PreviousInternational Style UpContents NextPronunciation Guide

Crackers, Phreaks, and Lamers

From the early 1980s onward, a flourishing culture of local, MS-DOS-based bulletin boards developed separately from Internet hackerdom. The BBS culture has, as its seamy underside, a stratum of `pirate boards' inhabited by crackers, phone phreaks, and warez d00dz. These people (mostly teenagers running IBM-PC clones from their bedrooms) have developed their own characteristic jargon, heavily influenced by skateboard lingo and underground-rock slang.

Though crackers often call themselves `hackers', they aren't (they typically have neither significant programming ability, nor Internet expertise, nor experience with UNIX or other true multi-user systems). Their vocabulary has little overlap with hackerdom's. Nevertheless, this lexicon covers much of it so the reader will be able to understand what goes by on bulletin-board systems.

Here is a brief guide to cracker and warez d00dz usage:

These traits are similar to those of B1FF, who originated as a parody of naive BBS users; also of his latter-day equivalent Jeff K.. Occasionally, this sort of distortion may be used as heavy sarcasm by a real hacker, as in:

    > I got X Windows running under Linux!

    d00d!  u R an 31337 hax0r

The only practice resembling this in actual hacker usage is the substitution of a dollar sign of `s' in names of products or service felt to be excessively expensive, e.g. Compu$erve, Micro$oft.

For further discussion of the pirate-board subculture, see lamer, elite, leech, poser, cracker, and especially warez d00dz, banner site, ratio site, leech mode.

PreviousInternational Style UpContents NextPronunciation Guide