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This article was posted to the Usenet group alt.hackers in 1995; any technical information is probably outdated.

Re: "Hackers", the movie (*RANT!*)

Article: 8633 of alt.hackers
From: (Bill Napier)
Newsgroups: alt.hackers
Subject: Re: "Hackers", the movie  (*RANT!*)
Date: 19 Sep 1995 20:02:24 GMT
Organization: University of Pennsylvania
Lines: 139
Message-ID: 43n7kg$
X-Newsreader: TIN [version 1.2 PL2-upenn1.3]
Status: RO

Morgan Schweers ( wrote:

>    Some severe and odd (*PRO*-'Hackers') rants follow.  It's
>5am, and I've heard one too many slams on Hackers, and am feeling
>annoyed at our world, so...

Some reactions to the Pro Hackers rants follow.  I can't talk about
the movie, because I have yet to see it, but I can comment on the
following views.

>Some time ago (John Nagle) happily mumbled:
>>      Just saw "Hackers", the movie.  It's about as close
to reality
>>as "Ghostbusters".  Fun, but very, very light.

>    For me, someone who spent a hell of a lot of my younger life doing
>exactly those things (dueling over the ownership of a system I'd never
>seen with another who had never seen it, for example), that movie
>spoke of an attitude towards computers and knowledge that made me
>think that maybe, just maybe, those times aren't dead yet.  Maybe some
>kids today will see that movie, and go off home, and kick some ass,
>wake some Big Computer administrators up, and maybe, just maybe, learn
>something valuable about computers, information, morals, and knowledge
>itself, like I did.  (What I learned about computers is immesurable.
>Information, I learned, SHOULD be free, but isn't and won't be.  My
>morals were formed in a large part by my attitude towards the systems
>I entered.  I learned that you don't hurt people, you don't delete,
>and you don't use information against someone, as that's WRONG.  The
>knowledge of knowledge itself expanded my mind and taught me more
>about how to learn and how to know things than was ever taught in our
>godforsaken schools!)

This is like saying that it is best to learn right from wrong is
through experimentation.  Break into your neighbors house to see how
alarm systems work.  While you would learn alot about how alarm
systems work, you would probably also end up with some jail time.
Then you might learn that you shouldn't break into other people's
houses.  There are better ways to learn.  (experimentation, scientific
method, etc.)

Information is power.  Because of that, not everyone can have the same
information.  We would end up in a world with out rules, anarchy.  We
would be reverting backwards.  Intellectually devolving instead of

>I still hold someone who can creatively (not using a cookbook) break
>into a computer system as a much higher grade that anyone who writes a

>    However, I (grudgingly) still consider both far higher than
>someone who only uses a computer, and does nothing creative at all
>with it.

But with the commercialization of the computer industry, it is now
considered a status symbol to have a computer in your home, if you use
it or not.  The computer is now a tool for even the common man.
Computers are very powerful tools that most people don't know how to
use to their fullest potential.  They are supposed to save time, but
it also takes time to learn how to use them.  Kids today are growing
up with these things in their home and are learning how to use them.
Most Adults today just started to see home PC's enter the market and
are too busy with other stuff to learn how to fully use computer.

>    In another newsgroup I was just in, someone was bemoaning the fact
>that people still space-justify their text, put in page numbers by
>hand, and other nonsense, because they haven't learned their word
>processor.  Why didn't they learn it?  Because they don't have the
>WILL to learn!  THAT is, in my opinion, what hacking is about.

If everyone knew everything about their computers, where would all the
computer specialists be?  Becuase of the amount of knowledge that is
out there becuase of the technological advances of our species, no one
can know all there is to know.  That is whyy we have specialists.
Each person has to pick an area to learn all they can about and know
enough of the other areas to get by.

>    'Hackers' shows something impressive.  It shows that these kids
>are playing and exploring.  Computers have become consumer electronics
>items now.  They are 'dull'.  What's needed is something to jar
>people, make them realize there's still a WORLD untapped inside the
>box on their desks, much less this entire Internet, which is somehow
>more than a world of its own.  I'm tired of being surrounded by slaves
>to the machine, who, if the 'puter didn't exist, would be slaves to a
>typewriter, calendar, and dictaphone, just the same.  The computer is
>a freeing power, why isn't it freeing these people to work better and
>smarter and more creatively?  It *CAN*, it's just NOT.  WHY?

But this doesn't interest every person.  I think it would be
interesting, but I don't think that my Math Professor would be very
much interested in doing it, or have the time to do it.

>    On the other hand, maybe those days are gone.  Maybe everybody
>WANTS to be GUI, and touch-and-feel-interface, and RAD, and not know
>the guts of VMS or Unix, or even the guts of Windows.

But that knowledge is not necessary to the use of a computer.  There
are other people who have to know that, not just a regular loser.

>The days of writing our
>own OS's, for the fun of it.  The days when OS code was done by hand,

Once again, an intellectual regression.  We must move foward, not
backwards.  If I want to build a house, do I go out to the hardware
store, buy all the material and start building?  No, I hire people to
do the construction that are much better skilled in it than I am.

>    I sure as hell hope not.  It's the explorers, the kids who are
>turned on by what Hackers portrays, that will prevent that pristene,
>Mister Clean,

I agree now, that some kids should be the explorers and gain all that
knowledge.  That knowledge is not for everyone, but for the select few
who care enough to learn it.


Yes, this is my first post, though I've known how to do it for a


Our school has LAN connections in the dorm rooms, but you need to
request an IP address from the BOOTP server.  I was told that Linux
can't handle this and I would need to get a static IP address from the
school.  I'm still waiting for that request to be processed.

In the meantime, took my card, put it in my other PC, and did the
install.  Bingo, assigned IP address.  Moved the card over to my other
computer and used the IP address there.  Problem, jumperless card and
need to reset the address adn IRQ.  Solution, make a DOS boot disk
with the LAN card software on it.  Boot the Linunx PC into DOS from
that disk and set the jumpers.  Everything is working fine.

Bill Napier           | e-mail:
Computer Consultant   | WWW:
CETS - Univ. of Penn. | finger for more information (phone, PGP, etc.)
Do you know where your towel is?

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