Discussion:
[CM] the era of hackers is over
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RS Wood
2018-04-30 01:45:40 UTC
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From the «nice while it lasted» department:
Title: The Era of Hackers is Over
Author: janrinok
Date: Sat, 28 Apr 2018 09:54:00 -0400
Link: https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=18/04/28/0726245&from=rss

fliptop[1] writes:

Over at ACM[2] Yegor Bugayenko writes[3]:

In the 1970s, when Microsoft and Apple were founded, programming was an art
only a limited group of dedicated enthusiasts actually knew how to perform
properly. CPUs were rather slow, personal computers had a very limited amount
of memory, and monitors were lo-res. To create something decent, a programmer
had to fight against actual hardware limitations.

In order to win in this war, programmers had to be both trained and talented
in computer science, a science that was at that time mostly about algorithms
and data structures.

[...] Most programmers were calling themselves "hackers," even though in the
early 1980s this word, according to Steven Levy's book Hackers: Heroes of the
Computer Revolution, "had acquired a specific and negative connotation."
Since the 1990s, this label has become "a shibboleth that identifies one as a
member of the tribe," as linguist Geoff Nunberg pointed out[4].

[...] it would appear that the skills required of professional and successful
programmers are drastically different from the ones needed back in the 1990s.
The profession now requires less mathematics and algorithms and instead
emphasizes more skills under the umbrella term "sociotech." Susan Long
illustrates in her book Socioanalytic Methods: Discovering the Hidden in
Organizations and Social Systems that the term "sociotechnical systems" was
coined by [5]Eric Trist[6] et al. in the World War II era based on their work
with English coal miners at the Tavistock Institute in London. The term now
seems more suitable to the new skills and techniques modern programmers need.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Original Submission[7]

Read more of this story[8] at SoylentNews.

Links:
[1]: http://soylentnews.org/~fliptop/ (link)
[2]: http://www.acm.org/ (link)
[3]: https://cacm.acm.org/blogs/blog-cacm/227154-the-era-of-hackers-is-over/fulltext (link)
[4]: https://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2014/01/16/263088398/hackers-techies-what-to-call-san-franciscos-newcomers (link)
[5]: http://us.karnacbooks.com/product/socioanalytic-methods-discovering-the-hidden-in-organisations-and-social-systems/33236/ (link)
[6]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Trist (link)
[7]: http://soylentnews.org/submit.pl?op=viewsub&subid=26270 (link)
[8]: https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=18/04/28/0726245&from=rss (link)
Big Bad Bob
2018-05-02 18:41:13 UTC
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Post by RS Wood
Title: The Era of Hackers is Over
Author: janrinok
Date: Sat, 28 Apr 2018 09:54:00 -0400
Link: https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=18/04/28/0726245&from=rss
<snip>
Post by RS Wood
[...] it would appear that the skills required of professional and successful
programmers are drastically different from the ones needed back in the 1990s.
The profession now requires less mathematics and algorithms and instead
emphasizes more skills under the umbrella term "sociotech."
ew, my lunch is coming up now... (it tastes like 'feel')

yeah I know it's the opinion of the article-writer, but I couldn't
disagree MORE. It sounds like an EXCUSE by 'education' institutions to
INDOCTRINATE engineers into their touchy-feely-snowflake-safe_space
mentality.

Maybe there's a REAL advantage to:
a) being treated like an OUTCAST because of your 'geekiness';
b) learning to FIGHT BACK using your inherent talents;
c) becoming a stand-alone powerhouse and NOT needing others to get
things done

Yeah, that would be 'old school' hackers. If I read that article
snippet correctly, the new bunch who thinks they're 'hackers' aren't
'hackers' at all. They're too willing to go along with the crowd. That
would be the #1 indicator that they're NOT hackers, because [as the
Jargon file would point out], a hacker is known for UNCONVENTIONAL (and
usually highly creative) solutions to problems.
Huge
2018-05-02 21:25:05 UTC
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Post by Big Bad Bob
Post by RS Wood
Title: The Era of Hackers is Over
Author: janrinok
Date: Sat, 28 Apr 2018 09:54:00 -0400
Link: https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=18/04/28/0726245&from=rss
<snip>
Post by RS Wood
[...] it would appear that the skills required of professional and successful
programmers are drastically different from the ones needed back in the 1990s.
The profession now requires less mathematics and algorithms and instead
emphasizes more skills under the umbrella term "sociotech."
ew, my lunch is coming up now... (it tastes like 'feel')
[17 lines snipped]

The source article is here;

https://cacm.acm.org/blogs/blog-cacm/227154-the-era-of-hackers-is-over/fulltext

"They ["new age" programmers (my term)] need to know how to communicate
with the open source community to find the needed components, to request
features, and to learn bug fixes from their developers."

These people are not programmers. They are just a slightly better class
of luser.
--
Today is Boomtime, the 49th day of Discord in the YOLD 3184
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
[_ ] |_| (_] ]_ |_| (_]
2018-06-29 04:27:28 UTC
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] |_| (_] _[ _[ ]- /_\ |/_ [. Huge

[snip]
Post by Huge
These people are not programmers. They are just a slightly better class
of luser.
right proper reference to shibboleth though
Sylvia Else
2018-07-01 01:49:22 UTC
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Post by RS Wood
[...] Most programmers were calling themselves "hackers," even though in the
early 1980s this word, according to Steven Levy's book Hackers: Heroes of the
Computer Revolution, "had acquired a specific and negative connotation."
Since the 1990s, this label has become "a shibboleth that identifies one as a
member of the tribe," as linguist Geoff Nunberg pointed out[4].
I was a programmer in the early 1980s. I never referred to myself as a
"hacker". No programmer I ever knew referred to themselves as a hacker
in my hearing.

Sylvia.
Apd
2018-07-01 10:33:29 UTC
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Post by Sylvia Else
Post by RS Wood
[...] Most programmers were calling themselves "hackers," even though in the
early 1980s this word, according to Steven Levy's book Hackers: Heroes of the
Computer Revolution, "had acquired a specific and negative connotation."
Since the 1990s, this label has become "a shibboleth that identifies one as a
member of the tribe," as linguist Geoff Nunberg pointed out[4].
I was a programmer in the early 1980s. I never referred to myself as a
"hacker". No programmer I ever knew referred to themselves as a hacker
in my hearing.
That's also my experience, having started my programming career in the
1970s. I get the impression that "hacker" was used more by the Unix
community in universities. I've never had a job programming on Unix.

However, I have been called a hacker by colleagues. That was probably
because I liked to fiddle with low-level stuff, hex-edit binary
executables, dissect malware and add an easter egg to a project I was
working on.
Huge
2018-07-01 11:21:45 UTC
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Post by Sylvia Else
Post by RS Wood
[...] Most programmers were calling themselves "hackers," even though in the
early 1980s this word, according to Steven Levy's book Hackers: Heroes of the
Computer Revolution, "had acquired a specific and negative connotation."
Since the 1990s, this label has become "a shibboleth that identifies one as a
member of the tribe," as linguist Geoff Nunberg pointed out[4].
I was a programmer in the early 1980s.
+1

(Except it was the mid-70's)
Post by Sylvia Else
I never referred to myself as a
"hacker".
+1
Post by Sylvia Else
No programmer I ever knew referred to themselves as a hacker
in my hearing.
+1
--
Today is Boomtime, the 36th day of Confusion in the YOLD 3184
~ Stercus accidit ~
Paul Sture
2018-07-05 19:56:27 UTC
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Post by Huge
Post by Sylvia Else
Post by RS Wood
[...] Most programmers were calling themselves "hackers," even
though in the early 1980s this word, according to Steven Levy's book
Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, "had acquired a specific
and negative connotation." Since the 1990s, this label has become "a
shibboleth that identifies one as a member of the tribe," as
linguist Geoff Nunberg pointed out[4].
I was a programmer in the early 1980s.
+1
(Except it was the mid-70's)
Post by Sylvia Else
I never referred to myself as a
"hacker".
+1
Post by Sylvia Else
No programmer I ever knew referred to themselves as a hacker
in my hearing.
+1
Ditto to all your +1s there, though I couldn't really call myself a
programmer until 1978.
--
Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing.
-- Sylvia Plath
Nyssa
2018-07-01 12:29:24 UTC
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Post by Sylvia Else
Post by RS Wood
[...] Most programmers were calling themselves "hackers,"
[even though in the
early 1980s this word, according to Steven Levy's book
Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, "had acquired
a specific and negative connotation." Since the 1990s,
this label has become "a shibboleth that identifies one
as a member of the tribe," as linguist Geoff Nunberg
pointed out[4].
I was a programmer in the early 1980s. I never referred to
myself as a "hacker". No programmer I ever knew referred
to themselves as a hacker in my hearing.
Sylvia.
Same here, Sylvia. I was a programmer in the 1980s and never
referred to myself or other programmers as hackers.

The closest you might hear to "hacker" was referring to
using a programming "hack" to get around a problem with
hardware or the like. It had nothing to do with breaking
into systems or networks or other evil intentions.

Don't you just *love* these writers who do minimal research,
if any, then put themselves forward as knowlegable experts
to the masses?

Writer: "Oh, yeah, I checked it out. I read the wiki!"

Blah!

Nyssa, who knows that real research goes beyond a using
search engine
Richard Kettlewell
2018-07-02 07:36:09 UTC
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Post by Nyssa
Post by Sylvia Else
Post by RS Wood
[...] Most programmers were calling themselves "hackers,"
[even though in the
early 1980s this word, according to Steven Levy's book
Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, "had acquired
a specific and negative connotation." Since the 1990s,
this label has become "a shibboleth that identifies one
as a member of the tribe," as linguist Geoff Nunberg
pointed out[4].
I was a programmer in the early 1980s. I never referred to
myself as a "hacker". No programmer I ever knew referred
to themselves as a hacker in my hearing.
Same here, Sylvia. I was a programmer in the 1980s and never
referred to myself or other programmers as hackers.
The closest you might hear to "hacker" was referring to
using a programming "hack" to get around a problem with
hardware or the like. It had nothing to do with breaking
into systems or networks or other evil intentions.
I don’t know about ‘most programmers in the 1980s’ but the term has
certainly had different uses in different times and places. OED’s
earliest cite for hacker ‘person who attempts to gain unauthorized
access’ is 1963, and the other sense (‘person with an enthusiastic
interest in computer systems’) can be found as far back as 1969.
--
https://www.greenend.org.uk/rjk/
Nomen Nescio
2018-07-01 14:26:09 UTC
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Post by Sylvia Else
Post by RS Wood
[...] Most programmers were calling themselves "hackers," even though in the
early 1980s this word, according to Steven Levy's book Hackers: Heroes of the
Computer Revolution, "had acquired a specific and negative connotation."
Since the 1990s, this label has become "a shibboleth that identifies one as a
member of the tribe," as linguist Geoff Nunberg pointed out[4].
I was a programmer in the early 1980s. I never referred to myself as a
"hacker". No programmer I ever knew referred to themselves as a hacker
in my hearing.
Good. Only posers refer to themselves as hackers. You have to earn the
title of "hacker." A peer must confer it on you for it to have any
meaning. Here's the formal definition of "hacker" in the jargon file:

HACKER [originally, someone who makes furniture with an axe] n. 1. A
person who enjoys learning the details of programming 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, or who
enjoys programming rather than just theorizing about programming. 3. A
person capable of appreciating hack value (q.v.). 4. A person who is
good at programming quickly. Not everything a hacker produces is a hack.
5. An expert at a particular program, or one who frequently does work
using it or on it; example: "A SAIL hacker". (Definitions 1 to 5 are
correlated, and people who fit them congregate.) 6. A malicious or
inquisitive meddler who tries to discover information by poking around.
Hence "password hacker", "network hacker".
Mike Spencer
2018-07-01 20:32:49 UTC
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Post by Nomen Nescio
Post by Sylvia Else
Post by RS Wood
[...] Most programmers were calling themselves "hackers," even
though in the early 1980s this word, according to Steven Levy's
book Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, "had acquired a
specific and negative connotation." Since the 1990s, this label
has become "a shibboleth that identifies one as a member of the
tribe," as linguist Geoff Nunberg pointed out[4].
I was a programmer in the early 1980s. I never referred to myself as a
"hacker". No programmer I ever knew referred to themselves as a hacker
in my hearing.
Good. Only posers refer to themselves as hackers. You have to earn the
title of "hacker." A peer must confer it on you for it to have any
meaning.
Just so. For over a decade from the mid 80s to the mid 90s, for
reasons initially unrelated to computers, I spent 2 or 3 or more weeks
a year hanging out with hard-core Unix programmers at MIT. "Hacker"
was the common appelation for a programmer although no one ever
introduced h{im,er}self as a hacker or pronounced h{im,er}self one.

But that may have been a more or less local MIT usage, left over from
ealier days when MIT was one of a very few places of the sort that it
was in earlier days.
Post by Nomen Nescio
HACKER [originally, someone who makes furniture with an axe] n. 1. A
person who enjoys learning the details of programming 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, or who
enjoys programming rather than just theorizing about programming. 3. A
person capable of appreciating hack value (q.v.). 4. A person who is
good at programming quickly. Not everything a hacker produces is a hack.
5. An expert at a particular program, or one who frequently does work
using it or on it; example: "A SAIL hacker". (Definitions 1 to 5 are
correlated, and people who fit them congregate.) 6. A malicious or
inquisitive meddler who tries to discover information by poking around.
Hence "password hacker", "network hacker".
Defs 1-5 at MIT, but also perpetrator of a clever, typically
spectacular prank, ideally one requireing skill and/or insight in some
kind of technology.
--
Mike Spencer Nova Scotia, Canada
Bob Eager
2018-07-02 20:16:11 UTC
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Defs 1-5 at MIT, but also perpetrator of a clever, typically spectacular
prank, ideally one requireing skill and/or insight in some kind of
technology.
http://hacks.mit.edu/Hacks/

And this is relatively little known, being one that required engineering
skill (some of it social engineering).

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1030091/Revealed-50-years-The-
secret-greatest-student-prank.html
--
Using UNIX since v6 (1975)...

Use the BIG mirror service in the UK:
http://www.mirrorservice.org
Richard Kettlewell
2018-07-03 19:16:28 UTC
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Post by Bob Eager
Defs 1-5 at MIT, but also perpetrator of a clever, typically spectacular
prank, ideally one requireing skill and/or insight in some kind of
technology.
http://hacks.mit.edu/Hacks/
And this is relatively little known, being one that required engineering
skill (some of it social engineering).
Yes, and I think this explains the dual meaning in computing. The
engineering part of “skilled prank” drove the “expert programmer” usage
while the convention- or rule-breaking part of “prank” the “unauthorized
access” usage. We could have saved a lot of people moaning about
whichever usage they didn’t like if they’d paid attention to the
etymology l-)
--
https://www.greenend.org.uk/rjk/
Bob Eager
2018-07-03 23:39:36 UTC
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Post by Richard Kettlewell
Post by Bob Eager
Post by Mike Spencer
Defs 1-5 at MIT, but also perpetrator of a clever, typically
spectacular prank, ideally one requireing skill and/or insight in some
kind of technology.
http://hacks.mit.edu/Hacks/
(a bit snipped here, so the following comment is not actually about MIT;
just for the avoidance of doubt)
Post by Richard Kettlewell
Post by Bob Eager
And this is relatively little known, being one that required
engineering skill (some of it social engineering).
Yes, and I think this explains the dual meaning in computing. The
engineering part of “skilled prank” drove the “expert programmer” usage
while the convention- or rule-breaking part of “prank” the “unauthorized
access” usage. We could have saved a lot of people moaning about
whichever usage they didn’t like if they’d paid attention to the
etymology l-)
--
Using UNIX since v6 (1975)...

Use the BIG mirror service in the UK:
http://www.mirrorservice.org
Paul Sture
2018-07-05 20:21:22 UTC
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Post by Bob Eager
And this is relatively little known, being one that required engineering
skill (some of it social engineering).
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1030091/Revealed-50-years-The-
secret-greatest-student-prank.html
From that article:

"The next day the bizarre sight enthralled crowds of onlookers as attempts
by the authorities to construct a crane to hoist it back down failed."

Something that both puzzled and amused me at college was the attempts by
official bodies (college staff, the local council and British Rail in the
examples I am thinking of) to remove such pranks themselves.

A simple donation to the Rag Week charity supported that year would have
had the offending materials removed by those who had put them there in
the first place.
--
Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing.
-- Sylvia Plath
Bob Eager
2018-07-05 21:02:06 UTC
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Post by Paul Sture
Post by Bob Eager
And this is relatively little known, being one that required
engineering skill (some of it social engineering).
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1030091/Revealed-50-years-The-
secret-greatest-student-prank.html
"The next day the bizarre sight enthralled crowds of onlookers as attempts
by the authorities to construct a crane to hoist it back down failed."
Something that both puzzled and amused me at college was the attempts by
official bodies (college staff, the local council and British Rail in
the examples I am thinking of) to remove such pranks themselves.
A simple donation to the Rag Week charity supported that year would have
had the offending materials removed by those who had put them there in
the first place.
I doubt it. They were afraid of repercussions. It took 50 years to
confess!
--
Using UNIX since v6 (1975)...

Use the BIG mirror service in the UK:
http://www.mirrorservice.org
Paul Sture
2018-07-06 01:17:46 UTC
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Post by Bob Eager
Post by Paul Sture
Post by Bob Eager
And this is relatively little known, being one that required
engineering skill (some of it social engineering).
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1030091/Revealed-50-years-The-
secret-greatest-student-prank.html
"The next day the bizarre sight enthralled crowds of onlookers as attempts
by the authorities to construct a crane to hoist it back down failed."
Something that both puzzled and amused me at college was the attempts by
official bodies (college staff, the local council and British Rail in
the examples I am thinking of) to remove such pranks themselves.
A simple donation to the Rag Week charity supported that year would have
had the offending materials removed by those who had put them there in
the first place.
I doubt it. They were afraid of repercussions. It took 50 years to
confess!
My last sentence was referring to a comment made by one of the climbing
club at my university, but yes, repercussions were likely to be dire
even back in the more enlightened 70s.
--
Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing.
-- Sylvia Plath
Marko Rauhamaa
2018-07-01 18:58:31 UTC
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Post by Nomen Nescio
HACKER [originally, someone who makes furniture with an axe] n. 1. A
person who enjoys learning the details of programming 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, or who enjoys programming rather than just
theorizing about programming. 3. A person capable of appreciating hack
value (q.v.). 4. A person who is good at programming quickly. Not
everything a hacker produces is a hack. 5. An expert at a particular
"A SAIL hacker". (Definitions 1 to 5 are correlated, and people who
fit them congregate.) 6. A malicious or inquisitive meddler who tries
to discover information by poking around. Hence "password hacker",
"network hacker".
In my usage, a hacker has always been someone skilled in programming but
no idea of or respect for style, taste or structure. A hacker is someone
who doesn't understand your objections to their pull request -- "it
works so what are you complaining about?"


Marko
Huge
2018-07-02 18:56:30 UTC
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Not a definitive reference, IMNHO.
--
Today is Pungenday, the 37th day of Confusion in the YOLD 3184
~ Stercus accidit ~
Paul Sture
2018-07-05 20:08:31 UTC
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Post by Marko Rauhamaa
In my usage, a hacker has always been someone skilled in programming
but no idea of or respect for style, taste or structure. A hacker is
someone who doesn't understand your objections to their pull request
-- "it works so what are you complaining about?"
I've definitely come across that meaning, where the offender is often
referred to by a pejorative adjective such as "dirty hacker".

FWIW I never liked the word "guru" wrt a knowledgeable computing
professional, either.
--
Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing.
-- Sylvia Plath
Paul Sture
2018-07-05 19:53:00 UTC
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Post by Sylvia Else
Post by RS Wood
[...] Most programmers were calling themselves "hackers," even though in the
early 1980s this word, according to Steven Levy's book Hackers: Heroes of the
Computer Revolution, "had acquired a specific and negative connotation."
Since the 1990s, this label has become "a shibboleth that identifies one as a
member of the tribe," as linguist Geoff Nunberg pointed out[4].
I was a programmer in the early 1980s. I never referred to myself as a
"hacker". No programmer I ever knew referred to themselves as a hacker
in my hearing.
I started programming in 1977, well, proper programming in 1978 really.

I was called a hacker by a colleague just the once, in the mid-80s, and
it was meant as a humorous insult. FWIW I've always understood the word
"hacker" to have the negative connotations it had before I heard of it
in a computing context, as per this entry from the OED:

"a person or thing that hacks or cuts roughly."
--
Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing.
-- Sylvia Plath
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