[Wolves] Brumcon on Midlands Today

Andy Wootton andy.wootton at wyrley.demon.co.uk
Mon Oct 4 20:45:31 BST 2004

Philip Moore wrote:

>There are many words that have been hijacked and misrepresented both
>syntactically and semantically to the detriment of the English language - I
>am sure we can all think of many examples but the term 'hacker' is a prime
>example of the desecration of the English language by the ignorant and
>misinformed (my view but there we go!).
>I will stick with the original derivation and meaning and ignore those who
>choose to use the corrupted (and incorrect in my eyes) meaning applied.
>A correct term I would propose for those miscreants who attack computer
>systems (if anyone is interested read the paper 'The Ethical Hacker') is
>'cyber criminal'.
>Philip Moore
Philip is right. I can remember it changing. I was working in Cambridge 
in about 1982 with a couple of Cambridge graduates who still had good 
links with 'the Lab'. They were furious when the gutter press started 
misusing 'their' jargon. There were subtle differences from the MIT 
definitions. At Cambridge the term hacker tended to be applied to people 
who loved computers but were not studying them officially. A 'hack' was 
clever but probably also dirty (typical British self-deprecating 
humour.) I'd studied Computer Science so I'd heard of the Internet then 
but I'd never actually seen any remote connection faster than a 300 Baud 
teletype. The PC was just being written off as a toy that would never 
catch on by everyone but accountants so most people hadn't ever come 
across the original meaning before it was corrupted. The fact that most 
hackers were also crackers (it wasn't illegal yet and they 'needed' to 
steal other people's on-line allowance to supplement their inadequate 
allocation or get free phone time to feed their habbit) muddied the 
water a tad.

My misuse of language rant: "Methodology" is the study of methods. SSADM 
etc. are methods, not methodologies. The difference is useful.

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