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The New Hacker's Dictionary Paperback – Oct 11 1996
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This third edition of the tremendously popular Hacker's Dictionary adds 100 new entries and updates 200 entries. In case you aren't familiar with it, this is no snoozer dictionary of technical terms, although you'll certainly find accurate definitions for most techie jargon. It's the slang and secret language among computer jocks that offers the most fun. Don't know what the Infinite-Monkey Theorem is? Or the meaning of "rat dance?" It's all here. Most people don't sit down to read dictionaries for entertainment, but this is surely an exception.
A sprightly lexicon.(William Safire New York Times Magazine)
For anyone who likes to have slippery, elastic fun with language, this is a time for celebration... The New Hacker's Dictionary...is not only a useful guidebook to very much un-official technical terms and street tech slang, but also a de facto ethnography of the early years of the hacker culture.(Mondo 2000)
My current favorite is 'wave a dead chicken.' New to you? You've waved a dead chicken when you've gone through motions to satisfy onlookers (suits?), even when you're sure it's all futile. Raymond's book exhilarates... The New Hacker's Dictionary, though, is not for skimming. Allot, each day, a half hour, severely timed if you hope to get any work done.(Hugh Kenner Byte) See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
The dictionary is compiled by Eric S. Raymond, a well-known hacker, who is author of the popular book about open source, "The Cathedral and the Bazaar". He knows the hacker culture well, and that makes him a good compiler. The third edition of the dictionary adds more than 100 new entries to the already rich list. Among my favourite entries are "larval stage", "scrozzle", and "wave a dead chicken".
Other than the dictionary itself, this book contains two essays, "Confessions of a Happy Hacker" by Guy Steele and "Hacker in a Strange Land" by Eric Raymond, as well as a not-so-short introduction to hacker speech, hacker jargon, and the hacker file in particular. There are three appendices. The first contains some funny stories about hacking in various situations. The second tries to portrait "J. Random Hacker", the most typical hacker. And the last is a short article of how one can help the hacker culture grow.
If you have interacted with other hackers (in Usenet, RL (Real Life), or in other hacker-populated places in the universe), you may have found yourself unable to understand some terms. With "The New Hacker's Dictionary" you can learn all these useful, strange, or simply funny words and thereby become a full-fledged hacker.
If you're at all interested in classic computing culture, this book is something I feel every computer nerd should have (you fit the description if, among other things, you like monty python and your idea of the perfect evening is spending it at home programming, with occasional breaks to watch the X-Files).
If you're a soccermom, or a script/warez kiddie, this book is not for you. You probably won't understand it, and will certainly not appreciate it.
However, these days when I try to find the latest terms, too often--actually most often--they are not here. This seems to be a fundamental mechanical problem. This dictionary was originally compiled in a different era and using techniques that were appropriate to those times and to the available technologies. That meant mostly the newsgroups and email, and a volume of information that could be filtered by a few moderately dedicated volunteers. The main change now is just the explosion of new technical terms, and though many of these new candidate words are current among far more users than ever contributed to this dictionary, the old approaches just can't deal with it.
It's a very good book, and worth reading, but IMO mostly as a historical and etymological reference. Many important terms are definitely included, and even some of the obsolete terms have had influences on later terminology, but the book just isn't current enough or broad enough to capture the current scope of computer-related technologies.
This dictionary of hacker terms (which can be hilarious, informative, or esoteric depending on their meaning) gives an idea of the creativity and mentality of the hackers and their distrust of huge corporations (ie "Broken Windows" for Sun's "Open Windows," "Windoze" for Microsoft Windows, and so on). Reading though the definition of terms gives you an idea of how to "talk turkey" with said hackers, and even if I will always be just a "wannabe" hacker, it helps to be able to get an idea of the mindset of the hacker.
At the back of the book, there's even a brief compilation of hacker "folklore" and "legends," a portrait of a "typical hacker," and ways to help the hacker culture grow (like getting a free Unix system or contributing to organizations like the Free Software Foundation).
Books like this one, The Cathedral and the Bazaar, and Open Sources give an excellent view of the hacker culture.
Most recent customer reviews
The author has an unhealthy fetish for UNIX and open source, but still provides a fascinating and silly nostalgia trip for computer nerds of all ages.Published 6 months ago by Nuclear
This isn't a dictionary, it's a thousand slices of hacker history, folklore, and culture aranged in alphabetical order. Read morePublished on June 18 2003 by Brian Karlak
This is one of my favorites: both informative and highly entertaining (perhaps more the latter).
Although the jargon file (from which the bulk of this book's content is taken)... Read more
It is really nice to be able to peruse this book in the flesh rather than on the computer screen and if you frequently are looking at the HTML version then you will not be... Read morePublished on Nov. 16 2001 by Sickness23
This is a one-of-a-kind piece of work, and the number of editions to date demonstrates the effort put into this Herculean task. Read morePublished on July 21 2001 by Stephen Lee
Blargh. Ignore the twinks and their burbling flamage - the yellow book is a moby frob and the source of all good bits. The 3rd Ed has the X nature. Read morePublished on March 30 2001 by Gary
First of all, much of the jargon here is very dated. And since there's very little feeling of respect for any sort of legacies from the past amongst software engineers, I doubt... Read morePublished on March 8 2001 by S. Clark
Perhaps we should start by telling what this dictionary isn't. First, it has nothing to do with breaking into computer systems and similar illegal activities which any layman would... Read morePublished on Oct. 19 2000 by Primoz Peterlin
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