Talk:Hack (term)

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I'm not really sold on the temporal organization of the meanings; if someone wants to do it by order of most common use, that would be fine with me. I did it in temporal order because it made it less twisted and duplicative to explain the etymology. One advantage of temporal order is that we don't have to re-do the article over time, and the incidence of various meanings changes. Noel (talk) 22:11, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Sigh, according to TMRC, "Hacking" (as well as "Hack" and "Hacker") were in the TMRC dictionary as of the late 1950s. So it may be that it spread to the rest of MIT from there, or perhaps it was already widespread at MIT in the 1950s. Somone is going to have to do some research to figure this one out. There's also a connection with ham radio to sort out, but as MIT people were into ham radio, maybe it went the other way. Still, this is a lot better than it was. Noel (talk) 22:17, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I agree Noel. However, I'm not going to do research. I believe I'm already correct. If MIT wants to take credit, then take credit for creating the word hack and making everyone want to be a hacker and letting in some bad crackers. Blah on MIT. --Cyberman 00:39, July 14, 2005 (UTC)

I coined a term "URL hacking" that's gotten moderately wide propagation: Google search My intro Philip Greenspun explains the current hacking scandal at Harvard Business School as url-hacking, though he doesn't use that term: PhilG weblog entry --robotwisdom 23:50, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)

The term was in independent use at Reed College in the 1960s. In those days, the emphasis was on very small programs, because of the small memory available, so the best solutions were elegant. People who wrote long programs to do simple things were called "hacks" after the literary usage: people who churned out miles of prose without thinking, because they were paid by the word. This usage was, of course, derogatory, so hacks, and later, hackers, were held in disrepute. This seems to me to be the more natural source for the current meaning, since commonly "hacking" is held in disrepute, even by those who do it. Andrew 20:22, 30 September 2005 (UTC)

I would have to object to the idea that "hacking" is held in disrepute by those who do it. The words hack and hacking can absolutely be used to imply both positive and negative things. One would probably not proudly describe a large scale program or other kind of system as a hack. But a small program or a bright idea that is a small part of something bigger could very well be described as a hack and still be held in high regard. Hacking is also seen by hackers as one of the best ways to learning new things and for that reason alone seen as a Good Thing. Bergsten 23:16, 21 November 2005 (UTC)


I propose the "practical joke" meaning of "hack" be split off to Hack (practical joke), currently a redir with about 5 links to it. What do other people think? --Unforgettableid | talk to me 21:14, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

Hack vs Crack[edit]

This article seems to be about cracking not hacking.

Hacking is a much older term meaning to use things for purposes they were not originaly designed for. For example putting a matchbook under your table to stop it from wobbling is a hack.

To get a program to work on windows that was meant for linux is a hack. To unlock features in a game that were not in the original design is a hack.

Perhaps this should be changed to a Crack (technology slang) article. Or perhaps I am wrong about this. HighInBC 18:44, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

As far as I can tell, the difference between "hacking" and "cracking" is an arbitrary one set by those who would rather have their own ideas left unmuddied by those who trek in darker waters. The fact is that many people think they fit the "true" hacker bill and that others are fakes who should go by a different name. ProfMoriarty 02:29, 9 April 2006 (UTC)
The meanings of cracking and hacking intersect (e.g. at "ingenuously bypass access control").And while some subsume scriptkiddies etc. under hacking, no one claims that "using things for purposes they were not originally designed for" should be called cracking. So at most, cracking is a subset of hacking. Which I'd prefer to be expressed more clearly in this article, but I can't think of a good way to put it right now, so maybe someone else finds a way... 20:23, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

guys this deffinition is compleetly wrong, check this: hacking Vs Cracking —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cyberjacob (talkcontribs) 12:03, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

History is wrong[edit]

Take a look through:

The origin of the term comes from MIT, where it meant something like "a clever solution to a problem," during the 1950s. The prank usage was much later. So what we have in this article is an accurate account of that later usage, but not the origins. -Harmil 20:20, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

John Nash used the word[edit]

I agree, history is wrong. It was John Nash who used the word as an insult and when he taught at MIT, the faculty and students picked it up from him.

You can find out more in the biography on him:

OMouse (talk) 23:49, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

MIT image[edit]

There is no need to have the image of the dome with the firetruck on it. It looks good on the MIT page but it has no relevance on the hacking page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:24, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Truck on top of building?[edit]

How did the hacker put that there? Did he use a simple cut and paste? Kylee20051 (talk) 15:47, 16 October 2008 (UTC) 'Bold text'Bold text —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:00, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

External Links[edit]

I added an external link to and it keeps on getting reverted. If anyone could please visit the link and see if you would like it to be added to this article as I think it should. It gives examples of modern hacks that people today are doing. Please help me out. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Diy2345 (talkcontribs) 17:15, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

I kept reverting it because, to me, it appears to be blog spam. It was previously added to several different articles from a couple of different IP addresses ( and, and, in most of the articles, it obviously didn't belong. It was usually reverted by User:XLinkBot, but a couple were reverted by me. Then User:Diy2345 came and added it when the IPs were unable. The link obviously does not meet the minimum requirements in WP:EL for including blogs. Nearly all of the articles posted in the blog appear to just be reporting on someone else's video or article. If any of these should be included, the way I see it, we should link directly to original instead. I don't see why it should be included, but to avoid any more edit warring, I'll wait to see what others think about it. Apparition11 (talk) 19:45, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
Okay, if you think that it needs to be removed than remove it and I won't revert it again. I admit to adding it to other articles as well when I didn't fully understand the rules (I was trying to get free advertising as you probably know). I am a new user and please excuse me. I do want to say that I do think that this website is relevant to this article although it wasn't for some others. It is similar to and which both gather information from around the web and put it into one site for easy access. Please don't delete it but, if you do I understand and won't revert it like I mentioned earlier.
Thanks for your honesty. Sorry, but I will remove it per reasons I stated above. Don't worry about not understanding the rules, all new users make mistakes, well all users make mistakes. Also, I take a lot of the blame for that, I should've explained myself better originally. I should've explained better that Wikipedia is not for advertising. Cheers! Apparition11 (talk) 22:15, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry Apparition11 but two people changed someone elses edit back to my last edit of the article. Obviously, this means that at least two people besides me think that the link is realevant to the article. I know that your intentions are good but, if other people besides me think that the link that I added was releavant than it should stay there. If anyone does not want the link on the article feel free to say so and I won't add it but, if no one says anything in 12 hours I'm going to add it on again. (and no Apparition11 this is no longer advertising. I'm going to add it because two other people think that it should be on there and im following the rules by discussing it before re adding it.)Diy2345 (talk) 00:31, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

(undent)I think you mis-looked at the edit history [1]. There have been no reverts since I removed the link. The edits that I believe that you are talking about were before I removed the link, and they were simply vandalism and reverts. So, no one has reinserted the link, and, even if it's not advertising, it is still obviously against WP:EL. Apparition11 (talk) 01:04, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

No, I didn't mis-look the history. And yes, I know that they were before you removed the link.... so. (talk) 02:03, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
Then I don't understand... Those edits had nothing to do with the link. Just because someone reverts vandalism while a link is on the page does not mean that they endorse the link, in fact, most likely, they did not even look at the link. Recent changes patrollers, which is what I usually do here, just spot vandalism and revert back to the way it was before. Sometimes they will stay and work on the article, but if they don't, that doesn't mean that they agree or disagree with everything on the page. Apparition11 (talk) 02:10, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
Well no one has said anything about it here so what do you have to say about that? (talk) 00:13, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
It probably means that no one is interested or the article's not being watched closely. Apparition11 (talk) 02:28, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
Well than if no one is interested or the articles not being watched closely than why do you even care so much if I add the link? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:16, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
Ummm, because of the fact that I respect Wikipedia's policies and guidelines. WP:EL is a reason that it should not be included. Because no one else is watching or interested is not a reason that it should be. Apparition11 (talk) 16:43, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

Technology speaking (programming)[edit]

In 1961 the MIT started using the new DEC PDP-1 (the very first microcomputer), so students were able to use the computer directly. In the early years, only doctorate students were able to have access to a million-dollar computer.

Later they realized computer can be used for another means (different to academic and scientific usage) for example games and music, spacewar was one of them if not the first.

Those programs (and games) were transmitted and shared (printed paper or punched card) among almost any national university. The limitation use and the incompatibilities between computer forced modifications or hacked out bits or whole sections of code for reuse. So if you used some code that your hacked out of one program in a new program you "hacked" it. Thus the origin, as best I remember using it in 1962.

Programs were hacked(modified as om the modern term "wrapped" versions)(or hacked out of previous programs, hence the popularization of the term hack. Later, hacking, hacking around, and other slang referred not just to copying and adapting those program, but also to updating, adding, and removing features. To start , hacking was just to get a program to work on a new machine.

Spacewar itself was created by the (first?) hackers, since they overexploited a academic computer to create a amusement machine (videogame).

So, etymologically talking, Microsoft Office is not a hack(there are some exception, such Easter eggs present in many Microsoft products) but Counter Strike is a hack (because it is a game-mod). -- (talk) 20:01, 15 December 2008 (UTC)-- (talk) 20:01, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Grammar problems?[edit]

I took a look through this artice two times, reading it aloud once. I found no grammar problems, should the tag be deleted?--Sgtlion (talk) 11:51, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

Fire Truck[edit]

I've removed the image of the fake fire truck atop MIT's Great Dome. As others have already pointed out on this page, this really has nothing to do with hacking in the field of technology at all. It is a prank, plain and simple, and calling it a 'hack' is exactly the sort of popular word abuse that ends up making pages like this inscrutable, with people falling over themselves to shoehorn unnecessary and obtuse definitions of terms into their associated pages. Rodeosmurf (talk) 06:44, 8 August 2009 (UTC)