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:Helping Hacker Culture Grow:
If you enjoyed the Jargon File, please help the culture that created
it grow and flourish.  Here are several ways you can help:

* If you are a writer or journalist, don't say or write
{hacker} when you mean {cracker}.  If you work with writers or
journalists, educate them on this issue and push them to do the right
thing. If you catch a newspaper or magazine abusing the work `hacker',
write them and straigten them out (this appendix includes a model

* If you're a techie or computer hobbyist, get involved with
one of the free Unixes.  Toss out that lame Microsoft OS, or confine
it to one disk partition and put Linux or FreeBSD or NetBSD on the
other one.  And the next time your friend or boss is thinking about
some commercial software `solution' that costs more than it's worth,
be ready to blow the competition away with free software running over
a free Unix.

* Contribute to organizations like the Free Software
Foundation that promote the production of high-quality free software.
You can reach the Free Software Foundation at, by
phone at +1-617-542-5942, or by snail-mail at 59 Temple Place, Suite
330, Boston, MA 02111-1307 USA.

* Support the League for Programming Freedom, which opposes
over-broad software patents that constantly threaten to blow up in
hackers' faces, preventing them from developing innovative software
for tomorrow's needs.  You can reach the League for Programming
Freedom at by phone at +1 617 621 7084, or by
snail-mail at 1 Kendall Square #143, P.O.Box 9171, Cambridge,
Massachusetts 02139 USA.

* If you do nothing else, please help fight government
attempts to seize political control of Internet content and restrict
strong cryptography.  As TNHD III went to press, the so-called
`Communications Decency Act' had just been declared "unconstitutional
on its face" by a Federal court, but the government is expected to
appeal.  If it's still law when you read this, please join the effort
by the Citizens' Internet Empowerment Coalition lawsuit to have the
CDA quashed or repealed.  Surf to the Center for Democracy and
technology's home page at to see what you can do to
help fight censorship of the net.

Here's the text of a letter RMS wrote to the Wall Street Journal to
complain about their policy of using "hacker" only in a pejorative
sense.  We hear that most major newspapers have the same policy.  If
you'd like to help change this situation, send your favorite newspaper
the same letter -- or, better yet, write your own letter.

     Dear Editor:

     This letter is not meant for publication, although you can
     publish it if you wish.  It is meant specifically for you, the
     editor, not the public.

     I am a hacker.  That is to say, I enjoy playing with computers --
     working with, learning about, and writing clever computer
     programs.  I am not a cracker; I don't make a practice of
     breaking computer security.

     There's nothing shameful about the hacking I do.  But when I tell
     people I am a hacker, people think I'm admitting something
     naughty -- because newspapers such as yours misuse the word
     "hacker", giving the impression that it means "security breaker"
     and nothing else.  You are giving hackers a bad name.

     The saddest thing is that this problem is perpetuated
     deliberately.  Your reporters know the difference between
     "hacker" and "security breaker".  They know how to make the
     distinction, but you don't let them!  You insist on using
     "hacker" pejoratively.  When reporters try to use another word,
     you change it.  When reporters try to explain the other meanings,
     you cut it.

     Of course, you have a reason.  You say that readers have become
     used to your insulting usage of "hacker", so that you cannot
     change it now.  Well, you can't undo past mistakes today; but
     that is no excuse to repeat them tomorrow.

     If I were what you call a "hacker", at this point I would
     threaten to crack your computer and crash it.  But I am a hacker,
     not a cracker.  I don't do that kind of thing!  I have enough
     computers to play with at home and at work; I don't need yours.
     Besides, it's not my way to respond to insults with violence.  My
     response is this letter.

     You owe hackers an apology; but more than that, you owe us
     ordinary respect.

     			Sincerely, etc.

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