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Hardcover | $73.00 Short | £50.95 | ISBN: 9780262181785 | 547 pp. | 6 x 9 in | October 1996
Paperback | $40.00 Short | £27.95 | ISBN: 9780262680929 | 547 pp. | 6 x 9 in | October 1996

The New Hacker's Dictionary, third edition

Edited by Eric S. Raymond


This new edition of the hacker's own phenomenally successful lexicon includes more than 100 new entries and updates or revises 200 more. Historically and etymologically richer than its predecessor, it supplies additional background on existing entries and clarifies the murky origins of several important jargon terms (overturning a few long-standing folk etymologies) while still retaining its high giggle value.

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:hacker: n. [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 necessary. 2. One who programs enthusiastically (even obsessively) or who enjoys programming rather than just theorizing about programming. 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 {network, the} and {Internet address}). It also implies that the person described is seen to subscribe to some version of the hacker ethic (see {hacker ethic, the}).

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. There is thus a certain ego satisfaction to be had in identifying yourself as a hacker (but if you claim to be one and are not, you'll quickly be labeled {bogus}). See also {wannabee}.


"A sprightly lexicon."
William Safire, New York Times Magazine

"For anyone who likes to have slippery, elastic fun with language, this is a time for celebration. . . . The New Hacker's Dictionary . . . is not only a useful guidebook to very much un-official technical terms and street tech slang, but also a de facto ethnography of the early years of the hacker culture."
Mondo 2000

"My current favorite is `wave a dead chicken.' New to you? You've waved a dead chicken when you've gone through motions to satisfy onlookers (suits?), even when you're sure it's all futile. Raymond's book exhilarates. . . . The New Hacker's Dictionary, though, is not for skimming. Allot, each day, a half hour, severely timed if you hope to get any work done."
Hugh Kenner, Byte