August 22, 2009

enKryptik observations - Linux Lineage and The Secret History of Hacking (video)

Hacking. It is a word that is misunderstood by those who are outside the technology corridor of the binary digits. Due to news reports, government authorities and Hollywood flash, the term "hacker" and "hacking" usually have nefarious meanings. In true form a hacker is someone who is interested in how computers work and "hacks" together code as they learn and make the computer do tasks. Linus was/is a hacker as he took code from minix and rewrote the code into what became the Linux kernel. He had a curiosity to make a better system.

I just blogged about the fact that Unix turns 40 this month and how Linux owes its lineage to the code that brought Unix to life. Unix was put together by hackers. Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie thought they could design a better system than what DEC had put out and became determined to put code together to do just that very thing. So Linux descended from the world of hacking.

Linux is powerful because it gives us the power to hack...freely. I'm not talking about unethical hacking where one actively looks for ways to exploit code or flaws for personal gain that harms others. I'm talking about the ability to code better and faster systems and applications.

Now, I am very interested in the security aspect of Linux and the binary world. As more people learn to hack code it opens up the door to find the flaws or methods to exploit the hacks that currently exist. Keeps things interesting really. Someone builds code, someone hacks it, someone then hacks the hack and new code is released and the process starts all over again.

Either way, it all starts because someone is curious how the machine works and what can they make that machine do. This was an interesting video/documentary about the history of hacking and what it was verses what it has become. The original players in laying the foundation of what we know as "modern computers" all played a role in hacking, and this video tells you about them and their stories. It transcends from the process of coding into the process of security/exploitation. Unix owes its development to hacking, and Linux descended from that very hacking. If you have an interest in Linux, security and hacking then you might just enjoy watching this. know where you are going, you must first understand where you came from. 

Cheers - Kryptikos




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