Sunday, August 14, 2005


I just found this document on the net entitled "How To Become A Hacker" By Eric Raymond. I read through a bit of it and I couldn't believe it. I stopped reading it immediately. Am I the only programmer offended by crap like this? I hate the words "geek" and "nerd". And "hacker" to me means someone who programs Big Balls Of Mud and doesn't care. This kind of junk just keeps stereotypes of smart people alive. It's derogatory and offensive. It's like the stereotypes of southern people. We don't all live in trailer parks and listen to country music. It's just like not all smart people are social misfits, play dungeons and dragons, and can't wash ourselves properly. I'm tired of the demonizing of intelligent people. We are the problem solvers of the world and you'd think that would be respected and revered. You'd think we wouldn't perpetuate bull crap like this. OK, ok, I'll get off my soapbox.


Anonymous said...

Blaine, what happened?

I'm not used to this kind of comments coming from you. I call myself a hacker and I didn't see anything offensive.

Am I the only programmer offended by crap like this? I hate the words "geek" and "nerd". And "hacker" to me means someone who programs Big Balls Of Mud and doesn't care.

I guess that sums it up, you seem prejudiced by some words so you refused to read the actual information. If you read a bit larger part of the doc you'll see that it doesn't line up with 'not caring' about big balls of mud hackers create.

Wish you a better mood ;-)

John Dougan said...

Dude, calm down. Have some dip.

I used to be offended by "geek" and "nerd" but in the last 10 years there has been an effort to reclaim the words as our own. It's something like whats happening to the words "gay", "queer", "fag", etc. in the gay community. You take the word and use it in a positive manner to change it's meaning and wrest control of it from thoses who would use it in a derogatory manner.

Some pretty good definitions of the term "Hacker" are below...The standard community usage is much more positive than you make it out to be.

Unknown said...

First off, I know my comments were harsh, probably too harsh. It's what I was feeling at the moment. I just needed to vent. I know the historical usage of "hacker" is very positive. But, after hearing so many people use it to mean "bad programmer" it got programmed into me wrong. I'm still working through that because a lot of my heros use it to describe themselves. Maybe one day, I'll come out and proclaim myself a "hacker". One never knows.

I was mainly offended on a big "how to become a programmer" type of document. To me, all you need is a "how to program" and a thirst for how to make computers do your bidding. The rest will come naturally. Describing how to be become accepted in the community by reading science fiction (one example from the "Points For Style") was just silly. I did like the section: "The Hacker Attitude". I guess the document came off to me like a "dummies" book. Hence, my "rant".

Now, on to "nerd" and "geek", the way I feel about them is that they are mean words. Something I would never call a friend. I just don't like mean words.

I'm in a better mood now. But, I've seen stuff lately on "how to date geeks", "how to talk to a nerd", and etc. And I guess the last straw was the "how to become a geek".

I really do need to get over my definition of "hacker" though. I'll work on that one...=)