"Hacker" vs "Cracker" et al.

McCrina, Nathan nm177320 at gordonstate.edu
Fri Mar 15 21:16:58 UTC 2013

From: users-bounces at lists.fedoraproject.org [users-bounces at lists.fedoraproject.org] On Behalf Of Richard Vickery [richard.vickeryrv at gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, March 15, 2013 4:30 PM
To: Community support for Fedora users
Subject: Re: Has my fedora 18 installation been hacked?

On Mar 15, 2013 9:39 AM, "Greg Woods" <woods at ucar.edu<mailto:woods at ucar.edu>> wrote:
>> On Fri, 2013-03-15 at 08:25 -0700, Richard Vickery wrote:
>> >
>> >  It is not really my intent to be rude, but each of us "hack" out own
>> > systems and the kernel all the time.
>> Unfortunately, this battle over the word "hack" and "hacker" has already
>> been fought and lost. The media, and just about everyone other than
>> hard-core geeks, uses the word "hack" to mean breaking into systems.

>Not in my circles; I refuse to let people alternate the term.

>> Heck, that's why we co-opted the word "geek", which not that long ago
>> was a very insulting term, and is now used as a term for people worthy
>> of respect, similar to how "hacker" was used in the old days.
>> I suppose it is confusing that the meanings of these words have changed,
>> but unfortunately the real meaning of a word is going to be defined by
>> how it is most commonly used.

>So change it!!! Don't let them beat you into the ground; correct them!

IMO, "hack" has sort of a violent sound to it, which makes me feel it is more appropriate for a forceful entry type of context, and I am not surprised that most people assume that this is what it should mean. Furthermore. where I am from "cracker" is a more or less insulting racial term so it just leads to awkwardness when I try to loftily throw it into a conversation. I do know the history of the term "hacker" but I have zero problems with the way it is used in the media.

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