[thelist] complete: hacking contest

Emma Jane Hogbin emmajane at xtrinsic.com
Thu Jul 3 10:26:28 CDT 2003

On Thu, Jul 03, 2003 at 09:50:56AM -0400, Koutoulas, Pete wrote:
> I have to admit, I'm still confused about the distinction between hackers
> and crackers. All that Zen stuff about what Hackers do really didn't say
> anything IMHO. What do they do? Most of what was described, e.g., solving
> problems, coding challenges, are the kinds of things I do every day. So am I
> a hacker? Is a hacker just a coder/programmer who likes challenges? Or a
> particularly adept programmer?

I listed a few of the things that I do: programming open source
applications, write documentation for open source projects/applications
(not necessarily my own). I would say the major difference between a
coder/programmer and a hacker is not necessarily the skill, but rather
their interest in giving back to the community that has helped them to
learn what they know. I would say that Hackers are socially
responsible towards their community; I would also say that Crackers belong
to a community but it is based on a different ethic.

In terms of the coffee maker example: I would not say that you are a
hacker if you wire your coffee maker into your alarm clock; however, if
you then publish something (e.g. to the web) on how this was done with no
intention of profitting financially (i.e. not in a book) THEN you are a
hacker. The difference? One is solving a problem for yourself; the second
is solving a problem and then realizing that others may have a use for
your solution.

	the Preface and Chapter 1 are online
	this one also talks about ethical cracking: breaking into a system to
	determine its weak points and then *fixing* the weak points (or at
	least reporting them to someone who can fix them)


Emma Jane Hogbin
[[ 416 417 2868 ][ www.xtrinsic.com ]]

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