Steven Levy's classic book explains why the misuse of the word "hackers"
to describe computer criminals does a terrible disservice to many important
shapers of the digital revolution. Levy follows members of an MIT model
railroad club - a group of brilliant budding electrical engineers and
computer innovators - from the late 1950s to the mid-1980s.
These eccentric characters used the term "hack" to describe a clever way
of improving the electronic system that ran their massive railroad. And as
they started designing clever ways to improve computer systems, "hack"
moved over with them. These maverick characters were often fanatics who
did not always restrict themselves to the letter of the law and who devoted
themselves to what became known as "The Hacker Ethic." The book traces the
history of hackers, from finagling access to clunky computer-card-punching
machines to uncovering the inner secrets of what would become the Internet.
This story of brilliant, eccentric, flawed, and often funny people devoted
to their dream of a better world will appeal to a wide audience.
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