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Defining hacker

A search on google will give you this:
hacker-definition

If you're a hacker, you know it. But things look pretty different to people who are not. Thanks to those who made the term "hacker" synonymous with "cracker".

According to google, a hacker is also : "an enthusiastic and skilful computer programmer or user."
Well, that doesn't sound scary. Try saying that you're a hacker to airport security officials or in your interviews and be prepared for the unexpected. Media has done an excellent job. Then there's The Hacker Manifesto. Apart from the usual trouble that it causes hackers, there's more. Curious? It's messages like this:

"hi r u a hacker? do u work with The Anonymous? i want to u 2 hack my gf's facebook account. plz urgent"

I'm not sure how to respond to these kind of messages. Perhaps, I can't make out if they're serious or just trolling. If they're serious, it's really saddening to know. I'd like to end this confusion among the general public. One at a time. Let's be clear on what a hacker is:

A hacker is an adherent of the subculture that originally emerged in academia in the 1960s, around the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)'s Tech Model Railroad Club (TMRC) and MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

A hacker is one who enjoys the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming and circumventing limitations of programming systems and who tries to extend their capabilities. The act of engaging in activities (such as programming or other media) in a spirit of playfulness and exploration is termed hacking. However the defining characteristic of a hacker is not the activities performed themselves (e.g. programming), but the manner in which it is done: Hacking entails some form of excellence, for example exploring the limits of what is possible, thereby doing something exciting and meaningful. Activities of playful cleverness can be said to have "hack value" and are termed hacks.
According to The Jargon File, an influential but not universally accepted compendium of hacker slang, defines hackers as:

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 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. It also implies that the person described is seen to subscribe to some version of the hacker ethic.

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 wannabee.

That's it. There you go.

If ever you feel like you want to be a hacker. Be assured that the community will welcome you. You can travel around the world to attend hackathons, an event where hundreds of hackers come together to build something new and useful within a week. Cool, isn't it?
hackathon

We have to end the confusion and fear surrounding this term. We need to spread awareness.

We need you.