HACKER is a slang term for a computer enthusiast. Among professional programmers, the term hacker implies an amateur or a programmer who lacks formal training. Depending on how it used, the term can be either complimentary or derogatory, although it is developing an increasingly derogatory connotation.

The pejorative sense of hacker is becoming more prominent largely because the popular press has co-opted the term to refer to individuals who gain unauthorized access to computer systems for the purpose of stealing and corrupting data. Hackers, themselves, maintain that the proper term for such individuals is script kiddie.

soooo...essentually, a hacker is a self taught programmer.

NOT someone that breaks into your computer and messes up your stuff.
NOT someone that writes viruses and passes them to other people.
NOT someone that tries to stick a trojan on your computer to steal your passwords and personal information.
NOT someone that that launches an attack on you to try to kick you offline.
NOT someone that crashes your chatroom.
NOT someone that will try to hurt you in any way.

That is a script kiddie...and REAL hackers HATE script kiddies!!

REAL hackers are the ones that bring you things such as plugins for WinMX; like Bendmx, RCMS, KickIt, patches for vulnerabilities (like the riched32.dll to fix RTF), to stop script kiddies from crashing you or messing up your room.

REAL hackers write games, useful tools, and other programs in their spare time that you enjoy...some you might even feel you can't live without.

REAL hackers write entire operating systems...like Windows or Linux. (yes, Microsoft DOES employ real hackers)

REAL hackers tinker with their computers and discover bugs in software, and maybe some vulnerabilities, and do what they can to fix them to make everyone's life safer and more enjoyable while using a computer.

REAL hackers are just ordinary people...moms, dads, grandpas, grandmas, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters...that never went to school to learn programming. They learned it some other way (usually the hard way).

So the next time someone says hackers are evil, you now know better and can educate them as to what the TRUE meaning of the word "hacker" is.