Chapter 2-1 

Hackers, Heroes of the Computer Revolution


Something new was coalescing around the TX-0:  a new way of life,
with a philosophy, an ethic, and a dream. 

There was no one moment when it started to dawn on the TX-0
hackers that by devoting their technical abilities to computing
with a devotion rarely seen outside of monasteries they were the
vanguard of a daring symbiosis between man and machine.  With a
fervor like that of young hot-rodders fixated on souping up
engines, they came to take their almost unique surroundings for
granted, Even as the elements of a culture were forming, as
legends began to accrue, as their mastery of programming started
to surpass any previous recorded levels of skill, the dozen or so
hackers were reluctant to acknowledge that their tiny society, on
intimate terms with the TX-0, had been slowly and implicitly
piecing together a body of concepts, beliefs, and mores. 

The precepts of this revolutionary Hacker Ethic were not so much
debated and discussed as silently agreed upon.  No manifestos
were issued.  No missionaries tried to gather converts.  The
computer did the converting, and those who seemed to follow the
Hacker Ethic most faithfully were people like Samson, Saunders,
and Kotok, whose lives before MIT seemed to be mere preludes to
that moment when they fulfilled themselves behind the console of
the TX-0.  Later there would come hackers who took the implicit
Ethic even more seriously than the TX-0 hackers did, hackers like
the legendary Greenblatt or Gosper, though it would be some years
yet before the tenets of hackerism would be explicitly