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Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution Paperback – January 1, 2001
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Steven Levy's classic book explains why the misuse of the word "hackers" to describe computer criminals does a terrible disservice to many important shapers of the digital revolution. Levy follows members of an MIT model railroad club--a group of brilliant budding electrical engineers and computer innovators--from the late 1950s to the mid-1980s. These eccentric characters used the term "hack" to describe a clever way of improving the electronic system that ran their massive railroad. And as they started designing clever ways to improve computer systems, "hack" moved over with them. These maverick characters were often fanatics who did not always restrict themselves to the letter of the law and who devoted themselves to what became known as "The Hacker Ethic." The book traces the history of hackers, from finagling access to clunky computer-card-punching machines to uncovering the inner secrets of what would become the Internet. This story of brilliant, eccentric, flawed, and often funny people devoted to their dream of a better world will appeal to a wide audience. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
"A remarkable collection of characters . . . courageously exploring mindspace, an inner world where nobody had ever been before." -- The New York Times
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By the way, I am a retire school band teacher, h.s. principal, and superintendent. I enjoyed it both as a nerd and as a former public organization CEO. Highly recommend. Levy did a great job researching and writing as well as updating recent editions! Thanks Steven!
I would also recommend it to people who are not technical so that they can understand the mindset and psychology of hackers better. The distinction between the styles of serious business computing and passionate, obsessive, creative and innovative hacking pushing the boundaries is also made very clear in the book. That distinction still exists today, even though the flagship of modern hacking GNU/Linux is becoming more and more of a business commodity rather than a risky playground for trying out really groundbreaking ideas. I also recommend the book to programmers, hackers and technical managers so that they know more about the past of their field. The roads taken and the roads not takes.
I must admit that I learned much more about the history of Homebrew Computer Club and game hacking from this book, wish it contained more stories about Commodore, ZX Spectrum and Amiga.
So grab some Chinese food, set up your hacking environment, put this book on your desk and give it a go! :)
This will become my recommendation to anyone interested in computers or applications.
I hope Mr.Levy would cover the current advancements in a second book with more detail, rather than the appendix provided.
This is the definite history. A must read for anyone in IT. I am grateful to have inherited this legacy.