Yuri Takhteyev's Coding Places is an ethnographic study of software development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As such, it offers a welcome and necessary counterpoint to Gabriella Coleman's Coding Freedom, which examines the culture of free software and open source hackers, primarily in the United States. Coleman's work is an excellent look into the moral world of free software and the pleasures of coding that motivate it. While free software is a critique of the dominant intellectual property regime of the West, it itself stems from and reinterprets a liberal ethics, one which focuses on free speech and individual creative expression.

Coleman's book focuses on the ethical and affective dimensions of being a “hacker,” a programmer devoted to producing “free software.” On the ethical side, by “free,” hackers mean “free as in speech,” not merely free of monetary cost, “as...

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