What exactly is a Hacker?


After getting repeated e-mails from people asking me to code software-cracks and viruses, and Facebook messages e.g

Hi! I am “insert name of idiot”, do you really know HACKING!?? Can you teach me how to hack someone’s Facebook or email account?

Damn you! It’s hackers like you who are ruining the world and making the internet a dangerous place!!

Hey! You’re a hacker? Wow, I sure hope you don’t hack my PC.

Therefore, I think it is necessary to clarify what exactly is a hacker. So that idiots don’t send these messages to me. OK, here are some quotes…

The term hacking has a bad reputation in the press. They use it to refer to people who break into systems or wreak havoc with computers as their weapon. Among people who write code, though, the term hack refers to a quick-and-dirty solution to a problem, or a clever way to get something done. And the term hacker is taken very much as a compliment, referring to someone as being creative, having the technical chops to get things done.
~Swing Hacks – Chris Adamson and Joshua Marinacci

“A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and stretching their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary.”
~Jargon File

Therefore as you can see, the term hacker is used for a skilled and creative Software Developer, who knows all the tricks of the trade and can do extra-ordinary things with programmable systems. In fact, hackers are great people. The Kernel and boot-loader of your Operating-System was written by hackers. Many awesome games were made by hackers. Many programming languages were created by hackers, and the list goes on. Read the book, Hackers, Heroes of the Computer Revolution to know about all the good stuff hackers did. And for God’s sake, stop asking for Software-Cracks!

3 comments

  1. The original definition of hacking is to use something in a way it has not been intended. So this happens often in code, but also hacking one of your books to stabilize that wobbly table :)

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