Hacker is someone who seeks to understand computer, phone or other systems strictly for the satisfaction of having that knowledge, who wonders how things work, and have an incredible curiosity. They will sometimes do questionable legal things, such as breaking into systems, but they generally will not cause harm once they break in. They enjoy learning details of a programming language or system and actually doing the programming rather than theorizing it .Hackers appreciate someone else’s hacking .
Hacker ethic is the generic phrase which describes the values and philosophy that are standard in the hacker community. The early hacker culture and resulting philosophy originated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the 1950s and 1960s. The term 'hacker ethic' is attributed to journalist Steven Levy as described in his book titled Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, written in 1984. The guidelines of the hacker ethic make it easy to see how computers have evolved into the personal devices we know and rely upon today.
Free and open source software is the descendant of the hacker ethics that Levy described. The hackers who hold true to this hacker ethics—especially the Hands-On Imperative—are usually supporters of free software and/or open source software. This is because free and open source software allows hackers to access the code used to create the software to improve or reuse it. In effect the free and open source software movements embody all of the hacker ethics.
Some of the ethics and beliefs are as follows :
- Access to computers—and anything which might teach you something about the way the world works—should be unlimited and total. Always yield to the Hands-On Imperative!
Levy believes that access gives hackers the opportunity to take things apart,
fix, or improve upon them and to learn and understand how they work. This gives
them the knowledge to create new and even more interesting things Access helps the expansion of technology.
- All information should be free.
In the hacker viewpoint, any system could benefit from an easy flow of information, a concept known as transparency in the social sciences. Information needs to be free for hackers to fix, improve, and reinvent systems. A free exchange of information allows for greater overall creativity.
- Mistrust authority—promote decentralization.
The best way to promote the free exchange of information is to have an open system that presents no boundaries between a hacker and a piece of information or an item of equipment that he needs in his quest for knowledge, improvement, and time on-line. Hackers believe that bureaucracies, whether corporate, government, or university, are flawed systems.
- Hackers should be judged by their hacking, not criteria such as degrees, age, race, sex, or position.
Inherent in the hacker ethic is a meritocratic system where superficiality is disregarded in esteem of skill. Levy articulates that criteria such as age, sex, race, position, and qualification are deemed irrelevant within the hacker community. Hacker skill is the ultimate determinant of acceptance. Such a code within the hacker community fosters the advance of hacking and software development.
Testament to the hacker ethic of equal opportunity, L. Peter Deutsch, a twelve-year-old hacker, was accepted in the TX-0 community, though was not recognized by non-hacker graduate students.
- You can create art and beauty on a computer.
Hackers deeply appreciate innovative techniques which allow programs to perform complicated tasks with few instructions. A program's code was considered to hold a beauty of its own, having been carefully composed and artfully arranged. Learning to create programs which used the least amount of space almost became a game between the early hackers.
- Computers can change your life for the better.
Hackers felt that computers had enriched their lives, given their lives focus, and made their lives adventurous. Hackers regarded computers as Aladdin's lamps that they could control. They believed that everyone in society could benefit from experiencing such power and that if everyone could interact with computers in the way that hackers did, then the Hacker Ethic might spread through society and computers would improve the world. The hacker succeeded in turning dreams of endless possibilities into realities. The hacker's primary object was to teach society that "the world opened up by the computer was a limitless one"
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