What is Hacker?

By Xah Lee. Date:

Xah Lee wrote:

(i despise hacker culture, where these “hackers” idiotic-namesake prefer to go by “handles” or abbrevs (For example, “RMS”, “ESR”, “JWZ”) or whatnot insider-fashion faak. But that's just me.)

Pascal J Bourguignon [p…@informatimago.com] wrote:

If you despite hacker culture why do you stick with us all the time? Are you masochist?

Shut down you computer and go meet other people with another culture!

There is a substantial number of programers in this world, who truely enjoy programing, and all sorts of computing technologies, hardware and or software, digging into their innards. This group of people, some are computer scientists, some pro programers, some amateur programers, very diverse. This is a group i belong to.

Now, in this group of people, there is a sub-group, who share certain styles, personalities, propensities, in their activities or outlook in computing. This group is the “hacker” subculture i refer to.

Note that there is no clear-delineated definition. But roughly: Richard Stallman generation at MIT, people who thrive with {perl, unix, C}, usually fall into this group. It's hard to come up with even a rough definition, but the best i can think of is: those who enjoy the word “hacking” or “hacker”. For example, they like to call a enjoyable programing session as hacking, they refer esteemed peers as “hacker”, they simply enjoy all connotations afforded by that word, but they absolutely hate how journalists or laymen use the word “hack” to mean what they would call “crack”, and often go at lengths to speak against such usage.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the term “hacker”: Hacker (term). Here's a excerpt:

Hacker is a term that has been used to mean a variety of different things in computing. Depending on the context, the term could refer to a person in any one of several distinct (but not completely disjoint) communities and subcultures:

• A community of enthusiast computer programmers and systems designers, originated in the 1960s around the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT's) Tech Model Railroad Club (TMRC) and MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. This community is notable for launching the free software movement. The World Wide Web and the Internet itself are also hacker artifacts. The Request for Comments RFC 1392 amplifies this meaning as "[a] person who delights in having an intimate understanding of the internal workings of a system, computers and computer networks in particular." See Hacker (programmer subculture).

• The hobbyist home computing community, focusing on hardware in the late 1970s (For example, the Homebrew Computer Club) and on software (computer games, software cracking, the demoscene) in the 1980s/1990s. The community included Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Bill Gates and created the personalcomputing industry. See Hacker (hobbyist).

• People committed to circumvention of computer security. This primarily concerns unauthorized remote computer break-ins via a communication networks such as the Internet (Black hats), but also includes those who debug or fix security problems (White hats), and the morally ambiguous Grey hats. See Hacker (computer security).

Today, mainstream usage of “hacker” mostly refers to computer criminals, due to the mass media usage of the word since the 1980s. …

The first definition is in our context. Wikipedia has a dedicated article on that: Hacker (programmer subculture), which elicits the Jargon File, and also has sections on “Ethics and Principles”, “Artifacts and Customs”.

It is this group of people, i despise. More accurately: i despise their general style and outlook. I despite them. Faak them. FAAK hackers. FAAK their hacking. Faak their mothers. Scumbags.

These hackers, a large percentage of them, also are what i call Tech Geekers. Here are related articles about tech geekers and hackers.


[This is originally posted to comp.lang.lisp newsgroup. groups.google.com]