[LINK] Fwd: A.Word.A.Day--hacker
Mon, 11 Sep 00 16:18:57 +1100
from Anu Garg's A Word A Day Mailing list - a handy definition of
hacker for forwarding to those who misuse the term.
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Date: 11/09 3:03 PM
Received: 11/09 3:30 PM
From: Wordsmith, firstname.lastname@example.org
hacker (HACK-uhr) noun
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 about 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
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.
[Originally, someone who makes furniture with an axe.]
"When Emmanuel Goldstein, who runs a hacker magazine called 2600,
Johanssen's software on a website, eight media companies (including
Warner, parent company of TIME) sued Goldstein ...."
Lev Grossman, Digital Divisiveness, Time, Aug 28, 2000.
With the growing popularity of computers, the spread of the Internet and
and the success of Linux, terms from hacker jargon are increasingly going
mainstream, though not always in the correct perspective.
The New Hacker's Dictionary is a fascinating compendium of words from the
worlds of computing, computer networks, and the people who inhabit them.
Last week's citation of Murphy's Law brought enthusiastic responses with
requests for more examples from this book which is available at
This week we have terms from this lexicon that give us glimpses of the
culture. Enjoy this geek-week and remember - hackers, though often
are good guys, they are not crackers.
It is not enough to have a good mind. The main thing is to use it well.
Descartes, "Le Discours de la Methode," 1637
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