28 Homesteading the Noosphere Slides Reading 07
03/30 Mailing Lists, IRC, Wikis, Patches
Economics, Trends 04/04 The Magic Cauldron, Revenge of the Hackers Reading 08
04/06 Subscriptions, Donations, Sponsorships, Bounties
Project 03 04/11 Hackathon
04/13 Presentations Project 03
Just for Fun
Birth of a Nerd / OS 04/18 Birth of a Nerd, Birth of an Operating System Slides Reading 09
04/20 Linux Distribution Slides
Linux Revolution 04/25 King of the Ball Slides Reading 10
04/27 Packaging, Live Images
BDFL's Thoughts 05/02 Intellectual Property, An End to Control, The Amusement Ride Ahead, Why Open Source Matters, Fame and Fortune, The Meaning of Life II Reading 11
Project 04 05/08 Presentations Project 04


Component Points
Readings Weekly reading assignments and corresponding writing prompts. 12 × 5
Projects Periodic group projects. 4 × 45
Participation Regular class attendation and contribution to course community. 60
Total 300


Grade Points Grade Points Grade Points
A 280-300 A- 270-279
B+ 260-269 B 250-259 B- 240-249
C+ 230-239 C 220-229 C- 210-219
D 180-209 F 0-179


All Readings are due at midnight at the end of the week they are assigned in the schedule above (ie. Friday→ Saturday).

All Projects are due at midnight on the night assigned in the schedule above (ie. Thursday → Friday).



Students are expected to attend and contribute regularly in class. This means answering questions in class, participating in discussions, and helping other students.

Foreseeable absences should be discussed with the instructor ahead of time.


All responses to the Readings should be posted to each student's individual blog. Choice of blog platform is up to each student, but the student must provide a valid RSS or ATOM feed to their blog at the beginning of the semester for easy syndication and monitoring.

Late Work

In the case of a serious illness or other excused absence, as defined by university policies, coursework submissions will be accepted late by the same number of days as the excused absence.

Otherwise, there is a penalty of 25% per day late (except where noted). You may submit some parts of an assignment on time and some parts late. Each submission must clearly state which parts it contains; no part can be submitted more than once.

Honor Code

All work that you submit must be your own. Collaboration is encouraged but must be disclosed by all parties. Print or online resources are allowed, but must be disclosed. However, you may not look at solutions from other current or past students, or any other source.

Students with Disabilities

Any student who has a documented disability and is registered with Disability Services should speak with the professor as soon as possible regarding accommodations. Students who are not registered should contact the Office of Disabilities.

We will be reading the following books this semester:

Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution

Steven Levy

Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age

Paul Graham Online Compilation

The Cathedral & the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary

Eric Raymond Online Compilation

Just For Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary

Linus Torvalds and David Diamond Online Version

Online Texts

All books besides Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution can be found legally online. Those resources are linked above.