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The Hacker Manifesto

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The Hacker Manifesto

(And my Story)

+++The Mentor+++
Written January 8, 1986

---and Shabda---

Written October 27, 2005

Yes I, Shabda Raaj, claim to be a hacker. Not a uberhacker like Richard Stallman, Linus, Or JRR Tolkien. But yes, following in their footsteps.

Another one got caught today, it's all over the papers. "Teenager Arrested in Computer Crime Scandal", "Hacker Arrested after Bank Tampering"...

Damn kids. They're all alike.

And who is a hacker. I have never been able to breach a network or to steal a password. Oh I almost forgot, I havent’t even tried. But yet I call myself a hacker. Yeah that’s the difference between a hacker and a cracker. Hackers build things, crackers break them. I code compulsively. I write compulsively. Sometimes I try to stop but am not able to. I code without stop. Better to stare on a computer screen than a sea side. Do you know the number of times I have read LOTR.

But did you, in your three-piece psychology and 1950's technobrain, ever take a look behind the eyes of the hacker? Did you ever wonder what made him tick, what forces shaped him, what may have molded him?

I am a hacker, enter my world...

Mine is a world that begins with school... I'm smarter than most of the other kids, this crap they teach us bores me...

Damn underachiever. They're all alike.

Oh in school I was smarter than most of my classmates. Did you see that I called them classmates, not friends? It was so difficult relating to a group of guys interested only in cricket. So difficult to talk to a guy who had not read anything except his course.

I'm in junior high or high school. I've listened to teachers explain for the fifteenth time how to reduce a fraction. I understand it. "No, Ms. Smith, I didn't show my work. I did it in my head..."

Damn kid. Probably copied it. They're all alike.

Oh I learnt percentages and decimals when everyone was learning addition. Oh I just wanted to know which of the cricketers was better. And I needed to calculate average for it. And decimals. Yeah, but I failed the math exam of that year.

I made a discovery today. I found a computer. Wait a second, this is cool. It does what I want it to. If it makes a mistake, it's because I screwed it up. Not because it doesn't like me... Or feels threatened by me.. Or thinks I'm a smart ass.. Or doesn't like teaching and shouldn't be here...

Damn kid. All he does is play games. They're all alike.

Oh the power of computer. The power to do what I want. I am not a stupid kid toiling away in college, but I am a paladin a day, a necromancer the next, a jedi later and a coder in between. The power to play games, and to make them when you get bored. Hey Ashwini you may solve Sudoku way faster than me, buts its me who could program a solution for it.

And then it happened... a door opened to a world... rushing through the phone line like heroin through an addict's veins, an electronic pulse is sent out, a refuge from the day-to-day incompetencies is sought... a board is found. "This is it... this is where I belong..." I know everyone here... even if I've never met them, never talked to them, may never hear from them again... I know you all...

Damn kid. Tying up the phone line again. They're all alike...

Oh who would like to talk to the guy next door when you could be talking to the girl on other side of the world.

You bet your ass we're all alike... we've been spoon-fed baby food at school when we hungered for steak... the bits of meat that you did let slip through were pre-chewed and tasteless. We've been dominated by sadists, or ignored by the apathetic. The few that had something to teach found us willing pupils, 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 a service already existing without paying for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn't run by profiteering gluttons, and you call us criminals. We explore... and you call us criminals. We seek after knowledge... and you call us criminals. We exist without skin color, without nationality, without religious bias... and you call us criminals. You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us and try to make us believe it's for our own good, yet we're the criminals.

This is our world now. The geek shall inherit the earth.

Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for.

I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto. You may stop this individual, but you can't stop us all... after all, we're all alike.


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