The book Hackers Heroes of the Computer Revolution Analysis

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Computer Science

Document 1

This book is an intriguing story which began in initial computer research laboratories that have led to the emergence of laptops and home computers. The book is put into three elementary segments which comprise of MIT hackers that were in between 1950's & 60's, the second one concerns culture homebrew hardware that existed in 1960s and 1970s in the Bay Area which is considered as noble but bloated at the same time. The third section is about the game hackers which are considered as worthless. In Building 26 is where the book starts where a boy in the middle of the night is seen wandering around the hallways. The boy’s name is Peter Samson who later on becomes the first Massachusetts Institute of Technology hackers. He happens to be among the several hackers that have been mention several times in the book which importantly is also referred as (wizards). The book also describes the several machines that the hackers have used not forgetting the small, funny descriptions they were referred to. For instance, in John Draper who is also referred as the notorious or "Captain Crunch" used to explore phone systems fearlessly and because of this he was jailed where he later hacked microcomputers. Levy has covered a lot of ground in around 477 pages and because of that, the story remains remarkably coherent. Levy has described how young hackers are obsessed and has a passion for the machine and how they spend sleepless nights as they try to tame their mechanical breakthrough.

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The computer was considered a very vulnerable and valuable machine where only a few experts and individuals were allowed to touch it. That group of individual is referred by Levy as Priesthood which he defines them as the privileged enough that were allowed to submit and transfer data to the holy priests who he calls official acolytes (Levy, 2010:5). Additionally, a number of obsessive affiliates in MIT a Tech Model Railroad Club (TMRC) had an IBM machine access although it was restricted because it was regulated heavily and in those days there was no room for being picky. TX-0 a new computer was brought in MIT and the boys continued to be more addicted to machines and because those who operated them were expensive it was best to use them 24/7. Due to this, the boys hang around until they got an opening and they became the first generation hackers.

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In the last bit of the book Levy takes Richard Stallman as "the last of the true hackers. Here Stallman is extremely dedicated to the Hacker Ethic where he incapacitated commercially wicked symbolic for him to remain loyal to his belief. Until now, Stallman is considered as the chief individual advocating for Hacker Ethic. In his 2010 afterword, Levy revisits several hackers such as Stallman stating that he provided a rational framework that led to an open source movement (Levy, 2010:472). Throughout the book, the widespread of the belief amongst hackers has been explained. It is the high time as individuals we revive the passion that the early hacker had this is because not only is culture changed by technology but also technology is changed by culture. The book reinforces truisms in several instances, for instance, the markets replace peoples values with its own.

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There are subcultural movements that are said to have certain values that make them popular in specific segments of the public. As these subcultures continue to gain popularity, major mainstream starts noticing them and they start monetizing them even if they were non-commercial. This is how we end with a generation containing computer hackers who will never understand why one should buy a pre-assembled computer that has software in it. The games that these hackers created were hacker aberration. Other hacks came up with mathematical formulas and this is the positive side of hacking. Because of this, Levy profiles these hackers as imaginative brainiacs who according to him are clever and produce unorthodox solutions to some complicated computer engineering problems. The seminal period for hackers captures recent history when the majority of underground activities are blazing the trail in the current digital world which started from the MIT students the current culture such as Altair and the Apple II.

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Works cited Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution - 25th Anniversary Edition Steven Levy (O'Reilly, 2010).

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