Sadly we are used to associating the word “Hacker” with a “computer pirate”, something that should be called a “cracker”. A Hacker does not engage in this activity to harm anyone, simply because they enjoy playing and learning.
A Hacker is a special type of thinker of the digital age. It is not even necessary for their field to be in computing. Hackers can exist in any area, such as cooking, sewing, or decorating. What sets a Hacker apart is their thirst for knowledge, for learning more, and for enjoying what they do.
The Hacker manifesto holds a special place within Hacker popular culture. It was written by Loyd Blankenship, aka +++The Mentor+++, one of the first Hackers arrested in an FBI raid. Obviously, he was quite upset and some of the phrases are a bit theatrical.
Nevertheless, this text, written on January 08, 1986, remains valid today. The manifesto is not a code, nor a philosophy of life. Simply, if you identify with it, congratulations, you are likely a Hacker.
The Hacker manifesto, translated from the original by The Mentor
Hacker Manifesto (The Mentor, 1986)
Another one has been captured today, it is in all the newspapers. “Teen arrested for cybercrime” “Hacker arrested for breaking into a banking system”.
-Damn kids. They’re all the same.
But can they, with their cheap psychology and their fifties brain, even take a look at what is behind the eyes of a hacker? Have they ever stopped to think what makes him behave like this, what has made him what he is?
I am a Hacker, enter my world. Mine is a world that starts in school… I am smarter than most of the other kids, that trash they teach us bores me…
- Damn underachievers. They’re all the same.
I’m in high school. I’ve heard teachers explain for the fifteenth time how to reduce a fraction. I understand it.
-No, Miss Smith, I’m not going to show you my work, I did it in my head…
-Damn kid. He probably copied it. They’re all the same.
Today I made a discovery. I found a computer. Wait a moment, this is the best. It does what I ask it to do. If it makes a mistake it’s because I made a mistake. Not because it doesn’t like me, or feels threatened by me. Or thinks I’m conceited, or doesn’t like to teach and shouldn’t be here…
-Damn kid. All he does is play. They’re all the same.
And then it happened, a door opened to the world. Running through the phone lines like heroin through an addict’s veins, an electronic pulse is sent, a refuge for the incompetencies of everyday life is sought… a lifeboat is found.
“This is it. This is where I belong.”
I know them all here, even though I’ve never seen them, or talked to them, or never hear from them again. I know them all…
-Damn kids. Linking the phone lines again. They’re all the same…
Bet anything they are all the same. They’ve been feeding us baby food with a spoon at school, when we were hungry for meat. The crumbs you let slip away were chewed and tasteless.
We have been ruled by sadists, or ignored by the apathetic. The few who had something to teach us found in us attentive students, but those few are like drops of water in the desert.
This is our world now. The world of the electron and the switch, the beauty of the baud. We make use of an existing service without paying, because it could be ridiculously cheap if it weren’t in the hands of profit-hungry gluttons, and you call us criminals.
We explore, and you call us criminals.
We seek knowledge, and you call us criminals.
We exist without color, without nationality, without religious bias, and you call us criminals.
You build atomic bombs, make war, murder, cheat, and lie to us and try to make us believe it’s for our own good, now we are the criminals.
Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is curiosity.
My crime is judging people by what they say and think, not by how they look. My crime is being smarter than you, something for which you will never forgive me.
I am a Hacker, and this is my manifesto. You can arrest this individual, but you cannot stop us all… after all, we are all the same.