The Hacker Dojo, open since 2009 in Mountain View, is a hackerspace where local computer programmers can go to work on independent projects, create new codes, socialize and discuss ways and methods with others.
The Hacker Dojo was originally based off the idea of other hackerspaces before it, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Tech Model Railroad Club (TMRC), where people such as the late Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniack would go to work on making computers.
One of the co-founders, David Weekly, used to hold hacker parties with his friends and overtime, they grew to be so popular that 400 people would start showing up at a time. Out of this, Weekly came up with the idea to create an area where activities such as hack-a-thons can happen all in one place. And thus, the Hacker Dojo was born.
“The dojo was founded to give hobbyists and technologists in the Bay Area a place to go 24/7 so that they can get together to do things with technology and study [from others],” stated Brian Klug, another co-founder of the Hacker Dojo.
Member Larry Maloney emphasized on the definition of the word “hacker” when discussing the name of the hackerspace.
“It’s not like the media [where] it would have you believe that a hacker is someone who breaks into networks or computers. That would be a black hat or a cracker,” he explained. “The true definition of a hacker is someone who takes something apart and puts it back together.”
As for the word “dojo” in the title, which means “school” in Japanese, it emphasizes on how it’s a place where one can learn and train with one another as well.
The Hacker Dojo currently has a total of about 300 members with 20 to 30 percent of them being volunteers. Everything that’s found in the facility, from the computers to the books, from the bean bag chairs to the pool table, is donated by its own members.
In addition, some of the members have “graduated” from the hackerspace and started their own companies.
Being both a place of work and socializing, activities are held all the time for its members. Aside from its usual Hacker Dojo Happy Hours on Friday nights, classes are also held there as well, such as programming language classes, machine learning classes and even yoga classes on the weekends.
The response from the community of Mountain View has been very positive. According to Maloney, the mayor and city council of Mountain View are glad that they are there and are much appreciated.
“[The Hacker Dojo] is beneficial to humanity and our community and there is really nothing negative about it, otherwise it wouldn’t really be here,” he said.
The Hacker Dojo is always looking for new people to join their community.
“Everyone is welcome to come visit the dojo and that they can try it out for free and see if they like it,” Maloney explained. “If they like it and want to continue coming, they’re welcome to become members.”
This entry was published in The Pioneer Online on Monday, December 12th, 2011 at 3:42 pm.