What Is a Hacker?
Unfortunately, a lot of people confuse the terms "hacker" and
"cracker". There are a number of reasons for this. The two big
- Crackers often call themselves "hackers", and
- The media refers to crackers as "hackers".
This is infinitely annoying.
(yes, that Eric Raymond) does an excellent job of
answering the question "What Is A Hacker?" in his
To Become A Hacker FAQ. In it, he concludes:
The basic difference is this: hackers build things, crackers break them.
So How Do I Learn More?
To learn more about what hackers are really about, and some of the
things that hackers have built, see the following.
- How To Become A Hacker
- Eric Raymond discusses such essentials as the Hacker
Attitude, Basic Hacking Skills, and Status in the Hacker Culture.
- A Brief History of Hackerdom
- A companion to the above, this includes good pointers to
information about the history of hacking and of hackers.
- The Jargon File, a.k.a. The New Hacker's Dictionary
- If there was ever an official document about hackers and
hackerdom, this would be it.
The software that runs the Internet was written by hackers, in the
hacker style. The Internet could not exist without the hacks
they've perpetrated. What follows is a small sampling of
what hackers have produced.
- It's not just a text editor. It's the ultimate hacker
environment. It edits text, it fontifies and pretty prints
source code, it reads and sends mail, it reads and posts
netnews, it surfs the web, it slices, it dices, it's
programmable in Lisp!
- The Mother of All Text Whackers has grown up. There's more
than one way to do it, and Perl will let you do it any way you
- Runs more Internet web sites than all other servers
- The Gimp
- The GNU Image Manipulation Program. If you work with
graphics, you need The Gimp.
- Berkely Internet Name Dæmon
- BIND is the most popular (i.e., I can't think of any others)
implementation of the Internet Domain Name Service. This
allows us to use names for machines like
www.interhack.net instead of an IP address like
- USENET is your friend. INN makes it possible.
- If you've ever sent Internet email, it almost certainly got
to its destination thanks to sendmail.
- My favorite operating system. You can't buy better stuff
than this. Closely related to both
- A cousin of the BSD descendants, Linux is an extremely
popular alternative to Microsoft's (broken) offerings. It's
since grown beyond the realm of a personal computer OS, and is
now available on a variety of hardware platforms, including
x86, Alpha, and SPARC.
Last modified: Wed Mar 1 10:49:09 EST 2000