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I have some problems with this new version of the article. I think that it blurs the boundaries between hackers and crackers, especially in the talk of "black hat" and "white hat" hackers (terms I have never heard before). "Black hat" hacking (as I understand it) seems to be the same thing as cracking. -- Simon J Kissane

Black Hat Hacking is intended to be the same thing as Cracking. I'm glad the point was clear even if I didn't write that particular section. (I did rearrange the content though.) In common use there are three meanings of the word Hacker, and I was trying to cover all three. The press doesn't generally say Black Hat Hacker, they just say Hacker, but it is a common usage, and thus should be described. -- ksmathers

Well, while I admit it is a common usage, a lot of people strongly disagree with people who break into computers being called hackers, and would rather have them called crackers. And I disagree that there are three common meanings of the term. I can only count two: hacker in the sense of an expert programmer; and hacker in the sense of someone who breaks into computers. Your 'black hat'/'white hat' distinction seems to amount to little more than a 'good' cracker / 'bad' cracker distinction. And the terms 'black hat' and 'white hat' are not in common use -- the point wasn't really clear: I had to guess what you meant, and I could only do that because I am already more than familiar with what we are talking about here. So I respectfully suggest you delete this 'black hat'/'white hat' hacker discussion, and leave it just with the 'hacker'/'cracker' distinction that was there originally. - Simon J Kissane

On the contrary, Black Hat, and White Hat are very commonly used terms among the security community. Here is a random [link] I just found. Execute a search on Google if you truly don't believe that the usage is commonplace.

I would also rather that people didn't use Hacker and Cracker interchangably. What is more I'd rather that it didn't rain on my Birthday. I can understand a certain idealistic attachment to keeping the meaning of the word secure to your own preferences, but I also have an idealistic streak. My idealistic streak is to represent without bias the actual way the world is. -- ksmathers I have recently heard of a new phrase amongst my students, (I am a computer science lecturer) which refers to hackers. It is "White Wig" hackers and refers to "Ethical hackers". The wig connection is to judges in courts of law.

def 1. fails to include hardware hackers. This should be be rewritten to be non-specific to software. (or maybe we can redefine software...)

The Description of "Guru" hacker is slightly off. The definition given in the article is more applicable to a kind of person (or hacker) known as a "Real Programmer" (sometimes people add (tm) to that.) . See the Jargon File. www.jargon.org

So what's a Guru then? Here's some suggestions, and I'll research those later when I have more time.

Generally Computer Scientists are the people that are referred to as Gurus.

Guru originally comes from iirc the india-n word for "Teacher". So, often a person might only be referred to as a guru if they actually also teach their hacking ability to others. This might only be common where I live, so YMMV

I always understood you could divide programmers up as to level of skill as in: amateur, professional, hacker, guru. Usage might only be local, YMMV.

--Kim Bruning

I checked the jargon file (as the first place to look) It defines a Guru as someone who has a "wizard?" level of skill, AND is known as a person who is a knowlege resource to others.

Checking the link to wizard reveals that a wizard is someone who has extensive knowlege of a certain subject.

I think the sum of this is that a guru hacker and a computer scientist will often be the same thing, contrary to what is currently being said here.

--Kim Bruning

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Last edited December 12, 2001 11:29 pm by 195.108.131.xxx (diff)