Monday, 10 December 2012

Hackers, Crackers, Slackers

I think of myself as a hacker. I know enough to be useful and that is a super-set of, "enough to be dangerous." [0] In private that is how I would describe my computer skills, but publicly we have a problem. Us computer artisans are known in the public media as hackers if we break the law, (or cause a nuisance.)

Some of the hacker community wanted to distance themselves from negative activity without relinquishing their title, so they came up with the term Cracker for Crazy-hacker, (not really, more like probably "work for organised crime or spam-lords" but W.O.C.O.S.L. didn't catch on. )

While looking for a javascript user-data lib I found a blog entry by Constantine. This reminded me of Neuromancer. (OK, so we call them firewalls rather than ICE - though I would have liked that, we already have enough TLAs in my world - Gibson got a lot of it right.) [1]

So I thought to propose we have three scales:
    Wintermute scale is how law abiding they are. (Fully WM would should be imprisoned.)
    Neuromancer is how powerful someone is, (Neuro, is top of the scale.)
          and
    H.Case is how good/kind they are.

Then I realised that
  1. Language evolves rather than is created or forced
  2. I'm just re-creating role-playing character alignment, (and not very well.)
  3. I've tried this before with 
So how do we get hacker = lawful;good and cracker = chaotic;evil ? Add your ideas to the comments.


[0] I've often met script-kiddies who, "know enough to be dangerous, but not enough to be useful".
[1] Though I still prefer Snow Crash, (thanks Shish).

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