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Hackers Hall of Fame 445

An anonymous reader writes " has a nice feature called Hackers Hall of Fame. They have included 15 bios of modern and not so modern hackers and crackers. " Definitely a few names that probably don't deserve to be on the list, but for the most part this is a good list.
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Hackers Hall of Fame

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  • by Can it run Linux ( 664464 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:21AM (#8237526)
    Yeah, yeah, I know, I'll be lynched for saying that Bill "I am Satan" Gates should be on par with RMS, ESR and Linus, but think about this for a second.

    Bill founded what is now the largest software company in the world, and wether or not you agree with him, he has made a important contribution to the computing industry: Microsoft brought desktop computing to the home user.

    Now, be honest. How many of us had our first computer experience with MS-DOS or Windows 3.1? Do you think that if computers still consisted on thin-client-server models based on huge VAX mainframes, that Joe and Jane Smith would be able to dial-in to AOL and connect to thousands of people around the world? Would the Internet have blossomed into the vast information network it is today without the aid of easy-to-use software from Microsoft? How about Grandma who wants to set up a webcam so she can chat with her grandchildren? She doesn't want to have to sit and hack kernels for hours. She wants Plug-and-Play, baby.

    Look, disagree all you like, but thanks to things like Windows, Office, and MSN, modern computing has been made easy and affordable to everyone, thanks to pioneers like Bill Gates.
    • by Aneurysm ( 680045 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:34AM (#8237698)
      This is very true, but would you consider Bill Gates more of a hacker or more of a businessman? I agree that Bill Gates has changed the face of modern computing an awful lot, but as a businessman than as any form of system hacker
      • by inode_buddha ( 576844 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:42AM (#8237796) Journal
        I agree with the parent post about Bill bringing computing to the masses even though my earliest computing experiences have nothing to do with wintel or even PCs for that matter. IMHO BillG's single greatest hack isn't technological; it's social/business.
      • by imr ( 106517 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:42AM (#8237806)
        The most famous hacker in their original team was probably Paul Allen.
        • by iocat ( 572367 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @12:17PM (#8238280) Homepage Journal
          Damn, I have mod points and I was really looking mod up anyone who bashed Tsutomu Shimomura, who is a grade A tool IMHO, but I gotta say this:

          Paul Allen may be more 'techie' but BASIC for the Altair, as well as their previous projects, like the Traf-O-Data stuff, were really, really, joint collaborations. It wasn't a Wozniak/Jobs relationship, where one guy did the tech stuff and the other guy did the marketing. They *both* did the tech stuff, but Bill was more comfortable doing the business stuff as well.

          Check out the Tandy Model 100 -- it's a super elegant piece of early portable computing with a great (for the time) BASIC-enabled OS. Creating that system was Bill Gate's last project that he personally pulled off alone, and it is really a fantastic system.

          You may be able to have issues with his later business practices, and I'd agree that he was never part of the hacker culture, as evidenced by his early concern for copyrights when others were sharing everything, but the guy could definitely pull his weight on the code side.

          • by Endive4Ever ( 742304 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @01:25PM (#8239304)
            by his early concern for copyrights when others were sharing everything,

            Actually, the 'others' who where 'sharing everything' were not the copyright holders. The user community of the time was widely sharing things that weren't theirs to share. Bill spoke up, but his company wasn't the only victim of said 'hackers.' There was plenty of other commercial software being spread around without paying for it.

            And the 'hacker culture' comes from a different social set than the early 'home computer' enthusiasts anyway. The 'hacker culture' comes from the computer labs of Universities. The 'homebrew computer' culture was a seperate social set entirely.
      • by segmond ( 34052 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @01:03PM (#8239017)
        He was once a hacker, read "Hackers" by Steve Levy.

        They wrote it without having a machine, they had instruction set for the 8080 chip, and a Popular eletronics schematics, they had to make it fit in 4k of memory, and they had to make it less since the memory needed space to hold programs/data.

        page 221. "but Gates in particular was a master at bumming code, and with a lot of squeezing and some innovative use of the elaborate 8080 instruct set, they thought they'd done it"

        Gates speaking, "We rewrote the assembler, we rewrote the loader ... we put together a software library"

        so, in his early days, he was a hacker, more so than many slashdot people are in respect to things today.

      • Couldn't you perhaps say that BG hacked the business system?
    • Gates is not a hacker, he traded in his keyboard long ago for an empty suit and a few billion. He belongs nowhere near that list.
    • by Aardpig ( 622459 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:58AM (#8238009)

      Now, be honest. How many of us had our first computer experience with MS-DOS or Windows 3.1?

      Probably less than you might think. While our parents were doing boring crap such as wordprocessing on their drab IBM PC, we were hacking away on our Sinclairs, Commodores, Ataris, Amigas, Dragons, Tandys, Amstrads, Acorns, etc. Those were what the young computer geeks were using in the 1980s.

      • Probably less than you might think. While our parents were doing boring crap such as wordprocessing on their drab IBM PC, we were hacking away on our Sinclairs, Commodores, Ataris, Amigas, Dragons, Tandys, Amstrads, Acorns, etc.

        Quick generation check: what will happen with the screen if I'll type POKE 53280, 0 on a commodore-64? ;-)
        • Geez, thanks for making me notice the grey hairs starting to spring up on my noggin. What's scary is not that I understood your reference, but that I actually remembered what it did after literally 20 years of not interacting with the C=64's memory map.

          I also remember writing self-modifying code in BASIC by clearing the screen, PRINTing the desired line of new code, writing the keycodes for "up-arrow up-arrow return" into the 64's 10-character keyboard input buffer, and stopping execution. The keyboard reader would interpret those as having been typed manually and would move the cursor to the line in question and send a return, and the BASIC interpreter would insert that line into the already-loaded program. Follow the line of code with "RUN $LINENUM" and voila!, your program would have successfully altered itself and resumed execution.

          Finally, I'll never forget the day my parents broke down and bought me the "C=64 Macro Assembler" and "Programmer's Reference Manual". I didn't know at the time that Assembler was supposed to be difficult to learn - I thought it was a super-simplified BASIC and treated it accordingly: "Hmmm, I need to set a variable. What command sets a memory location to a value? (Scanning the opcode list in the PRM...) Oh, this'll work! (Typing: LDA, 42; STA $C001)."

          Heck, I learned binary math by working through the examples to calculate sprite bitmaps. Man, I loved that little machine.

      • Computer geeks of the 80s are outnumbered by all the young computer geeks of the 90s who got turned onto computers because of the old MS-DOS/Windows 3.1 combination. Hell, there are still QBASIC user groups out there online, living up the nostalgia and still making games.
    • by leomekenkamp ( 566309 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @12:03PM (#8238076)
      I'm a little annoyed with people saying things like: "Well, since person A was the first to do X, we would not be doing X right now, if it wasn't for A.".

      Without the Wright brothers, we still would have aeroplanes today. If Pythagoras died in infancy, someone else would have come up with A^2 + B^2 = C^2. If Bill Gates' mother did not have ties with IBM, someone else would have headed the company that provided IBM with an 'OS' for its PC.

    • Neal sez... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Onan The Librarian ( 126666 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @12:05PM (#8238112)
      In his "In The Beginning Was The Command Line" Neal Stephenson had this to say : "Microsoft refused to go into the hardware business, insisted on making its software run on hardware that anyone could build, and thereby created the market conditions that allowed hardware prices to plummet. In trying to understand the Linux phenomenon, then, we have to look to not a single innovator but to a sort of bizarre Trinity: Linus Torvalds, Richard Stallman, and Bill Gates. Take away any of these three and Linux would not exist."

      He's right, y'know, though I'm not sure that should get Bill into the Hacker Hall of Fame.

      OTOH if you took out RMS, Denny & Ken, esr, and Linus, then added Bill, that gallery would appear more homogeneous...
      • by The Breeze ( 140484 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @12:53PM (#8238887) Homepage
        Don't forget, supposedly the last bit of code that Gates wrote largely by himself was the code that allowed the handheld Radio Shack TRS-80 to run - a massive thing so tough that you could skip it on concrete without it breaking, and that is STILL in use today in harsh industrial environments (oil rigs, etc) because A. it has an RS-232 port and B. the thing is TOUGH - and they use it to collect data from things and dump it into more powerful computers.

        The guy wrote software for consumer-grade hardware that is still in use 20+ years later - he may be a putz, but he can hack.

    • Microsoft brought desktop computing to the home user.

      Not quite. It was IBM's marketing force that accomplished this feat - it was the PC that mattered, MS-DOS just happened to be there. It got spred with no effort from Gates' part, aside from the initial trick of selling something he didn't have, to IBM. Windows then followed in MS-DOS' tracks, people took it by inertia (with a little help from MS's anticompetitive practices), not because there weren't better alternatives.

      It makes me sick to hear ignor

    • Actually, Bill G. really did just manage to be in the right place at the right time to get himself inserted into the loop. The PC revolution would have done just fine (probably better) without him.

      First of all, had there been no Microsoft, IBM would have just licenced CP/M instead. The first several versions of DOS bore a REMARKABLE resemblance to CP/M anyway, right down to loading com programs at offset 0x100.

      At the point where windows was still a crash ridden bugfest (even moreso than after 3.1) that

  • Worst Photo (Score:5, Funny)

    by mindshadow ( 240798 ) * on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:22AM (#8237540) Homepage Journal
    I think one of the criteria may have been "worst photo"
  • by grub ( 11606 ) <> on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:22AM (#8237542) Homepage Journal

    They don't do the oft-maligned term "hacker" any justice by including convicted criminals in that list. They should have distinct lists, IE: a "Hackers Hall of Fame" and a "Crackers Hall of Shame" rather than lumping the two together. Mind you, these are the people that forgot the "L" in TLC stood for "Learning" and started filling the channel with home decorating shows.
    • oh they "Learned" all right. They figured out that it was making them a lot more money to give women a show that they could force their husbands and unlucky boyfriends to watch.

      I not only am being begged to get cable when the gf returns but I also shelled out money for the While you were out DVD...

      I heard somewhere that it was the most popular CATV show for 20-early 30 somethings...
    • by HarveyBirdman ( 627248 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:29AM (#8237633) Journal
      If 99% of the world uses "hacker" in a negative context, I think the real hackers had better find a new term, because language is driven by those that use it. I feel your pain, but I think it's a losing battle. There's many cases of word meaning evolving from one thing to another.

      And one minor admonishment: just because home improvement isn't something that interests you does not mean it isn't learning. I got into home inprovement projects a couple years ago, and have learned a lot from those shows. Built my own deck and redid a bathroom all by my lonesome, and the results are beautiful. Even just home decorating is a pretty dense topic, with centuries of data and styles to consider.

      • If 99% of the world uses "hacker" in a negative context, I think the real hackers had better find a new term

        But which term? An earlier discussion [] showed that alternatives such as "programming enthousiast" and "codesmith" do not really carry the same associations.

      • by naelurec ( 552384 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:58AM (#8238007) Homepage
        I think this quote from Office Space sums it up nicely...

        SAMIR: How come no one in this country can pronounce my name right? It's Na-gee-een-ah-jah. Nagaenajar

        MICHAEL: At least your name isn't Michael Bolton.

        SAMIR: Michael, there's nothing wrong with that name.

        MICHAEL: There was nothing wrong with it. Until I was about nine years old and that no-talent assclown became famous and started winning Grammys.

        SAMIR: Well, why don't just go by Mike, instead of Michael?


        ------> why should hackers change their name if others don't get it right? Thats nonsense. Besides, hackers would come up with a better term and the unenlighten will still lump hackers/crackers together.

      • instead of 'supposedly', then that should be okay, too? I hope not.

        Think about ask vs axe, height vs heighth, and the rampant use of 'they' to denote a single person, and tell me that language should be defined by usage. (Not flaming - this issue bothers me.) People who know better should strive to use the language properly.

        A stupid/incorrect thing done by a million people is still a stupid/incorrect thing.

        Slightly [more] off-topic, but I have learned quite a bit about gardening/landscaping from
        • instead of 'supposedly', then that should be okay, too? I hope not.

          Yes. Languages evolve. If that word evolves that way, then so be it.

          My favorite theoretical case is in Larry Niven novels where "bleep" and "censored" become actual swear words that will get you shocked looks in certain company.

      • You're being self-contradictory. Your arguing for a "language defined by use" definition of hacker, then objecting to "language defined by use" definition of "learning channel". Sure, watching a show teaching you how to decorate your home is technically "learning" in the dictionary, however to call a channel dedicated to home decorating and reality television "The Learning Channel" is a serious misnomer--which is why they never say "Learning" in the advertising for the station, opting instead for "TLC. L
    • I think the real point of this list is to get 5 great hackers and then stick in your favourite 10 to give them fame by association. It's like giving an award to "Stallman and John Doe" - wow, who is this amazing John Doe?.

      A *decent* blurb on each would make this list newsworthy, but as it is - it looks like a few facts scraped together to make it look researched.
    • blame this guy :

      Robert Morris

      Handle: rtm

      Claim to fame: The son of the chief scientist at the National Computer Security Center -- part of the National Security Agency (NSA) -- this Cornell University graduate student introduced the word "hacker" into the vernacular when he accidentally unleashed an Internet worm in 1988. Thousands of computers were infected and subsequently crashed.

      anyways most of them seem to fit more to the 'hacker' than to the 'cracker'.. well now they should just make a list of
  • I dunno (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fjordboy ( 169716 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:22AM (#8237545) Homepage
    I'm not so sure about the validity of the list. Wouldn't the best hackers be the ones that pulled off a great hack that went unnoticed and the hacker didn't get caught? Just a thought...
    • No,
      If you don't get caught what's the point? You have to atleast get some recognition or there is no point in doing it.. no self gratification.
      • Re:I dunno (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fjordboy ( 169716 )
        if you're simply hacking for recognition, then you should automatically be banned from the list.
        • Re:I dunno (Score:4, Insightful)

          by matth ( 22742 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:36AM (#8237729) Homepage
          What else do you hack for?
          You crack for information, you hack for recognition.
          Cracking is illegal.
          Hacking is very legal.
        • Re:I dunno (Score:3, Insightful)

          by wwest4 ( 183559 )
          if you're simply hacking for recognition, then you should automatically be banned from the list

          The problem with this is that it's pretty difficult to prove the intent. I would bet that ALL of the named people were seeking recognition - be it widespread attention, approval, or disdain. Such a criterion would exclude people who should be on the list despite their shameless self-promotion... like Shimomura. There's a self serving, egomaniacal prick who is totally devoted to the craft and quite good at it.

    • Re:I dunno (Score:5, Funny)

      by matth ( 22742 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:42AM (#8237808) Homepage
      Actually, as I'm thinking about it.. hacking is fairly easy.. I've watched several hollywood movies and I think that I am now certified to do hacking... infact let me see.. based on what I've learned you bring up an SSH prompt and then start banging away at keys and the password is always something like 'password', 'opensesame', or some random array of characters that you will just happen to hit with your hand... it's really very easy!
      • Re:I dunno (Score:4, Funny)

        by Lehk228 ( 705449 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @12:11PM (#8238193) Journal
        nah, in movies they just run GL_Hack a fully interactive OpenGL 3D GUI that removes all the difficulty from hacking, just drag the icon for each type of potential attack onto the representation of the computer you want to attack, if the icon turns from blue to red try a different attack, if it turns green double click the now green icon ann you will automatically rootkit the desired machine, and beware of the white points representing Admins, if they close in to the targeted computer before you disconnect and wipe the logs you will be caught
      • Re:I dunno (Score:3, Funny)

        by shystershep ( 643874 ) *
        SSH? Don't be fool. Every real cracker knows you use telnet.
      • Re:I dunno (Score:4, Funny)

        by SamSim ( 630795 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @05:43PM (#8242210) Homepage Journal

        Everyone in films is so swish on computers. Hacking into the Pentagon computer... [computer noises] okay... double-click on "Yes"...

        Ooh, password protected! Twenty billion possible chances! Okaaaay... uhhhhhhh.... 'Jeff'.


        "How did you know?"

        "The guy who made this software was called Jeff Jeffty Jeff! And he was born on the first of Jeff, nineteen-Jeffty-Jeff..."

        ~Eddie Izzard, "Glorious"

      • Re:I dunno (Score:3, Funny)

        by falsified ( 638041 )
        Have you guys ever noticed how much noise movie computers make? Every keystroke produces a liquid-sounding "bloop" or a high-pitched "BEEEP". I can't even stand when my computer makes a logoff noise. Movie computers are also far more dramatic - when the hacker gets into a system, red 10-cm high letters declare "ACCESS GRANTED!"

        ...actually. That part would be kinda cool. I'd feel like I'm actually accomplishing something whenever I log into Slashdot.

    • Actually, the truely great hackers would have a "?" where the photo is and would have a bio like

      Handle: "The Dark Sultan"
      Age: Unknown.
      Origin: Unknown.
      Location: Unknown.
      MO: Signs all hacks with a picture of an sultan holding a sword that's encrusted with microchips.

      Claims to Fame:
      Replaced all the photo data in the NSA's badge security system with pictures of bozo the clown.

      Inserted a software patch into AT&T's SINAP software that patched all directory assistance calls to the CEO's personal phone. ...
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:25AM (#8237578) Homepage
    The mst deserving will NEVER be on a "list".

    as they were smart enough to play the game right and didn't do the stupid thing that get's a "hacker" fame... bragging about it.

    The absolute best hackers on this planet sit back and grin, but never say a word.
  • Bjarne Stroustrup (Score:5, Insightful)

    by savagedome ( 742194 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:25AM (#8237579)
    Shouldn't Bjarne Stroustrup be on the list next to Ritchie and Thomson?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:36AM (#8237718)
      No. OO had been done before. C had been done before. Bjarne just took an existing language and made it OO; hardly a groundbreaking premise.

      Now, if you thought the guys who developed Smalltalk should be on the list you might be closer to the mark.

      I'd nominate Doug Engelbert perhaps, but then he was doing more human interaction and psycology work than he was hacking..
    • by mirko ( 198274 )
      What about James Gosling, then ?

      I personally missed Chuck [].

      He is the most impressive of them all.
    • Re:Bjarne Stroustrup (Score:5, Informative)

      by epine ( 68316 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @12:05PM (#8238105)
      No way. This list consists of people driving their stakes in the lawless frontier. Stroustrup was a cultural innovator: the first person who took seriously the proposition of hybridizing conceptual elegance with grungy reality. Whereas Perl was biased more toward grunge, and Ruby was biased more toward elegance, C++ gives them both an equally bad treatment.

      Stroustrup might belong on a list of cultural forefathers of the computing era, a list which would also include Thompson and Richie. Note that I would not include Grace Hopper, Ken Iverson, or John Backus on this list because none of these languages were driven by cultural effects, although one could make a case for Grace Hopper.

      Larry Wall would be included on my list, and Edsgar Dijkstra, because they both had strong opinions about the cultural effects of programming practice. Knuth took a stab at it with literate programming, but he doesn't make my cut, it was too much shaped around his own unique mind. The internet protocol and the www were inherently cultural, so there would be nominations from both camps.

      I have one acid test I use to determine whether a language was strongly driven by culture, or whether culture was grafted on as an afterthought.

      Does the language allow constructs to get you out of places where you never should have arrived in the first place? The real world is full of those situations, usually because of a mishmash of influences from different sources. The anti-cultural languages are the ones which create proscriptions on the grounds that "no sane program would ever require that construct". The cultural languages are the ones that allow a feature on the basis that "if you get yourself into a mess of this nature, this construct might be your bridge of salvation while you survive to fight another day". Good cultural languages provide plenty of affordances to mitigate the unspeakable. Bad cultural languages slap you on the wrist "you should never have wound up here in the first place".

      Which is where I think the majority of languages conceived in university settings have failed. In universities, they seem to lack a deep unstanding of just how big a mess the real world can dump on your lap, where everyone involved was trying to make the best of a bad situation, and plenty of people involved were well aware of what should and shouldn't be done, but they wound up in bad place regardless.

      One could argue that Visual Basic was a cultural language, but granting an award for VB would be like adding the first person who ever sent a spam to the hackers hall of fame.

      Lest we forget: spam was a stellar hack. It exploited technical and cultural weaknesses within a system and its establishment to turn the system against itself. Hackers have a curious trait of not being too impressed by getting a dose of their own medicine, or admitting that it happened either.
  • by AyeRoxor! ( 471669 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:25AM (#8237581) Journal
    "Definitely a few names that probably don't deserve to be on the list"
    Definitely probably?

    /pick one

  • by Noryungi ( 70322 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:27AM (#8237612) Homepage Journal
    Straight from the article:

    Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson
    An elegant, open operating system for minicomputers, UNIX helped users with general computing, word processing and networking, and soon became a standard language.

    Ah well. At least they got 90% of that article right... *sigh*
    • Also from article:
      introduced the word "hacker" into the vernacular when he accidentally unleashed an Internet worm in 1988
      When I was a junior in high school, I wrote a paper about hackers. I was living in a podunk West Texas town and the term hacker was certainly in the 'vernacular' (that word always makes me think of worms) then; I graduated in '87. Methinks the authors sense of time, or his desire to 'sex up' his article, are off a bit.
  • JEFF K! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Lieutenant_Dan ( 583843 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:27AM (#8237614) Homepage Journal
    Man, I still remember when he rooted my VCR and had it constantly play Space Quest 2 for hours!
  • by grungebox ( 578982 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:28AM (#8237617) Homepage
    Is she in the hackers hall of fame? Perhaps Matthew Lillard as well? Where are AcidBurn and ZeroCool when you need 'em?
  • Huh? (Score:3, Funny)

    by black666 ( 630792 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:28AM (#8237629) Homepage Journal
    Who is this Linus Torvalds guy?
    Must be one of those lunatics, who think they can write an entire OS and change the world ... yeahh
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:31AM (#8237659)
    check the wayback machine: /t

    July 2001. I've seen this page in about every other google search i've ever done on one of these guys.
  • by Em Emalb ( 452530 ) * <> on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:31AM (#8237666) Homepage Journal
    Em Emalb

    Handle: (door knob)

    Claim to fame: A hacker of the old skool (fool), Em Emalb walked in off the street and got a job
    at McDonald's Artificial Meat Lab in 1975. He was an undergraduate at Hardees at the time.
    Disturbed that meat was murder, Em Emalb later founded the Free Meat Foundation.

    First encountered a computer: In 1991, at the place known as his bedroom. He was 16 years old.

    Unusual tools: In the 1980s Em Emalb left McDonald's payroll but continued to work from a register at McDonalds.
    Here he created a new operating system called GFries -- short for GNU's Fries really irritate everyone, sucka.

    Little-known fact: Recipient of minimum wage for several years.

    Current status: Em Emalb has just finished reading a book, Penthouse Letters, a tribute to hot sweaty sex.
    This book is available via Penthouse, Inc.
  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:34AM (#8237699) Homepage
    I don't think people like Richard Stallman, Ken Thompson, and Eric Raymond want to be put in the same category as Kevin Mitnick and Cap'n Crunch. Lumping them together seems to me like an opportunity for Darl McBride to go "Look! All the Linux people are really crooked hackers!"
    • by hetairoi ( 63927 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @12:24PM (#8238373) Homepage
      while I'm sure most /. folk can make the distinction between bad guy/good guy/grey guy hackers I did find it disturbing that Woz is listed right after Vladimir Levin.

      Many hackers, including Woz, have delved into the dark side, if just to gain more understanding of it. But because of poor laws and public perception many good computer professionals get lumped in with criminals. Look at it this way, could Dennis Ritchie break into your computer and steal your credit card information? The answer is yes, he's a smart guy and if he put his mind to it he could likely figure out a way to do it. Most people would freak out and say he is an 'evul hacker' but just because someone has knowledge of how something works doesn't mean they will use it for criminal purposes. Would Dennis Ritchie actually do that? Certainly not, but not because he lacks the knowledge.

      To many people computer professionals are wizards. Casting archaic spells that create something from nothing on the screen in front of them. They don't understand it and they fear it. Just like in my last job as a network admin, the owner of the company found out I had access to all the accounting info. He wanted to limit my access to it and I had to explain to him the power I held over his network. I don't think it was comforting to him, but he did finally realize I had access to everything and why I had that access.

      So yeah, putting Stallman, Thompson, Ritchie and other non-lawbreaking profressionals into a list with with criminals and publicity seekers like Mitnick and Levin doesn't help the public image of computer folk in general. But it's hardly a fine line of good or bad. I do wonder though, if it were the 'Engineers Hall of Fame' would Said Bahaji be on the list?

  • by metroid composite ( 710698 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:38AM (#8237744) Homepage Journal
    From the article itself:
    Eric Steven Raymond

    Eric Steven Raymond is the granddaddy of today's hackers, a man who revels in living the life in all its geeky glory. According to him, "The world is full of fascinating problems waiting to be solved."

    Annoyed by the fact that most people misuse the term "hacker," he wrote The Hacker's Dictionary and How to Be a Hacker. (Raymond says the basic difference is that "hackers build things, crackers break them.")

    Not only is he respected for his astounding skills as a programmer, but Raymond is also valued as a fierce defender of the Open Source Movement, which is based on the premise that programmers should be able to read and modify all software source codes. In this IT paradise, programmers would be able to improve software and fix any potentially lethal bugs. Steve Wozniak would be a god. Bill Gates would be the serpent.

    In addition to programming, Raymond is also a fan of libertarianism, neo-paganism and the right to bear arms.

  • Keven Mitnick (Score:5, Informative)

    by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:42AM (#8237802) Homepage
    Keven Mitnick will be interviewed for three hours tonight on Coast to Coast AM radio. Check the website for local station listings.

    Ya ya ya, I topic. But I had to...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    It clearly shows the direct connection between UNIX, Linux, the FSF, GNU, and C to criminal behavior around the world. The article shines new light on the subject by properly illuminating who the ring leaders of the worlds cybercriminals are.

    At keast that seems like the logical conclusion to dumping the worlds greatest computer innovators in with the worlds greatest computer criminals and then calling them all equal.

    Maybe I need to take another course in propositional calculus but I'm fairly certain that
  • by scubacuda ( 411898 ) <> on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:46AM (#8237853)
    Not nearly half as informative as this site [].

    Which hacked code? And which preferred to hack away at victims' corpses instead? :)

  • Cap'n Crunch (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Eklypz ( 731361 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:47AM (#8237863)
    How come they do not mention Cap'n Crunch running around all bug-eyed at raves in the Bay Area? Saw him going to them for up until I left the area in '96, came back in '03 and still raving. Sad thing is, few of my friends out there had ever heard of him :( Gives you perspective on our personal realities.
    • Re:Cap'n Crunch (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dr_dank ( 472072 )
      How come they do not mention Cap'n Crunch running around all bug-eyed at raves in the Bay Area?

      Probably for the same reason they omit his "energy workouts" that he was trying to get the younger boys at H2K to do with him.
    • Re:Cap'n Crunch (Score:3, Interesting)

      by British ( 51765 )
      No, the sadder thing is when I asked about the Cap'N showing kids how to do "crunch ups", and getting several replies confirming the rumor.
  • by Noryungi ( 70322 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:49AM (#8237908) Homepage Journal
    If I remember well, Robert Morris father (former NSA scientist if I remember well) also worked on Multics, the "ancestor" of UNIX.

    One day, programmers saw Rober Morris Sr go to a Multics console. He called everyone in the room to him. Then, once he had everyone complete attention, he hit three keys at the same time on the console... and crashed Multics completely.

    He then left the room without saying a word, leaving all the others scratching their heads...

    I don't know if the story is true, or what were the three keys he pressed, but with a father like that, it's no wonder young Robert Morris Jr ended up a hacker! ;-)
  • Hacker vs. Cracker (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JohnGrahamCumming ( 684871 ) * <> on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:53AM (#8237952) Homepage Journal
    When is this stupid argument going to die? It's now totally pointless to try to force the definition of hacker [] to be someone who writes code and cracker [] to be what the mass media calls a hacker. Languages are living things and just because Eric Raymond would like to define hacker as it was at one point in time is irrelevant to current usage. Even conferences like H2K [] are more about hacking in the cracking sense than hacking.

    This is similar to trying to argue that the word gay [] is not associated with homosexual men now; it's time to get over the old definitions of words (particularly slang words) and move on.

    Otherwise we'd all be walking around using the word ace [] to describe things that are currently considered phat [].

    • Not that simple. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TRACK-YOUR-POSITION ( 553878 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @12:40PM (#8238632)
      A hacker isn't just someone who writes code--it implies a very disorganized, chaotic approach to writing code or dealing with any formal system or machine. Thus, some crackers are also hackers. Which is why the distinction must continue to be made--there is a viewpoint that all computer programming that is not done on the payroll of a CMM Level 5 Corporation or Government is somehow shady, immoral, and illegal. To accept that definition of hacker is to accept that any playfulness involving computers (except that occuring within authorized video games) is at best borderline criminal. To let "this stupid argument die" is to condemn Linux itself.

      Languages are living things, and languages are powerful things. Languages can control people, languages can liberate people. Gay people understand that, hackers would be wise to understand it to.

  • Article states Linus works for Transmeta...not anymore. He works for the Open Source Development Labs now.

    I'm glad Gates, Jobs and Ballmer are not mentioned on the list. Hackers build things, cracker break them, and ransackers like Gates sell broken things.
  • by bsDaemon ( 87307 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:56AM (#8237980)
    I read a book on the "masters of deception" many years ago. Phiber Optik became a major hero and roll model for me. I even got kind of good at using the aging telenet network to make free longdistance calls to Europe via global outdials. One of the characters mentioned in the book was also Robert T. Morris, refered to I believe just as 'rtm.' At about this time (i was 12) I started fiddling with FreeBSD, and eventually my uncle gave me a copy of RH Linux. I then started reading a lot of FSF propaganda. I started to confuse RTM and RMS. My fascination with RTM eventually turned itself into a fascination with RMS out of sheer stupidity on my part (hey, i was like 13. what the hell did i know). Then i started to think that RMS was full of it, went back to FreeBSD. Then i got turned on to communism by some fellow Irish Republicans, started to think RMS kickced ass, became as psycho HURD user, realised HURD was a piece of shit and bought a Macintosh. Now I get to be a hypocrit, especially since I am an ex phreak and [ex]decent programmer (i patched the vfat file system driver in the linux kernel once...that was about the height of my career), i've realised that i do infact hate the world wide web and now at the age of 20, after realising that computers are an instrument of fascism and that so-called "socialist" intellectuals and academics are all counter-revolutionary (Lenin, Mao, Chirac), I've quit school to become a carpenter so my fiance and i can move back to Ireland and have a nice country life and shoot loyalists. actually, this story kind of sucks....
  • still works for Transmeta? That's news to me.
  • Nomination (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PMuse ( 320639 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @12:04PM (#8238100)
    I hereby nominate this site for the Most Annoying Interface of All Time Hall of Fame. Do I hear a second?
  • by MasTRE ( 588396 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @12:30PM (#8238450)
    From the article (enjoy):

    "Vladimir Levin
    Unusual tools: Along with a computer, computer games and disks, Russian police confiscated a camcorder, music speakers and a TV set from Levin's apartment."

    Wow, a TV is indeed an unusual tool. Especially in communist Russia! (wait, it's no longer communist - someone tell Washington!) Was it a color TV? And "music speakers," you say? God damn, that's unusual! More unusual than the author's strange vocabulary.. Almost makes one think if he's a RUSSIAN SPY!

    "Current status:
    Citibank has since begun using the Dynamic Encryption Card, a security system so tight that no other financial institution in the world has it."

    Why does this feel like I'm reading the New York Post? Or is it a comic book that I'm thinking of? Or is it Da Source? That shit's tight, cuz!

    Another gem:
    "Richard Stallman

    Handle: None (nothing to hide!)"

    Is this article written by the gov't? Jeez. A shame that this passes for journalism in this country.

    I just stopped reading this junk after the first page and randomly-clicked Vladimir.
  • by spoonyfork ( 23307 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <krofynoops>> on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @12:32PM (#8238481) Journal
    This top X list reminds me of that funny game Programming Language Inventor or Serial Killer? []. (warning: flash site).
  • by maxwell demon ( 590494 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @12:47PM (#8238767) Journal
    ... that Linus is bigamist: "He's married with two daughters." :-)
  • by chmod ( 46600 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @01:02PM (#8238998) Homepage
    I'm mildy amused and peeved that for rms under "Handle" it says "none" and then on the next page it gives handles for Ritchie and Thompson (Their logins, just like rms!) there is rtm but not esr...


    Then as you peruse the other persons listed the author drops the whole classification scheme altogether. I think up against a deadline perhaps.

    So, no more time for posing, time to crank out the (junk) article/feature. BAH!

    I first started using UNIX systems by the courtesy of rms. His account on the * cluster was unprotected by a password and his MOTD would welcome you and suggest you set up a profile and a DOTDIR variable to keep your rc's and other state within.

    It was GREAT. Can you imagine such a thing? After some time he had to stop this and I'm sure it killed him to do it.

    This author is (as usual for "journalists) treading in deep water and is lost. Why even try to be l337 and act like you know what or who a Hacker is or what a Cracker is contrasted to a Hacker and What Crackers were also Hackers, etc...

    Since I'm in Virginia I suppose I'm a Cracker Hacker. :) The article's author would never understand the subtlety. *sigh*

Today is the first day of the rest of your lossage.