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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary (also found in English - English (Wordnet), )
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person, jargon (Originally, someone who makes furniture with
an axe) 1. A person who enjoys exploring the details of
programmable systems and how to stretch their capabilities, as
opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum
2. One who programs enthusiastically (even obsessively) or who
enjoys programming rather than just theorizing about
3. A person capable of appreciating hack value.
4. A person who is good at programming quickly.
5. An expert at a particular program, or one who frequently
does work using it or on it; as in "a Unix hacker".
(Definitions 1 through 5 are correlated, and people who fit
them congregate.)
6. An expert or enthusiast of any kind. One might be an
astronomy hacker, for example.
7. One who enjoys the intellectual challenge of creatively
overcoming or circumventing limitations.
8. (Deprecated) A malicious meddler who tries to discover
sensitive information by poking around. Hence "password
hacker", "network hacker". The correct term is cracker.
The term "hacker" also tends to connote membership in the
global community defined by the net (see The Network and
Internet address). It also implies that the person
described is seen to subscribe to some version of the hackerethic.
It is better to be described as a hacker by others than to
describe oneself that way. Hackers consider themselves
something of an elite (a meritocracy based on ability), though
one to which new members are gladly welcome. Thus while it is
gratifying to be called a hacker, false claimants to the title
are quickly labelled as "bogus" or a "wannabee".
9. (University of Maryland, rare) A programmer who does not
understand proper programming techniques and principles and
doesn't have a Computer Science degree. Someone who just
bangs on the keyboard until something happens. For example,
"This program is nothing but spaghetti code. It must have
been written by a hacker".