As is common when too many abuse a given word, it eventually seems to change meaning.
So it has happened with "hacker". There is a subset of the community that uses this word with honor and dignity, and find professional satisfaction in being called with that name. "One who enjoys the intellectual challenge of creatively
overcoming or circumventing limitations" fits perfectly well the honest effort of the inventor.
Then there is the "cracker". They also face intellectual challenges, and enjoy overcoming them, but their intent is criminal.Big difference
honest in IT = hacker
criminal in IT = cracker
not that hard!We understand - Doesn't mean we like
From time served in school, being pushed around and insulted because of being different - a geek - is no news to any hacker.
It comes as no surprise that some people would still be unkind, when not outright insulting, and use the lamest excuses for it.But you should know better!
1) anyone who reads or hears or sees the word "cracker" will very clearly understand that it means someone in IT with a criminal intent, just by the context. Assuming that people are stupid and won't understand is not clever.
2) about SOPA and other such, most people couldn't care less because they have no idea how it hurts them, some people might support it for the wrong reasons (like the scarecrow Evil Hacker painted by the Media Corporations), and the few people who will oppose it - and support you - are many of them, well, hackers. Using their name in vain will make them see you as either careless or willfully ignorant.
3) crackers themselves couldn't care less. If Linux is secure - and windoze is not - has to do a lot with the fact that a person who wants thrills in figuring out complex problems in coding is welcome to contribute honestly to the community and grow and be respected as a hacker - while cracking the other option attracts lesser scrip-kiddies and worse.
4) SOPA and Big Media are very happy that you use it wrong - they know very well the difference, but are the ones pushing for the concept of "hackers" being confused in sheeples' heads, so that their main opposition - honest hackers - looks "baaaad!" to the sheeple. Meanwhile, intelligent and otherwise able people get confused as well, like you, and think they have to bow down to something that ends up being selling out to those issues you want to redress
To close, from the Jargon Master, Eric S. Raymond, the definition of
(BTW, what follows is Public Domain, while the rest of my blog is CC by sa)hacker
[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.
8. [deprecated] A malicious meddler who tries to discover sensitive
information by poking around. Hence password
hacker, network hacker.
The correct term for this sense is cracker.
The term 'hacker' also tends to connote membership in the
global community defined by the net (see
the network. For discussion of some of the basics of this culture,
see the How
To Become A Hacker FAQ. It also implies that the person described
is seen to subscribe to some version of the hacker ethic (see
It is better to be described as a hacker by others than to describe
oneself that way. Hackers consider themselves something of an elite (a
meritocracy based on ability), though one to which new members are gladly
welcome. There is thus a certain ego satisfaction to be had in identifying
yourself as a hacker (but if you claim to be one and are not, you'll
quickly be labeled bogus). See also
This term seems to have been first adopted as a badge in the 1960s by
the hacker culture surrounding TMRC and the MIT AI Lab. We have a report
that it was used in a sense close to this entry's by teenage radio hams and
electronics tinkerers in the mid-1950s.