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The Restricted 404

September 27, 2006

Recently I started working on project with a friend of mine that involves building a website, during this process I had to come up with something to put on the home page that reflected the overall feel of the site and kind of summarized everything that we wanted the site to be and become. Something that when we felt we were getting sidetracked, we could look at, read, and contemplate easily and regain our focus.

After more than a few rough drafts, I finally decided to go with something a little more personal, something that reflected my own personal opinions and feelings, rather than some generalized corporate style statement that failed to capture the mentality and essence of what we were trying to achieve. This statement became so personal to me that I decided to include it in my journal as a way to help convey who I am as a person and how I feel about certain things. Everything that follows is as it appears on our site.

The Hacker Manifesto
By
The Mentor
Written January 8, 1986

Another one got caught today, it’s all over the papers. “Teenager Arrested in Computer Crime
Scandal”, “Hacker Arrested After Bank Tampering”…

Damn kids. They’re all alike.

But did you , in your three-piece psychology and 1950’s techno brain, ever take a look behind the eyes of the hacker? Did you ever wonder what made him tick, what forces shaped him, what may have molded him?

I am a hacker, enter my world…

Mine is a world that begins with school. I’ve listened to teachers explain for the fifteenth time how to reduce a fraction. I understand it. “No, Ms. Smith, I didn’t show my work. I did it in my head…”

Damn kid. Probably copied it. They’re all alike.

I made a discovery today. I found a computer. What a second, this is cool. It does what I want it to. If it makes a mistake, it’s because I screwed it up. Not because it doesn’t like me… or feels threatened by me… or thinks I’m a smart ass… or doesn’t like teaching and shouldn’t be here…

Damn kid. All he does is play games. They’re all alike.

And then it happened… a door opened to a world… rushing through the phone line like heroin through an addict’s veins, an electronic pulse is sent out, a refuge from the day-to-day incompetence’s is sought… a board is found. “This is it… this is where I belong…” I know everyone here… even if I’ve never met them, never talked to them, may never hear form them again… I know you all…

Damn kid. Tying up the phone line again. They’re all alike…

You bet your ass we’re all alike… we’ve been spoon-fed baby food at school when we hungered for steak… the bits of meat that you did let slip through were pre-chewed and tasteless. We’ve been dominated by sadists, or ignored by the apathetic. The few that had something to teach found us willing pupils, but those few are like drops of water in the desert.

This our world now… the world of the electron and the switch, the beauty of the baud. We make use of a service already existing without paying for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn’t run by profiteering gluttons, and you call us criminals. We explore… and you call us criminals. We seek after knowledge… and you call us criminals. You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us and try to make us believe it’s for our own good, yet we’re the criminals.

Yes I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you , something that you will never forgive me for.

I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto. You may stop this individual, but you can’t stop us all…
After all, we’re all alike.

It’s amazing that a document written twenty years ago can still have so much relevance in our lives today. This small statement, this bitter rant, this attempt by one single individual to explain what motivates him and the forces that molded him has, rather you like it or not, been able to capture the mentality of an entire sub-culture, so much so that it has become indoctrinated into our entire way of life. We here at The Restricted are not blind to this fact, and in our attempt to write our “mission statement“, if you will, could not think of a better credo or motto to summarize what we want to give you. Some of the terms and phrases used may seam archaic or dated but the core principle behind this statement is still what drives us today… the pursuit of knowledge. What we do with this information may vary from person to person, but the one thing that binds us all together, as a “family”, is our insatiable thirst to learn. “After all,” from novice to geek, script kiddy to the uber-leet, black hack to white hack, “we’re all alike.”

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