This is a really fascinating look at what the earliest pioneers in personal computing thought about the “Hacker Culture” (and how the term originated) and what lies at the heart of being both a creative thinker and a coder at the same time. Some of their thoughts still ring true 30 years later.
STEVE WOZNIAK: “I think the hacker drive represents the children in us. Children love to discover, explore, create something a little beyond what they could before. In school you have the courses that teach you the problem and the solution, whereas the hackers tended to be just bright enough to take the little starting points, the mathematical tools, and build up a solution of their own…They were intrinsically motivated; the challenge of solving the puzzle was the only reward. The rewards were in their head.”
BOB WALLACE: (author and distributor of PC-WRITE’): We give away source .with our product,and we haven’t found it to be a problem. We do what we call ‘Shareware.’ We give away PC-WRITE…When I started, I wanted to do a product and I wanted to have control over it and I wanted to make a living. Not having a lot of money for advertising, I figured the way to distribute it was, you know, word of disk(!). Diskettes are a new medium that I don’t think people have realized how easy they are to copy and what that means, but it gives us a distribution channel.”
DOUG CARLSTON: (founder and president of Broderbund): When we were hacking around in the mid-’60s at Harvard, it was not the engineering students who were the hackers. It was the liberal arts majors whose only computer time available was if they gummed up the locks and snuck into the building late at night because they weren’t allowed to sign up for the stuff. You did everything by trial and error, because we didn’t have any courses, we didn’t have access to anything other than manuals, and as far as I’m aware the whole group of midnight programmers there were people who didn’t have any real functional use for what they were doing at all. So we called ourselves “hackers.”
Great read and thanks to Gary Stager for the share!