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25th Anniversary of Hackers 149

theodp writes "Sharks gotta swim; bats gotta fly; hackers gotta hack. On the 25th anniversary of Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, author Steven Levy has penned an interesting where-are-they-now follow up on the original digital revolutionaries for Wired. 'Some of my original subjects,' writes Levy, 'are now rich, famous, and powerful. They thrived in the movement's transition from insular subculture to multibillion-dollar industry, even if it meant rejecting some of the core hacker tenets. Others, unwilling or unable to adapt to a world that had discovered and exploited their passion — or else just unlucky — toiled in obscurity and fought to stave off bitterness. I also found a third group: the present-day heirs to the hacker legacy, who grew up in a world where commerce and hacking were never seen as opposing values. They are bringing their worldview into fertile new territories and, in doing so, are molding the future of the movement.' Here's hoping Google reads this and gets inspired to let Andy Hertzfeld ship whatever the hell he wants!" Glyn Moody pulls out one poignant detail from Levy's account: rms's thoughts of suicide.
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25th Anniversary of Hackers

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  • by joeflies ( 529536 ) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @03:13PM (#31914220)
    The book makes the case that RMS is the last hacker, and he even says so again in the article. Yet the book never defined hacker as being a pure-non profit hacker, since both Apple & Microsoft are both prominently featured in the book. The book also mentions the LISP wars that emerged between the various companies emerging from MIT. There's been subsequent great companies started from MIT - RSA being one example. There's been other successful projects that emerged from academics, such as Linux and Google. So where does "the last hacker" designation come from?
  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @03:32PM (#31914440)
    I was at the fringe of that world: I hung around the MIT and Stanford A.I. labs of the 1970s; I attended the Homebrew computer club meetings in the mid 1970s where the two Steve's introduced their funky wooden computer named after Beatle music. And I've attended many user and hobbyist groups since and now. The technology ebbs and flows. The the excitement and opportunity to make money, to build a company in your dorm room or "garage" is as great now as it was then. Right now we have Facebook, Twitter, and phone apps breaking out of the stalls. I cant see any real barrier to this ending for another 30 years other than people running out of imagination.
  • the real thing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by slick7 ( 1703596 ) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @03:42PM (#31914538)
    A better read and possibly a much better movie(if they ever get around to making it) is "Masters of Destruction"

    A true story about hackers and crackers that ended up in a flame war that brought down the East coast phone network. It's an amazing story from the standpoint of the phone company knowing about it from the onset. Their noob mentality was "Let's see what happens."

    Boy did they find out.
  • where are they now (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @04:55PM (#31915510)

    Well, captain crunch aka john draper, featured in the video at the bottom of the wired article (guy w/ wild hair missing teeth) I know where he is. Took hive camoing in octiber to a northern cali festaval "symbiosis". Insanely brilliant but mostly just insane. Craziest muther Ive ever went anywhere with.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @08:15PM (#31917330)

    More interesting, I thought, was the sad story of John Draper (aka "Cap'n Crunch") who Jobs and Wozniak later hired at Apple to design and build their first modems. Draper got his nickname when he figured out that the free whistles that used to come in boxes of Cap'n Crunch cereal emitted a tone of exactly 2600 Hz, which was the signal used by analog phone lines to connect to the long distance trunks of AT&T's network. Draper was eventually arrested for his phone phreaking and did some time in prison ( When I met him, he'd figured out how to clone the magnetic stripes on BART train tickets, and turn an 80 cent train ticket into a five dollar train ticket. He made my life a as poverty-stricken commuter much more bearable.

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