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Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution

by Steven Levy

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1,693218,803 (4.26)16
This 25th anniversary edition of Steven Levy's classic book traces the exploits of the computer revolution's original hackers -- those brilliant and eccentric nerds from the late 1950s through the early '80s who took risks, bent the rules, and pushed the world in a radical new direction. With updated material from noteworthy hackers such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Stallman, and Steve Wozniak, Hackers is a fascinating story that begins in early computer research labs and leads to the first home computers. Levy profiles the imaginative brainiacs who found clever and unorthodox solutions to computer engineering problems. They had a shared sense of values, known as "the hacker ethic," that still thrives today. Hackers captures a seminal period in recent history when underground activities blazed a trail for today's digital world, from MIT students finagling access to clunky computer-card machines to the DIY culture that spawned the Altair and the Apple II.… (more)
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» See also 16 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
721
  revirier | Dec 13, 2021 |
History, myth, manifesto and an almost universal touchstone for hackers (software engineer kind not trenchcoat wearing blue haired credit card stealing criminals).

It's really sad to read the 25th anniversary edition with the 2010 addendum to see it go from homebrew computer club to facebook. I wish the addendum was more upbeat but I guess it faithfully represents the reality. The consumers remained just that and the software running on their devices is made by corporations like Microsoft. The revolution happened differently to how the original hackers imagined it would but it's not over yet. It lives on in FSF and open source software. ( )
  Paul_S | Dec 23, 2020 |
Liked: fascinating and often obscure historical anecdotes, putting the free software movement/hacker ethos in context by examining their roots, evenhanded look at hacker politics
Disliked: rampant casual sexism and exclusion of women from the canon (sadly this is so standard it barely bothered me, aside from the part where one of the male hackers muses that the dearth of women in their exclusive, sexist clique must be because of inferior female biology and the author just kinda lets it go), lackluster explanation of Stallman's philosophy in appendix ( )
  pnppl | May 20, 2020 |
good start but stopped after 2/3. ( )
  andreas.wpv | Mar 31, 2016 |
This is a book for those interested in the early years of computer development. I enjoyed taking a trip down memory lane to that time when computers were largely over-sized pet rocks. What makes the book work, in one respect, is Levy's explanation of the MIT students' obsession with out-doing one another when writing codes for programs. Hackers covers a good swath of the early development of computers and serves well as a testament to a new breed of logical thinkers -thinkers with a tool to help them unlock their abilities beyond the theoretical. ( )
  RalphLagana | Jan 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
"Part of the success of this book is down to the great writing, which makes it exciting finding out how being able to pick a lock became every bit as important as programming in the early years of hacking culture. ... 10/10"
added by legallypuzzled | editLinux Format, Nick Veitch (Jul 1, 2011)
 

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This 25th anniversary edition of Steven Levy's classic book traces the exploits of the computer revolution's original hackers -- those brilliant and eccentric nerds from the late 1950s through the early '80s who took risks, bent the rules, and pushed the world in a radical new direction. With updated material from noteworthy hackers such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Stallman, and Steve Wozniak, Hackers is a fascinating story that begins in early computer research labs and leads to the first home computers. Levy profiles the imaginative brainiacs who found clever and unorthodox solutions to computer engineering problems. They had a shared sense of values, known as "the hacker ethic," that still thrives today. Hackers captures a seminal period in recent history when underground activities blazed a trail for today's digital world, from MIT students finagling access to clunky computer-card machines to the DIY culture that spawned the Altair and the Apple II.

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