News: The Hacker's Jargon

The Hacker's Jargon

The Hacker's Jargon

I wrote a similar paper many years ago, and it looks like a good time, and a good community to revisit the topic. I guess many of you may not know that there is a Hacker's dictionary wrote long time ago, where many words still on use are defined. The document also provides a bit of etymology for the words which makes it a very nice reading.

So let me introduce you the Hacker's Jargon. The document contains a first part were the hacker's language and culture is analysed, but the part I would like to talk about today is the Glosary.

The Beginning

If you are reading this then the word Hacker must be the very first one you will want to look for in that dictionary. You will find out that the way the term is used in many on-line communities is actually the 8th definition, and it is actually been considered deprecated.

For me, and this is completely personal, the last paragraph is the one that really captures the concept. I will quote it here for those of you too lazy to click the link.

It is better to be described as a hacker by others than to describe oneself that way. Hackers consider themselves something of an elite (a meritocracy based on ability), though one to which new members are gladly welcome. There is thus a certain ego satisfaction to be had in identifying yourself as a hacker (but if you claim to be one and are not, you'll quickly be labeled bogus).

The Hacker's Hierarchy

So, there is actually quite some steps to become a hacker. Some of the terms will sound familiar for most of you, but, for the sake of completion.

  • Luser. At the very bottom of the hierarchy we found the Luser. This is a synonym of user with little or no technical knowledge. Read the entry, the story behind the term is fun.
  • Muggle. Just above a mere luser. As you can image the terms comes from the Harry Potter's Books
  • Chainiki. Next is chainiki, basically a muggle with a certain amount of willingness to learn.
  • Newbie. This term should be more familiar to you. It is use to people with little experience in a topic.
  • Script Kiddies. You all know about those. Not sure if they really fit here or at a lower level...
  • Wannabee. This is the term used for a person that wants to be a hacker and starts to know about the topic.
  • Hacker. This we had already introduced. It is cool, but it is somehow, mid-way in the hierarchy... Yes, it is.
  • Wizard. After been a hacker you can go farther and become a Wizard. There are many entries for this word, but in a sense, we can consider it as a hacker with a deep knowledge of some specific topic.
  • Guru. Then, if you are not just a wizard but a Source of All Good Bits, then you become a Guru.

What Do This Guys Do?

Well, there is also a hierarchy on the kind of things the people in our previous list can do. Let's take a look.

  • Hack. This is also a familiar term for you, but it may have a slightly different meaning for you. Hacks can also be Neat Hacks and Real hacks.
  • Black Art. This is really the awesome stuff.
  • Deep Magic. This is also Wizards stuff. It happens when the theory behind Black arts is developed
  • Heavy Wizardry. This is what happen when Deep Magic makes it into texbooks.
  • Voodoo programming. This is basically what happens when mortals uses wizards stuff...

Keep Reading

I will just leave it here. Now you know about the Hacker's Jargon. It is really a nice reading and you will learn some stuff on how all this hacking/internet thing really started (history is not always boring :). If the jargon file is not interesting enough for you, you can always for the Traditional hackers Bookshelf. I had already mentioned some of those book here, but there are quite some more.

1 Comment

You're a wizard, Harry.

Share Your Thoughts

  • Hot
  • Latest