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    I thought that all hackathons are about free software, no?

    ;^)

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      I did a small study of hackathons a couple of years ago and found there are about 10 distinct properties of hackathons of which the ownership or licensing of any work is only one. ‘hackathon’ is a broadly used word, and there is absolutely no sense in forcing anyone of those properties to a particular value any more than you would for any other arbitrary organisational form.

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        Hackathons, at least the US ones that happen in universities, are the opposite of free software. So many of them are ran by for profit companies and sponsored by corporations such that you are more likely to win by using their APIs (e.g. MongoDB is a sponsor so use MongoDB to win!). Couldn’t attend more than two, to be honest.

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          It’s the standard corporatisation of a subculture. They figured out how to monetise a bunch of ‘hackers’ getting together to hack and experiment. Needless to say this trend will crowd out the original hackers with the newer more virtue-signalling ‘hackers’ whose primary reason to go there is not the joy of finding a solution to an interesting problem but to advertise themselves as super-coders so they will get hired.

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            They figured out how to monetise a bunch of ‘hackers’ getting together to hack and experiment.

            You also just described the big, tech companies. I mean, they pay a lot of money but also have that factor of being “cool” or “wide impact.” In reality, they’re getting paid well to subvert or eliminate much of the market for the kind of tech hackers really want. Usually increasing surveillance state’s power, too.

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              It’s the standard corporatisation of a subculture. They figured out how to monetise a bunch of ‘hackers’ getting together to hack and experiment

              This, 100%

              Needless to say this trend will crowd out the original hackers with the newer more virtue-signalling ‘hackers’ whose primary reason to go there is not the joy of finding a solution to an interesting problem but to advertise themselves as super-coders so they will get hired.

              The original hackers who leave will do so because they’ve been bitten by it before; the ones who stay will be the ones who haven’t learned the hard way yet.

              Plenty of people who love solving interesting problems will show up, because there’s always a new batch of idealistic programmers.