Hacker. A definition.

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e...@ihuxr.uucp

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Jan 24, 1984, 9:06:22 AM1/24/84
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To: ihnp4!harpo!seismo!rochester!jss
Subject: Re: Hacker. A definition.
References: <45...@rochester.UUCP>

Something that is illegal as hacking is ought to be slandered.
If you think hacking is something decent, you need some legal
advice as to what is right and wrong. How would you like it
if some computer break in artist (hacker) messed up all your
files or added $10K to your phone bill! Hackers are criminals
just like cat burglars so don't give me any of that stuff that
says your not really hurting anyone.

a...@ihuxq.uucp

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Jan 24, 1984, 9:24:54 AM1/24/84
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I've always thought that "hacker" was a negative term. Something like calling
a surgeon a "butcher". A "hack" is an ugly cough (smoker's hack). A "hack" is
a slovenly chauffeur (cabbie). A "hack" is an untalented author (hack writer
for a cheap paperback house). To "hack" wood is very different from whittling
it or carving it or sawing it. A machete "hacks" through the forest, leaving
a ragged trail.

My Webster's New Collegiate shows "hack" derived from "hoc", Old English for
hook. The principal definitions from a series of entries are:

(vb) to cut with repeated irregular or unskillful blows;
(n) an implement for hacking;
(n) (from hackney) a horse let out for common hire;
(later: a horse worn out in service);
(adj) working for hire especially with loose or easy professional standards;
(vt) to make trite and commonplace by frequent and indiscriminate use.

Not a label I would use on myself, except in a confessional.
-andy ("Bless me, father, for I have hacked") kegel

wy...@ihuxq.uucp

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Jan 24, 1984, 10:57:01 AM1/24/84
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I hate to rehash, but hacker did not mean someone who breaks into computer
systems until the press, in its infinite wisdom :-), misused the word to
mean that.

Neal Wyse
ihnp4!ihuxq!wyse

j...@ut-sally.uucp

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Jan 24, 1984, 1:01:24 PM1/24/84
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Seeing as there's no copyright on it, I think I'll start posting this
everytime somebody admits in net.general or net.followup that they
don't know any definition for hacker but the one the media have tried
to hang on it in the wake of the recent publicity about computer breakins
or something they've dredged up from a random dictionary.

The jargon file maintained at Stanford and MIT for many years via the
ARPANET contains the following definitions. Note that the media use of
hacker corresponds only to the "password hacker" of definition 6 of
HACKER below, and that that definition is explicitly excluded
from the correlation of the other five definitions.

HACK n. 1. Originally a quick job that produces what is needed, but
not well. 2. The result of that job. 3. NEAT HACK: A clever
technique. Also, a brilliant practical joke, where neatness is
correlated with cleverness, harmlessness, and surprise value.
Example: the Caltech Rose Bowl card display switch circa 1961.
4. REAL HACK: A crock (occasionally affectionate).
v. 5. With "together", to throw something together so it will work.
6. To bear emotionally or physically. "I can't hack this heat!" 7.
To work on something (typically a program). In specific sense:
"What are you doing?" "I'm hacking TECO." In general sense: "What
do you do around here?" "I hack TECO." (The former is
time-immediate, the latter time-extended.) More generally, "I hack
x" is roughly equivalent to "x is my bag". "I hack solid-state
physics." 8. To pull a prank on. See definition 3 and HACKER (def
#6). 9. v.i. To waste time (as opposed to TOOL). "Watcha up to?"
"Oh, just hacking." 10. HACK UP (ON): To hack, but generally
implies that the result is meanings 1-2. 11. HACK VALUE: Term used
as the reason or motivation for expending effort toward a seemingly
useless goal, the point being that the accomplished goal is a hack.
For example, MacLISP has code to read and print roman numerals,
which was installed purely for hack value.
HAPPY HACKING: A farewell. HOW'S HACKING?: A friendly greeting
among hackers. HACK HACK: A somewhat pointless but friendly
comment, often used as a temporary farewell.
[The word HACK doesn't really have 69 different meanings. In fact,
HACK has only one meaning, an extremely subtle and profound one
which defies articulation. Which connotation a given HACK-token
has depends in similarly profound ways on the context. Similar
comments apply to a couple other hacker jargon items, most notably
RANDOM. - Agre]

HACKER [originally, someone who makes furniture with an axe] n. 1. A
person who enjoys learning the details of programming 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, or who enjoys programming rather than just
theorizing about programming. 3. A person capable of appreciating
hack value (q.v.). 4. A person who is good at programming quickly.
Not everything a hacker produces is a hack. 5. An expert at a
particular program, or one who frequently does work using it or on
it; example: "A SAIL hacker". (Definitions 1 to 5 are correlated,
and people who fit them congregate.) 6. A malicious or inquisitive
meddler who tries to discover information by poking around. Hence
"password hacker", "network hacker".
--
John Quarterman, CS Dept., University of Texas, Austin, Texas
j...@ut-sally.ARPA, j...@ut-sally.UUCP, {ihnp4,seismo,ctvax}!ut-sally!jsq

James Bray

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Jan 24, 1984, 11:06:41 PM1/24/84
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I will reiterate: we hackers will still be hacking long after the word
has dropped from the Great Mindless Time-and-Newsweek ("Read Time and
Understand") tribe's vocabulary's rather limited working-set.

Guy Harris

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Jan 25, 1984, 2:39:05 PM1/25/84
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The complaint the author of the original article was making was that the term
"hacking", which has in the past referred to, well, frenetic late-night
*legitimate* software development (or, at worst, game software development)
has been redefined by the media to mean breaking into computers. So he was
not saying that breaking into computers was legitimate; he was saying that
referring to breaking into computers as "hacking" was illegitimate.

Guy Harris
{seismo,ihnp4,allegra}!rlgvax!guy

s...@u1100a.uucp

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Jan 25, 1984, 5:09:41 PM1/25/84
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I have lately seen the term "hacking" used in a way not previously referred
to by articles I've seen on the net.
I was reading an article in New Jersey Outdoors (yes, Virginia, there is
such a mag) about the work done to re-establish eagles. Eggs are taken from
the nests in the wild and the eggs are incubated in a shelter. The
re-introduction of the hatchlings into the wild is called "hacking".

Steve Radtke
CSO at Piscataway
{houxm|ihnp4|pyux*}!u1100a!sr

k...@ihuxq.uucp

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Jan 29, 1984, 12:13:02 PM1/29/84
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----
hacker /hak' er/ n. 1: Someone who keeps this ridiculous discussion
going months after it ceased to be interesting. 2: ENOUGH ALREADY!!
--
*** ***
JE MAINTIENDRAI ***** *****
****** ****** 29 Jan 84 [9 Pluviose An CXCII]
ken perlow ***** *****
(312)979-7261 ** ** ** **
..ihnp4!ihuxq!ken *** ***

Ed Sznyter

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Jan 29, 1984, 5:00:32 PM1/29/84
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> From: e...@ihuxr.UUCP (Gene Foster)

> Subject: Re: Hacker. A definition.
>
> Something that is illegal as hacking is ought to be slandered.
> If you think hacking is something decent, you need some legal
> advice as to what is right and wrong. How would you like it
> if some computer break in artist (hacker) messed up all your
> files or added $10K to your phone bill! Hackers are criminals
> just like cat burglars so don't give me any of that stuff that
> says your not really hurting anyone.

O.K., I can ignore the unparsable first sentence. I can even tolerate
the blatant misuse of the word "hacker". But let's get something straight
about the words "moral" and "legal".

My dictionary (Websters New Collegiate) defines moral as
... of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior ...
... sanctioned by or operative on one's conscience or ethical
judgment ...

and defines legal as
... conforming to or permitted by law or established rules ...

Now, are you suggesting that one's sense of right and wrong is determined
by the law? Such naivety is so refreshing in these cynical times! Would
that everyone subscribed to that point of view -- but what would become of
net.women and net.auto. No more abortion discussions. No more 55 MPH
tirades by owners of Cadilacs(?) who don't use seat belts. Why, we could
legislate morality itself, if only more people were willing to let Congress
think for them.

Ed Sznyter
President
Society For Moral Values of Pi

Dave Ihnat, Chicago, IL

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Feb 1, 1984, 8:00:09 PM2/1/84
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Gene,

Tch,tch. You certainly responded *far* too forcefully, when you
really don't understand the debate. The argument is that <those>
people who are engaged in criminal computer activities are certainly
criminals; the problem is that to many, the use of the word 'hacker'
is an unwarranted appropriation by the ignorant press of a word which
had no such negative connotation before. No one is disagreeing that
criminals are criminals; they are disagreeing that the term 'hacker'
is appropriate, or should be applied. Please know the issue before
you flame.

Thank you.

Dave Ihnat
ihuxx!ignatz

Ray Holmes

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Feb 2, 1984, 12:18:27 AM2/2/84
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[]
I think that the paper in question should be sued. 'Hacker' is one
of the most skilled and honorable professions known to mankind.

Ray Holmes

Dave Sherman

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Feb 3, 1984, 4:38:56 PM2/3/84
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Furthermore, it shouldn't be assumed that "hacking" in the sense of
breaking into computer systems is illegal. It depends on the laws of
the particular jurisdiction. In Canada today it may not be illegal.
(New legislation is pending and may be passed this year.)

Dave Sherman
--
{allegra,cornell,decvax,ihnp4,linus,utzoo}!utcsrgv!dave

Jeff Sargent

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Feb 7, 1984, 3:10:07 AM2/7/84
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On the flip side of the issue, I have always thought that "hacker" in the
original computerese sense of the word was a pejorative term, meaning one who
was obsessed with machines, often to the exclusion of people (superficial
socializing with those who are also obsessed with machines does not count as
really relating to people!). Hackers are those who are unable to cope with
real life (what's a favorite hacker pastime? Fantasy games!). I bade fair
to become a full-bore hacker myself in my earlier years (and I still keep
hacker hours)--so I KNOW that it was largely because I had difficulty relating
to people, because I had one of the weakest egos this side of the Hudson.
I suspect that this may be one of the general underlying causes of the hacking
syndrome in many cases.

Putting on my asbestos gloves (gotta protect those guitar-playing fingers) and
my asbestos lab coat (I am known as "Dr. Blotto[*]" locally)...

-- Jeff Sargent/...pur-ee!pucc-h:aeq
[*] "Blotto" is a trademark of the Purdue University Computing Center.

Neal Weidenhofer

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Feb 8, 1984, 7:26:09 PM2/8/84
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**************************************************************************

>On the flip side of the issue, I have always thought that "hacker" in the
>original computerese sense of the word was a pejorative term, meaning one who
>was obsessed with machines, often to the exclusion of people (superficial
>socializing with those who are also obsessed with machines does not count as
>really relating to people!).

This is all true except that it's not regarded as pejorative.

Regards,
Neal Weidenhofer
Denelcor, Inc.
<hao|csu-cs|brl-bmd>!denelcor!neal

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