Friday, March 11, 2005

Who is a hacker

George Orwell wrote in 1946 that 'the word "fascism" has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies "something not desirable"' (Politics and the English Language). The word 'hacker', which used to be a compliment, and still is in the circles I move in, long ago became a term of abuse in the general community, a synonym for 'cracker'.

But 'cracker' too has a meaning, it signifies someone who performs a particular kind of malicious activity, rather than merely 'something not desirable to do with computers'. Or so I used to think. The word seems to be rapidly moving away from that situation, and towards being just another meaningless term of abuse. Gary McGath blogs on the latest example of this deplorable trend.

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