where have all the hackers gone?

There is a real difference between those, who develop software as a job, and those, who do it for the love of it. It is easy to distinguish between them. The former believes that only straightforward problems can be solved in a timely manner, and the less to be done, the better. The latter believes that straightforward problems are mundane and tedious, and hopes to spend time on more challenging problems. True hackers are a rare breed.

The biggest difficulties in software are non-technical. They are psychological. When a group of people have produced a body of work, they become emotionally invested in it. They feel that they know something. It becomes their anchor to reality, and every future possibility is considered in relation to that knowledge. With a sense of security comes malaise. It impedes the child-like motivations to reach out to the unknown and discover. Legacy knowledge within accomplished veterans becomes toxic to the culture, because the perceived value of legacy knowledge eclipses the potential value of further discovery, which has more risk attached. Cultural attachment to legacy kills innovation. It blunts the entrepreneurial spirit.

A true hacker does not give a rat’s ass about what is established by what came before. Everything is open to destruction and rebirth. The risk of expending effort towards a failed attempt is irrelevant, because a true hacker understands that every failure is a positive step towards ultimate success.

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