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October 2009
November 2009

2009-10-14 »

Paul Buchheit on "Hacking"

Buchheit has produced a really good article that, at last, clearly describes the nature of "hacking."

I especially like how he handles the debate about hacking being a good thing ("clever hack") or a bad thing (eg. illegal breakins). Some people propose that we use two different words ("hacker" and "cracker"), but those never quite feel right. The essay explains why.

    Once the actual rules are known, it may be possible to perform "miracles" -- things which violate the perceived rules. [...] Although this terminology is occasionally disputed, I think it is essentially correct -- these hackers are discovering the actual rules of the computer systems (e.g. buffer overflows), and using them to circumvent the intended rules of the system (typically access controls).

    -- Paul Buchheit, Applied Philosophy, aka Hacking

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