Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }

Listen closely and you can hear it: the gentle sound of millions of folks nervously scratching their heads wondering just what the heck is going on with the open-source, or “free” software that has suddenly gotten so much attention (see “Programs to the People,” TR January/February 1999). There’s no better source of information, rumor and opinion on this phenomenon than Slashdot, which titles itself: “News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters.” The creation of 22-year-old Rob Malda- whose nom de Web is “Commander Taco” - Slashdot feels like a geek clubhouse. Malda and others post articles on topics ranging from “the personalities behind Linux” to an essay predicting the arrival of “sexbots” that never have headaches.

The creation of 22-year-old Rob Malda-whose nom de Web is “Commander Taco”-Slashdot feels like a geek clubhouse.Malda and others post articles on topics ranging from “the personalities behind Linux” to an essay predicting the arrival of “sexbots” that never have headaches.

Anti-Microsoft sentiment permeates the site; these people know their code and they’re offended by what many perceive to be bloated, inefficient software.The “Ask Slashdot”part of the site ranges beyond programming, as knowledgeable participants weigh in on quirky questions like,”What is the bandwidth of a nerve?”(Answer: Well, it depends on what you mean by “bandwidth”and “nerve.”)

This is one of those virtual communities you hear so much about. Articles generate a torrent of (mostly) well-informed commentary, much of it signed by “Anonymous Coward”-the epithet Slashdot assigns to contributors unwilling to reveal their names. In one persistent thread, commentators proudly quantify what they call the “Slashdot Effect”: the spike in the hit count experienced by Web pages that Slashdot links to. Look to this site as your technical and cultural guide to a powerful movement that is starting to emerge from the computer underground.

0 comments about this story. Start the discussion »

Tagged: Computing

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me