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AM I A HACKER? by ${tenex}
It has become more than apparent to me that people selfcalling themselves hackers (in the journalistic interpretation of the word) most of the time do not know what they are talking about. People who have just read the Hacker manifesto by Mentor and find it cool make excellent wannabes, but that's all there is to it!

I've always wanted to address the issue and interview people with this belief. However, most of the time, this is not possible. Then I thought that I really don't care about the answers that these people will give me, because this will not help them to understand if they are trully hackers or not. What would definately help them is reading.

It was then that it occured to me to develop a site that could provide people with the necessary means to masterize their art, and (re)think upon their actions. For this reason I want to thank deeply the www.hack.gr operators for providing the disk space.

So let's see if you really need to read the rest of the pages... The key question to address to yourself is ``Am I a hacker?''. If the answer is ``Yes, I am damnh sure that I am!'', then please take your time to read the following statements:

I am a hacker because...

  • I make my own furniture (;-)

  • I am the one who designed and built the calculator of Antikethyra.

  • My name is among: Heron, Babbage and Thomas Eddison. N.B.: To name a few of the very first ones!

  • My name is among: Alan Turing, von Newman, Alonso Chruch, Dennis Ritche, Ken Thompson, Brian Kernighan, Rob Pike, J.D.Ullman, V.Aho, Donald Knuth, K.Bostic, M.Karels, Bill Joy, M.McKusick, Marcus J. Ranum, Paul Vixie, Paul Mockapetris, Eric Allman, Wietse Venema, Dan Farmer, Van Jacobson, Christos Papadimitriou, Dave Cutler, Christos Zoulas, Chris Demetriou, Theo de Raadt, Tim Berners-Lee, O.Shivers, J.Sussman, H.Abelson, Bjarne Stroustroup, Ron Rivest, Whitfield Diffie, Adi Shamir, Phil Zimmermann, Andy Tanenbaum, Linus Torvalds, J.Mogul, R.T.Morris, G.Spafford, S.Bellovin, B.Cheswick, Alec Muffet, Casper Dik, Erich Gamma, John Vlissides, Andrew Tridgell.

  • My nickname/handle is: Aleph1, demon9/route, Solar Designer, ReDragon, *Hobbit*, Ted the Tool, Knight Lightning, Mutter, Voyager.
    N.B.: According to ``The Hacker Crackdown'', Knight Lightning was not a hacker, but since he founded the best zine available, his contribution must be widely acknowledged.

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[BIG N.B.: Although not asked, these people are listed as hackers, since their influense in computing paved the way for us all. Their seek for knowledge in new areas (or even the mastering of technical expertise by some of them) urges the author to enlist them as true hackers. ]

  • I am (or was) editor of Phrack.

  • I have written my own compiler.

  • I have written my own Operating System.

  • I have written my own File System.

  • I have implemented my own semaphore system.

  • I have implemented my own exception handling system.

  • I have designed my own CPU.

  • I know what W stands for and have worked with it.

  • I know what the WAM and the CLAM are.

  • I know what STL and patterns are. More, I can use them effectively.

  • I know what trampoline functions are.
  • I debug directly the assembly output instead of the C or C++ code that produces it.
    N.B.: What? This can't be done? Just ask ``Lone Hawk'' and his experiences with the first versions of Borland C++ for Windows.

  • I know the ins and outs of gdb.

  • I know the ins and outs of SoftICE.

  • I have written or ported Emacs to some chopped down (16bit for example) architecture.

  • I ported (or lead the porting of) an Operating System to some architecture.

  • I write PostScript with fluency.

  • I have written a PostScript parser.
    N.B.: The interpreter is hard enough even for Adobe.

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  • My name is Bill Gates.

  • I have read ``MIT Guide to lockpicking''.

  • I read Bugtraq and NTBugtraq.

  • I can run Crack.

  • I can write C damnh well, but do not know what the comma (,) operator does.

  • I know Visual C++ and can write nice GUI programs. Why do people use STL, that I cannot understand.

  • I have read (but not understood) 117.ps and have a program that works as in there.

  • I know Excell, WordBasic and Visual Basic.

  • I like the internEt. What is all this fuss with the RFCs though? I find them dull and uninteresting documents.

  • I know what BGP stands for: It stands for Pretty Good Privacy. Where did you get that B, I do not know. What's more, it's not even pretty good. I can crack it in 15 minutes with a simple AWK script. And I do not even need the private and public keys, nor the passphrase.

  • it's Unix! I know this system!
Well, assuming you apply pattern matching techniques (of course this implies that you know what they are) if your match is bellow the horizontal line, then you need work!

This site's aim is to give you the pointers needed to make you able to reach hackerdom. Whether you will be a hacker after being done with it, it is up to you. The author, although matches some of the above-the-line criteria does not claim to be a hacker.

It is the author's belief that one is a hacker when one has developed both technical skills and ethical ones. Assuming that the author has reached at least some point of technical excellence, [the author] has a long long ethical road to walk. Since ethics is something personal to oneself, pointers to enlight your technical darkness (sic) will be posted here.

tenex@hack.gr
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