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Actually, OpenBSD did use the word Hackathon first. Our first hackathon was in 1999, in June, before the JavaOne event. Only 10 developers were able to attend, and it was in Calgary.

Our events have always been called c#### where the c originally stood for crypto instead of Calgary. We had various crypto developers who were foreigners living in the US come to Calgary so they could hack on crypto code with us, since that was legal. Now 'c' normally means Calgary. There have been ones held in Boston (where the pf packet filter was born), Washington DC (where sparc64 came to be), Seichelt BC Canada (the pf2k4 hackathon in a cabin in the woods).. and one will be one held somewhere in Europe soon....

Please refer to for more history, including dates and number of attendees.

But I sure we named them "hackathons" first -- we were using the word at least 4 months earlier as people were busy booking their flights to come to Calgary... we used to have a private web page up that made it look official so that some developers could get corporate sponsorship.. but that page is no longer to be found, since it was never placed into a CVS repository.

(this is Theo; I've thus far been to all of them)

Yeah, that is coming from one of the IP's in Theo's /23 IP block. Added a little of that to the article. Janizary 03:49, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

Dollar figure of cost[edit]

There was a thing in the article saying that hackathons can cost $20,000 for lodging and equipment alone. I am not sure if this claim is necessary since the article already says hackathons are expensive, but if the claim does need to be there, it should specify what country's dollars it is referring to. Also, a reference would be nice (e.g. from someone organizing such an event). --Graue 17:09, 7 October 2005 (UTC)


I think that since a sprint is a term for the same basic thing as a hackathon, it should probably be in the same article - putting it in as it's own section. I think that hackathon is the better base article because it is a more complete article and it's an older one. Questions? Comments? If I don't see any in like a week, I'll go ahead with it. Janizary 02:28, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Go for it! -- drange 14:07, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

I agree, and add in codefest. Sheese, what a disgusting term for such a great thing. 06:39, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Done. Janizary 21:06, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Ubuntu has "developer conferences" - as it was a red link and appears to be the same thing I've redirected here. Secretlondon 04:57, 11 February 2007 (UTC)


Right now the article is too strongly OpenBSD-centric, it needs a dose of Sun and perhaps some more information on how these events are done in other organizations. 02:33, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

I think it's looking pretty reasonable right now, so I've removed the tag. Janizary 21:06, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Hacker con merge?[edit]

It might be a good idea to merge Hacker con since these terms aren't very well defined, though I could also see distinguishing Hacker con as a "hacker (white hat/black hat) meeting" vs Hackathon as a "hacker (coder) meeting". Quarl (talk) 2007-02-11 08:14Z

I think it needs to stay seperate, where a hackathon is about hacking a hacker con, as the article is called, is about cracking. They are two very different things. Janizary 15:43, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

I'm against it also. 'Hackathon' describes, generally, an open source development conference, whereas a hacker con is more computer security centric. 18:47, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

I have removed the merge proposal, since it found no support, though admitedly little opposition. Janizary 21:23, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Multiple issues[edit]

Some things that need cleanup

  • Other hackathons - someone added a poorly-phrased entry and a unlinked and un-cited website reference
  • Hackfest redirects here from another page (perhaps more than one) regarding the Quebec-located hacker conference which seems sane except the incoming links need cleanup
  • There are a number of uncited claims and explanations of related jargon
  • There is a while section on the OpenBSD hackathons and not for any other, listing dates for previous events. Seeming that this is somewhat OS specific, this should be cleaned up: perhaps removed, perhaps moved to another page, perhaps just generalized without the dates being listed.

Your thoughts? --Kickstart70TC 22:26, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

Don't forget that the Sprints section could also probably be removed completely. Most of it's content is already present in Sprint_(software_development). MLetterle (talk) 02:31, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

Sprints section removal would make article more concise; linking should be added to that article if sprints is removed.


removed the uncited banner (from october '11) as the article has been cited with 3 sources. Any issues with removal or validity of the sources can be discussed here. --RichardMills65 (talk) 05:48, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

why the merge with Hack Day?[edit]

Hi all - I'm really very concerned about the merge of the Hack Day article into the Hackathon article. They are similar but are not the same. We also appear to have written out a great deal of the European development of 'hack days' and the more recent history of how they have changed and developed. A Hack Day can contain a Hackathon but I would argue - strongly - that they are different. Thoughts? - Matthew Cashmore — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:56, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

I'd also like to point out that the term Hack Day has been in use for this kind of event far longer than Hackathon, as google trends demonstrates. - Jonty Wareing — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:31, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

I think there are broadly two questions here:

  1. Is a hackathon the same as a hack day? I can see slight different in usage: hackathons tend to be more of an open source thing (we've had Wikimedia hackathons) whereas hack day is used for things that aren't necessarily open source.
  2. If hackathons and hack days are the same, which term is most prevalent? We basically need to find which term is used in the plurality of reliable sources.

I'd ask everyone who has an interest in considering this to participate. If people want to make a case for moving back to 'hack day', I'd suggest we need to collect a list of reliable sources we can use to write this article from and sort that list of reliable sources into two lists: one for hackathon and another for hack day. I've thus set up a little mini-structured discussion below.

If you want to help in this discussion, please find reliable sources and add them to the sections below. That way we can have a discussion based on what the sources say (which is the point of WP:RS and other Wikipedia policies) rather than based on which terms we prefer and/or use. In addition, these sources will be useful in improving the article (and perhaps on tracing the etymology of the term for creating entries on Wiktionary! —Tom Morris (talk) 16:15, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

Sources that use 'hack day'[edit]

Sources that use 'hackathon'[edit]

Sources that use both[edit]

Sources that discuss the same concept but use a different term[edit]


It seems to me that "hack day" is generally a subset of "hackathon", because hack days are (a) usually one day, and (b) tend to cover one specific topic. Thus, if there's only one article, I think it makes sense to have it at "Hackathon". And I think having just one article makes sense, because there's been no strict distinction spelled out between the two - I'm not aware of a "hack day" that couldn't be called a "hackathon". Yaron K. (talk) 13:36, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

I need to find sources in writing to support this, but in extensive conversation I am picking up an increasing perception that 'Hackathon' refers to an opportunity to show off one's programming and innovation accumen with a view to gaining invstment or employment, and a Hack Day/ hackday is an event to share knowledge, address wider public interest objectives, have fun and build stuff. There is doubless an overlap, but the two distinctions listed above are particularly weak- a) hack days are NOT generally one day long- 3 of the 4 I have been directly involved in setting up have been 2 day events. b) of those I have direct experience of setting up exactly half were of limited focus. Hackdays in question were Hack-London (general), Mashed (general), BBC Archives Hackday (focussed, internal), FSC Hackday (focussed, open).

It may not be intentional but I detect an implicit cultural bias at work in the definition as applied on this entry. I recommend in the strongest terms possible that Hack Day be clearly described in the most accurate way possible and that if that requires a seperate entry (as it seemed well able to sustain) then that should be reinstated. Note also some confusion persists over whether Yahoo have any rights to the name 'Hackday'. Meeware (talk) 13:02, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

World Port Hackaton[edit]

Can the world port hackaton be mentioned, see

these hackatons relate to real life problems / green tuning and not to just coding KVDP (talk) 17:52, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

College hackathons and Major League Hacking[edit]

Last semester, ~15k students went to college hackathons; the semester before that, ~10k, and the semester before only ~4k.

See,, and

College hackathons need to be included in this Wikipedia page! Probably more prominently than anything else currently on this page, because of their size and significance. They're a very new phenomenon, so you've probably not heard about them too much.

The New York Times will soon have an education story focusing on hackathons. NPR had a story, but it completely misses the point: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:25, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

First use of the word "hackathon"[edit]

I found this usage dating to 1997-09-22:

"History of a hack

This soft-spoken, frail-looking man clad in a tie-dye T-shirt, faded cutoffs and ragged sandals-his scraggly hair pushed back in a ponytail-was the one who kicked off the NT hackathon."


This suggests security hacking more than building something, but it was the first usage I've found yet, preceding the previous citation by 2 years. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Davejagoda (talkcontribs) 00:16, 20 June 2015 (UTC)

de-merge hackmeeting[edit]

Because hackmeetings are quite different events from hackatons, a few of us who participate in these would like to request that hackmeeting no longer re-directs to hackatons.

Hackatons according to the page have the objective of developing software; hackmeetings do not have this objective. Some developing may happen but they are more a political space where knowledge about FREE (as in freedom) software has priority.

In the spanish pages, it is clear that hackatons and hackmeetings are completely different events in practice and in philosophy :

Comment by Els polacs (talk) 12:29, 18 October 2017 (UTC) : Agree. Italian version also maintains the clear difference. Probably the merge was due to the fact that there is no clear differenciation of events within English speaking countries, while this difference (hackathons different then hackmeetings) clearly exists in realities of some other non-English-speaking countries.