What is a Hacker?

Hacker: n.

[originally, someone who makes furniture with an axe]

  1. A person who enjoys exploring the details of products systems and how to stretch their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary.
  2. One who designs, builds and programs enthusiastically (even obsessively) or who enjoys getting lost in a build rather than just theorising about making.
  3. A person who is good at assembling anything quickly that functions but is not necessarily perfect looking.
  4. An expert at a particular process or program, or one who frequently does work using IT or on IT; as in ‘a Unix hacker’.
  5. An expert or enthusiast of any kind (an astronomy hacker, for example).
  6. One who enjoys the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming or circumventing limitations.
  7. [deprecated] A malicious meddler who tries to discover sensitive information by poking around.
  • Hence password hacker, network hacker.
  • The correct term for this malicious meddler is a cracker.