This post is long, long overdue: in fact, I should have started this website with this post. This is the original Hacker Manifesto by The Mentor, a member of the Legion of Doom hacker crew. It was first published 29 years ago today in Phrack magazine.
A lifetime ago.
It succinctly and eloquently expresses the nature, power, and aspirations of hacker culture, for good and for ill. In the decades since it was written, computers have become a much larger industry, but the hacker mindset and the Silicon Valley mindset should not be confused. Thereâ€™s nothing in here about IPOâ€™s, networking, or brogrammers. This is a simple, clear philosophical statement, and a call to action: both on the part of hackers, and on the part of the society with which they coexist. You can see the roots of anarcho-hacktivism right here, as tiny shoots about to go very, very big.
Another one got caught today, itâ€™s all over the papers. â€œTeenager Arrested in Computer Crime Scandalâ€, â€œHacker Arrested after Bank Tamperingâ€â€¦
Damn kids. Theyâ€™re all alike.
But did you, in your three-piece psychology and 1950â€™s technobrain, ever take a look behind the eyes of the hacker? Did you ever wonder what made him tick, what forces shaped him, what may have molded him?
I am a hacker, enter my worldâ€¦
Mine is a world that begins with schoolâ€¦ Iâ€™m smarter than most of the other kids, this crap they teach us bores meâ€¦
Damn underachiever. Theyâ€™re all alike.
Iâ€™m in junior high or high school. Iâ€™ve listened to teachers explain for the fifteenth time how to reduce a fraction. I understand it. â€œNo, Ms. Smith, I didnâ€™t show my work. I did it in my headâ€¦â€
Damn kid. Probably copied it. Theyâ€™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, itâ€™s because I screwed it up. Not because it doesnâ€™t like meâ€¦ Or feels threatened by me.. Or thinks Iâ€™m a smart ass.. Or doesnâ€™t like teaching and shouldnâ€™t be hereâ€¦
Damn kid. All he does is play games. Theyâ€™re all alike.
And then it happenedâ€¦ a door opened to a worldâ€¦ rushing through the phone line like heroin through an addictâ€™s veins, an electronic pulse is sent out, a refuge from the day-to-day incompetencies is soughtâ€¦ a board is found. â€œThis is itâ€¦ this is where I belongâ€¦â€ I know everyone hereâ€¦ even if Iâ€™ve never met them, never talked to them, may never hear from them againâ€¦ I know you allâ€¦
Damn kid. Tying up the phone line again. Theyâ€™re all alikeâ€¦
You bet your ass weâ€™re all alikeâ€¦ weâ€™ve been spoon-fed baby food at school when we hungered for steakâ€¦ the bits of meat that you did let slip through were pre-chewed and tasteless. Weâ€™ve been dominated by sadists, or ignored by the apathetic. The few that had something to teach found us willing pupils, but those few are like drops of water in the desert.
This is our world nowâ€¦ 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 wasnâ€™t run by profiteering gluttons, and you call us criminals. We exploreâ€¦ and you call us criminals. We seek after knowledgeâ€¦ and you call us criminals. We exist without skin color, without nationality, without religious biasâ€¦ 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 itâ€™s for our own good, yet weâ€™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.
I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto. You may stop this individual, but you canâ€™t stop us allâ€¦ after all, weâ€™re all alike.