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Ask HN: What's with people postfixing 'hacker' to random words?
1 point by asto on May 25, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 3 comments
Growth hacker, product hacker etc. I'm seeing so much of this lately. Has the meaning of the word hacker changed yet again to be something else? Is it cool to be referred to as a hacker in popular culture now? (or are we all still members of a criminal enterprise who breach computer security with a few random taps on a keyboard)

It makes as much sense (maybe even more) as talking about a "Code Guru" (guru being in fact a religious teacher) or "Code Ninja" (or "C++ Ninja, Database Guru or whatever combination). Language is something flowing and changing. The term "hacker" made it's way into everyday language, partly in the misunderstood way of something illegal, partly in the more correct way of somebody with great knowledge and creativity about something. In my view it was always part of the hacker culture to use this word to show respect towards any kind of great achievement, especially technically related, but I would even accept a great musician to be called a "music hacker". Movies, Comics and SciFi stories have done their own part to made it known (and in parts misunderstood)) widely and all the media hype about Nerds we have seen the last decade or so.

A hacker isn't something that is part of a criminal enterprise that breaches computer security, that would be a Cracker. I think 'hacking' can be used in other contexts and makes sense. I wouldn't say the meaning has changed as it was always blurred but people are using it in some places where it may not make much sense.

The criminal enterprise bit was my poor attempt at a joke :-)

But really, I have a feeling 'hacker' is going to be a Che Guevara. Random people proudly wearing it without the faintest clue of what it stands for!

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