What is a hacker? Could a real hacker possibly work at a company like Microsoft? Does Bill Gates know?
In my early days of computing a hacker was "someone who is curious and wants to learn how systems work." I borrowed that definition from a new blog called hackers at mirosoft. The blog just opened yesterday and there is already a debate in the comments about the term "hackers."
Hacking and cracking [into computer systems] were not always so closely related in people's minds. And in fact hacking was not always thought of as something only outlaws did. It was a more serious and respectful term for people who really dug into things. For people who were self taught and continuously learning though study, practice and hard work. Security was part of it but far from the totality of it. Hackers put together clever code, innovative tools, and looked at things in new and creative ways. To me the term has always included "top researchers in their industry, dedicated people working on the bleeding edge of what's going to be common place in the next 5 or 10 years of computing. " Now of course it has a whole different meaning to a lot of people.
The hackers at Microsoft bloggers are "white hat" bloggers. That is to say they look for security flaws so as to help close them up. They are trying to make software more secure rather than to exploit holes. It looks like its going to be an interesting blog.
I do think that students need to learn about security from the beginning of their education (self-education or formal education) so a site like this would appear to be useful there. It should also be useful for learning about some of out of the box thinking that goes on in the field.
So check it out!
BTW Bill Gates is pretty much as "hacker" as it gets. The man made his first money in computers by finding bugs in a timesharing operating system after all. So you could say that Microsoft is a company founded by hackers.