The Hackers Manifesto, still valid today!

By Joshua Holden

The Hackers manifesto, written all the way back in 1986 by a chap called Loyd Blankenship (the mentor in "Legion of doom","Racketeers" and other hack groups) shortly after his arrest by the FBI for “being in a computer I should not have been”.

A lot of you in the wider world may have already read this but I feel it is an incredibly resounding piece of writing and encompasses the feelings of many white hat hackers and why the educational system and society as a whole needs to change and embrace people who challenge and test the systems and infrastructures.

The short essay still holds  true today if not more so and brings back sad echos to me as to how I felt failed and misunderstood by the educational system growing up.

formatting kept as was originally posted:

The Conscience of a Hacker... by The Mentor ...    1/8/86

   Another one got caught today, It's all over the papers.
"Teenager Arrested in Computer Crime Scandal", "Hacker arrested
after Bank Tampering"...

   Damn kids. They're all alike.

   But did you, in your three-piece psychology and 1950's
technobrain, ever take a look behind the eyes of a hacker? did
you ever wonder what made him tick, what forces shaped him, what
may have molded him?

   I am a hacker. Enter my world.

   Mine is a world that begins with school... I'm smarter than
most of the other kids, this crap they teach us bores me...
                    Come on...  Ain't Got All Day!!                                                   
   Damn underachiever. They're all alike.

   I'm in junior high or high school. I've listened to the
teachers explain for the fifteenth time how to reduce a
fraction. I understand it. "No Ms. Smith, I didn't show my work.
I did it in my head..."

   Damn kid. Probably copied it. They're all alike.

   I made a discovery today. I found a computer. Wait a second,
this is cool. It does what I want it to. if it makes a mistake,
it's because I screwed it up. Not Because it doesn't like me...
Or feels threatend by me...
Or thinks I'm a smart ass...
Or doesn't like teaching and shouldn't be here...

   Damn kid. All he does is play games. They're all alike.

   And then it happened... a door opened to a world... rushing
through the phone line like junk through an addict's veins, an
electronic impulse is sent out, a refuge from the day-to-day
incompetencies is sought... a board is found.

   "this is it... this is where I belong..."

   I know everyone herre... even if I've never met them, never
talked to them, may never hear from them again... I know you

   Damn kid. tying up the phone line again. They're all alike...
                    Come on...  Ain't Got All Day!!                                                   
   You bet your ass we're all alike... we've been spoon-fed baby
food at school when we hungered for steak... the bits of meat
that you did let slip through were prechewed and tasteless.
We've been dominated by sadist, or ignored by the apathetic. The
few that had something to teach us found us willing pupils, but
those few are like drops of water in the desert.

   This is our world now... the world of the electron and the
switch, the beauty of the baud. We make use of a service already
existing without paying for what could be dirt-cheap if it
wasn't run by profiteering gluttons, and you call us criminals.
we explore... and you call us criminals. We seek after
knoledge... and you call us criminals. We exist without skin
color, without nationality, without religous bias... and you
call us criminals. You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you
murder, cheat, and lie to us and try to make us believe it's for
our own good, yet we're the criminals.

   Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime
is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what
they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something
that you will never forgive me for.

                    Come on...  Ain't Got All Day!! 
I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto. You may stop this
individual, but you can't stop us all... after all, we're all alike.

+++The Mentor+++



Interesting read, can’t believe that was written over 3 decades ago



When that was written a minicomputer with eight megabytes of RAM cost about the same as a nice house. A greenscreen text-only terminal cost about the same as a decent car. People had home computers that could load space invaders from a cassette tape. Only a few people could get access to the big computers at Universities and big companies. Normal people did not have access to mainframe operating systems such as various unix clones, DEC VMS and long forgotten things like ICL and weird timesharing systems. Normal people mostly did not have access to a compiler.


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