Some definitions I found on http://dict.die.net inspired while reading some of the entries of georgis’ Journal so if you are interested read on. Definitions for Geek, Hacker and Cracker 😉
A person who has chosen concentration rather than conformity; one who pursues skill (especially technical skill) and imagination, not mainstream social acceptance. Geeks usually have a strong case of neophilia. Most geeks are adept with computers and treat hacker as a term of respect, but not all are hackers themselves – and some who _are_ in fact hackers normally call themselves geeks anyway, because they (quite properly) regard `hacker’ as a label that should be bestowed by others rather than self-assumed.
- 1. A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and how to stretch their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary.
- 2. One who programs enthusiastically (even obsessively) or who enjoys programming rather than just theorizing about programming.
- 3. A person capable of appreciating hack value.
- 4. A person who is good at programming quickly.
- 5. An expert at a particular program, or one who frequently does work using it or on it; as in “a Unix hacker”.
- 6. An expert or enthusiast of any kind. One might be an astronomy hacker, for example.
- 7. One who enjoys the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming or circumventing limitations.
- 8. (Deprecated) A malicious meddler who tries to discover sensitive information by poking around. Hence “password hacker”, “network hacker”. The correct term is cracker.
- 9. (University of Maryland, rare) A programmer who does not understand proper programming techniques and principles and doesn’t have a Computer Science degree. Someone who just bangs on the keyboard until something happens. For example, “This program is nothing but spaghetti code. It must have been written by a hacker”.
(Definitions 1 through 5 are correlated, and people who fit them congregate.)
The term “hacker” also tends to connote membership in the global community defined by the net (see The Network and Internet address). It also implies that the person described is seen to subscribe to some version of the hacker ethic.
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. Thus while it is gratifying to be called a hacker, false claimants to the title are quickly labelled as “bogus” or a “wannabee”.
Use of both these neologisms reflects a strong revulsion against the theft and vandalism perpetrated by cracking rings. The neologism “cracker” in this sense may have been influenced not so much by the term “safe-cracker” as by the non-jargon term “cracker”, which in Middle English meant an obnoxious person (e.g., “What cracker is this same that deafs our ears / With this abundance of superfluous breath?” — Shakespeare’s King John, Act II, Scene I) and in modern colloquial American English survives as a barely gentler synonym for “white trash”.
While it is expected that any real hacker will have done some playful cracking and knows many of the basic techniques, anyone past larval stage is expected to have outgrown the desire to do so except for immediate practical reasons (for example, if it’s necessary to get around some security in order to get some work done).
Contrary to widespread myth, cracking does not usually involve some mysterious leap of hackerly brilliance, but rather persistence and the dogged repetition of a handful of fairly well-known tricks that exploit common weaknesses in the security of target systems. Accordingly, most crackers are only mediocre hackers.
Thus, there is far less overlap between hackerdom and crackerdom than the mundane reader misled by sensationalistic journalism might expect. Crackers tend to gather in small, tight-knit, very secretive groups that have little overlap with the huge, open hacker poly-culture; though crackers often like to describe *themselves* as hackers, most true hackers consider them a separate and lower form of life, little better than virus writers. Ethical considerations aside, hackers figure that anyone who can’t imagine a more interesting way to play with their computers than breaking into someone else’s has to be pretty losing.