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.
"A remarkable collection of characters . . . courageously exploring mindspace, an inner world where nobody had ever been before." -- The New York Times
A classic reissued for the first time in trade paperback with a new afterword from the author, this is the story of the true pioneers of the computer revolution--the young mavericks and renegades who hacked their way into controlling an industry. Levy's monthly column appear in MacWorld.
About the Author
Steven Levy is also the author of Crypto: When the Code Rebels Beat the Government-Saving Privacy in the Digital Age and the chief technology writer for Newsweek. He is a regular contributor to numerous publications including Macworld and Wired.