Hacker

This is my little pet peeve – the usage of word “hacker”. Come on people, get it straight:

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. RFC1392, the Internet Users’ Glossary, usefully amplifies this as: A person who delights in having an intimate understanding of the internal workings of a system, computers and computer networks in particular.

2. One who programs enthusiastically (even obsessively) or who enjoys programming rather than just theorizing about programming.

3. A person capable of appreciating hack value.

4. A person who is good at programming quickly.

5. An expert at a particular program, or one who frequently does work using it or on it; as in ‘a Unix hacker’. (Definitions 1 through 5 are correlated, and people who fit them congregate.)

6. An expert or enthusiast of any kind. One might be an astronomy hacker, for example.

7. One who enjoys the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming or circumventing limitations.
from Jargon File

I really hate when people use the term hacker to describe a computer criminal without disambiguating it. People should be educated about this!

Today we had some security expert giving a presentation in class and he committed the horrible crime of using “hacker” as a buzzword. Any “security expert” who fails to disambiguate this term at some point in his speech, obviously suffers from some pointy haired syndrome. His case might be mild, but this is enough for me to loose respect for his expertise.

This is crucial. If you make a security speech, use terms like black-hat or script kiddie and disambiguate the term hacker. Otherwise few uber-dorks like me will feel disappointed 😛

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