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The hacker mind-set is not confined to this software-hackerculture. There are people who apply the hacker attitude to otherthings, like electronics or music — actually, you can find it atthe highest levels of any science or art. Software hackers recognizethese kindred spirits elsewhere and may call them‘hackers’ too — and some claim that the hackernature is really independent of the particular medium the hacker worksin. But in the rest of this document we will focus on the skills andattitudes of software hackers, and the traditions of the sharedculture that originated the term ‘hacker’.

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There are basically five kinds of things you can do to be respected byhackers:
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But just having a home page isn't anywhere near good enough tomake you a hacker. The Web is full of home pages. Most of them arepointless, zero-content sludge — very snazzy-looking sludge, mindyou, but sludge all the same (for more on this see ).

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I used to recommend against installing either Linux or BSD as asolo project if you're a newbie. Nowadays the installers have gottengood enough that doing it entirely on your own is possible, even for anewbie. Nevertheless, I still recommend making contact with your localLinux user's group and asking for help. It can't hurt, andmay smooth the process.

Has a well-established member of the hacker community ever called you a hacker?
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To be a hacker, you have to develop some of these attitudes. Butcopping an attitude alone won't make you a hacker, any more than itwill make you a champion athlete or a rock star. Becoming a hackerwill take intelligence, practice, dedication, and hard work.

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LISP is worth learning for a different reason — theprofound enlightenment experience you will have when you finally getit. That experience will make you a better programmer for the rest ofyour days, even if you never actually use LISP itself a lot. (You canget some beginning experience with LISP fairly easily by writing andmodifying editing modes for the Emacs text editor, or Script-Fuplugins for the GIMP.)

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A good way to dip your toes in the water is to boot up whatLinux fans call a , a distribution that runs entirely off a CD or USB stickwithout having to modify your hard disk. This may be slow, becauseCDs are slow, but it's a way to get a look at the possibilitieswithout having to do anything drastic.

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Here is an incomplete but indicative list of some of thoseprojects: Does it matter to you that Linux improve and spread? Are youpassionate about software freedom? Hostile to monopolies? Do you acton the belief that computers can be instruments of empowerment thatmake the world a richer and more humane place?

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There is perhaps a more general point here. If a language does toomuch for you, it may be simultaneously a good tool for production anda bad one for learning. It's not only languages that have thisproblem; web application frameworks like RubyOnRails, CakePHP, Djangomay make it too easy to reach a superficial sort of understanding thatwill leave you without resources when you have to tackle a hardproblem, or even just debug the solution to an easy one.