Who’s a hacker?

If you’ve read some books on linux, firstly, let me salute you. You’re the man! Secondly, not everyone can handle the monotonous text and pages filled with commands, one after another, like it’s a dictionary and you just want to fit everything into one. No offense, but a lighthearted and cool approach always attracts beginners. Like me.

While I was browsing through my college library (for a change), I came across this book titled ‘The Joy of Linux’. I’m still not done with it (slow reader), but there hasn’t been a single page which was dull, and not a single chapter that didn’t make me smile or inspire.

The book introduces you to linux and its history. How it came out. It tells you about the open source culture in the best way I think it could be told. It’s a pretty old book, last published in 2001, I believe. If you can grab a copy, I reccomend you must!

Here’s one of the quotes that I absolutely love! It tells you what a “hacker” really is. I couldn’t have described it in a better way, so took it from the book as is. And then, I’m a lazy ass too.

Now is as good a time as any to delve into the whole “hacker” issue, briefly, since so many Linux enthusiasts describe themselves as hackers and so many people without cathode ray tans know (as all good law abiding citizens do) that a hacker is nothing more than a computer vandal, which makes the “real hackers” angry.
The classical definition of “hacker” varies depending upon the source. The safest bet, though seems to read something like this:
Hackers are people posessed of a love for things that aren’t known. They’re curious, and interested in the way things work, and often disinterested in formalism when it comes to figuring things out. Hackers are not tied to computers. Hackers aren’t universally disinterested in rules and order. On the other hand, their curiosity is a driving value, and it takes high priority.
We once had the distinct pleasure of reading a message by somebody who had claimed to “hack” a word processor to display page previews correctly by setting the “zoom” level to 10%. What it lacked in ingenuity, one could argue it made up for in elegance…two mouse clicks et voila! In fact, it’s fashionable to be a hacker and there’s woefully little in the way of peer review or certification to keep people from claiming the title. But the main thing to keep in mind is that “hacker” doesn’t necessarily mean “vandal,” and people claiming the title are frequently law abiding enough folk, and certainly not out to get your credit cards.

bhavul

Tech always fascinates me. And sometimes, I'm able to find time to share that with you all. I'm a software developer working at Endurance International Group. Learning and teaching as I walk. Hope you find something cool here.

2 Comments

  1. You might really enjoy “hackers heroes of the computer revolution” if you are interested in the history of hackers. It starts off from the earliest hackers, the ones that tinkered with a PDP 11, moves on to the phase abt personal computers, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates etc and finally the era of the video game hackers.

    1. I’ll definitely check it out when I’m done with this one. I’m not particularly interested in “history of hackers”. It’s just that I really wanted to quote and recommend this book, and this page where it tells about what a hacker is, seemed the best.

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