=-What Is A Hacker?-=

Port7Alliance Thoughts On What a Hacker is...


=-Definitions Derived From The Hacker Jargon File-=

    :hacker: n. [originally, someone who makes furniture with an axe] 1. A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and how to stretch their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary. 2. One who programs enthusiastically (even obsessively) or who enjoys programming rather than just theorizing bout programming. 3. A person capable of appreciating {hack value}. 4. A person who is good at programming quickly. 5. An expert at a particular program, or one who frequently does work using it or on it; as in `a Unix hacker'. (Definitions 1 through 5 are correlated, and people who fit them congregate.) 6. An expert or enthusiast of any kind. One might be an astronomy hacker, for example. 7. One who enjoys the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming or circumventing limitations. 8. [deprecated] A malicious meddler who tries to discover sensitive information by poking around. Hence `password hacker', `network hacker'. The correct term for this sense is {cracker}.

    The term `hacker' also tends to connote membership in the global community defined by the net (see {the network} and {Internet address}). For discussion of some of the basics of this culture, see the How To Become A Hacker (http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/faqs/hacker-howto.html) FAQ. It also implies that the person described is seen to subscribe to some version of the hacker ethic (see {hacker ethic}).

    It is better to be described as a hacker by others than to describe oneself that way. Hackers consider themselves something of an elite (a meritocracy based on ability), though one to which new members are gladly welcome. There is thus a certain ego satisfaction to be had in identifying yourself as a hacker (but if you claim to be one and are not, you'll quickly be labeled {bogus}). See also {geek}, {wannabee}.

    This term seems to have been first adopted as a badge in the 1960s by the hacker culture surrounding TMRC and the MIT AI Lab. We have a report that it was used in a sense close to this entry's by teenage radio hams and electronics tinkerers in the mid-1950s.

    :hacker ethic: n. 1. The belief that information-sharing is a powerful positive good, and that it is an ethical duty of hackers to share their expertise by writing open-source code and facilitating access to information and to computing resources wherever possible. 2. The belief that system-cracking for fun and exploration is ethically OK as long as the cracker commits no theft, vandalism, or breach of confidentiality.

    Both of these normative ethical principles are widely, but by no means universally, accepted among hackers. Most hackers subscribe to the hacker ethic in sense 1, and many act on it by writing and giving away open-source software. A few go further and assert that _all_ information should be free and _any_ proprietary control of it is bad; this is the philosophy behind the {GNU} project.

    Sense 2 is more controversial: some people consider the act of cracking itself to be unethical, like breaking and entering. But the belief that `ethical' cracking excludes destruction at least moderates the behavior of people who see themselves as `benign' crackers (see also {samurai}, {gray hat}). On this view, it may be one of the highest forms of hackerly courtesy to (a) break into a system, and then (b) explain to the sysop, preferably by email from a {superuser} account, exactly how it was done and how the hole can be plugged -- acting as an unpaid (and unsolicited) {tiger team}.

    The most reliable manifestation of either version of the hacker ethic is that almost all hackers are actively willing to share technical tricks, software, and (where possible) computing resources with other hackers. Huge cooperative networks such as {Usenet}, {FidoNet} and the Internet itself can function without central control because of this trait; they both rely on and reinforce a sense of community that may be hackerdom's most valuable intangible asset.



    Most people believe that a hacker is a techno punk who's life mission is to destroy computers, steal credit cards, and write viruses. but the truth is true hackers don't do any of this. Just because a person can do something does not mean that they should. The group of people that actually destroy computers are called crackers not hackers. A true hacker is best described in the txt. file "The Ethics of Hacking" by Dissident. This txt file said...

    "True hackers are intelligent, they have to be. Either they do really great in school because they have nothing better to do, or they don't do so good because school is terribly boring. And the ones who are bored aren't that way because they don't give a crap about learning anything. A true hacker wants to know everything. They're bored because schools teach the same dull things over and over and over, nothing new, nothing challenging. True hackers are curious and patient. If you aren't, how can you work so very hard hacking away at a single system for even one small PEEK at what may be on it?"

    And Hackers exist without skin color, without nationality, and without religion. So to call all hackers criminals, you'll have to say that all whites are racists and all Muslims are terrorists. Anyone can be a hacker, so people cannot call all hackers criminals because of what one cracker did. A hacker seeks only knowledge. Knowledge of himself and knowledge of the world not someone's credit card.

--- For further knowledge on the subject of hackers you must read  The Conscience of a Hacker
--- Also read some of the beginner text files here