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Journal of HollyKing (5210)

Tuesday May 31, 2005
11:15 AM

Sigh...

[ #24959 ]

As the only Linux using Perl developer at my office I'm used to explaining what I do and why it's valuable to my co-workers who don't understand my job. I don't mind and I've made some real progress getting out the message. At least I thought I had...

This morning I walk in wearing my Happy Hacking t-shirt that was purchased from the FSF booth at last year's OSCON. As I was walking through the cafeteria I was greeted by someone who added, "Whoah! I wouldn't wear that shirt here. That's against corporate policy." Perplexed, I stopped and asked how my shirt violated any policy. I'm sure that you all can guess his reasons. I took a few minutes to educate him about the differences between hacking and cracking and how the word existed long before computers, then went on my merry way to work.

The reason this bothers me so much is that I work for a company in the security industry. The products we develop block virus attacks, trojans, cracking and all sorts of other nasty stuff. I would expect that people working in the realm would know something of the terminology and culture. Sigh.

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  • and how the word existed long before computers

    Before computers, hack was an adjective applied to junk writers and their output. A hack was a writer who cared little for the craft of writing, but simply put words on paper to get a salary, writing for newspapers, magazines, or "the pulps".

    Computer hackers totally changed this meaning for their use, but the rest of the world never really noticed and continue to use a meaning that is related to the original meaning (but more negative) when they apply it to

  • Even if the word "hacking" did mean what he thought it meant, what's wrong with the shirt? Were you actually "hacking," in his sense? Does corporate policy prohibit "hacking," or does it prohibit wearing shirts they say certain things?

    My company prohibits T-shirts period except on Fridays for people in non-customer facing positions, and even then you can only wear a company logo shirt or one from one of our vendors.

    --
    J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers