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What is a Hacker?

Hacker: n.

[originally, someone who makes furniture with an axe]

  1. A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable 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 (even obsessively) or who enjoys programming rather than just theorising about programming.
  3. A person who is good at programming quickly.
  4. An expert at a particular program, or one who frequently does work using IT or on IT; as in ‘a Unix hacker’.
  5. An expert or enthusiast of any kind (an astronomy hacker, for example).
  6. One who enjoys the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming or circumventing limitations.
  7. [deprecated] A malicious meddler who tries to discover sensitive information by poking around.
  • Hence password hacker, network hacker.
  • The correct term for this malicious meddler is a cracker.

from: The Jargon File, MIT

Watch MrC in a speech made at 'Think Computer Science' in 2015 where he tells us why 'Hacker is not a Dirty Word'

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