When looked at in the most basic form, a hacker is someone who does something out of a passion for it. During the Preface by Pekka Himanen, he goes so far as to say [su_quote]”a person can be a hacker without having anything to do with computers.”[/su_quote] It does not matter what the area of interest for the individual is, a hacker is someone who has a strong passion for a subject and works at it enthusiastically. However, many people are passionate about everyday things, such as their job, but it is not the same kind of passion a hacker has. The drive behind those passions are a little different from a hacker’s drive. That is why Himanen says the three ethics of a hacker are, like I already mentioned, the work ethic, in addition to the money ethic, and the facilitation of information across a network, or the nethic.
When the money aspect gets into things, it is a little difficult to say whether or not an individual is still passionate about something or not. After all, some artists,like filmmakers, rely on their work to make a living. If people do not like it, then they may find it difficult to get more work and in turn make money. However, some people might make something and not worry about the consequences because of their creative desire. Despite needing to make money, they may be perfectly content with doing what they love and hoping that people feel the same as they do towards their work. Linus Torvalds says a person’s motivations fall into either of three categories: survival, social life, and entertainment. He does not give a particular order as to what people hold higher because it varies from person to person; however, he does say that [su_quote]”[m]oney is motivation for what it brings –it’s the ultimate bartering tool for things we really care about.”[/su_quote]
In order to truly determine whether or not a person is a hacker, one cannot look at the financial motivator, but instead, they need to look at what the alleged hacker does with their passion. Since the third ethic of a hacker is the nethic, one only needs to look at what the hacker does with information when they receive it. Does an artist keep their technique to his or her self, or do they try and share it with the world. This is where a person’s character really shines through. People in many different areas like politicians, artists, or journalist may horde information, but they could also share it for the good of everybody. When that happens they exhibit their passion on the subject and demonstrate a desire to pass it on. That is not to say that every time a person passes on information they do so with a passion for the area.
We already established three motivational factors for why people do what they do. However, hackers do what they do for entertainment purposes, the spreading of information.Torvalds even states a, [su_quote]” ‘hacker’ is a person who has gone past using his computer for survival.”[/su_quote] People who share information, like journalists or whistle blowers, may find that the information does help people, but just because the information can be good for the masses does not mean their intention was pure. It is short of like doing the right thing for the wrong reason. Since the reason it the individual’s intent, it is nearly impossible for someone from the outside to say what it was.