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Do you need to know programming to be a hacker? That has to be the question I get asked the most. I would say yes and no. It all depends on your view. The problem is no one agrees what a hacker is!
Debugging is the cornerstone of being a programmer. The first meaning of the verb to debug is to remove errors, but the meaning that really matters is to see into the execution of a program by examining it . A programmer that cannot debug effectively is blind. Idealists that think design, or analysis, or complexity theory, or whatnot, are more fundamental are not working programmers.
Copyright © 2001 Eric S. Raymond As editor of the Jargon File and author of a few other well-known documents of similar nature, I often get email requests from enthusiastic network newbies asking (in effect) "how can I learn to be a wizardly hacker?". Back in 1996 I noticed that there didn't seem to be any other FAQs or web documents that addressed this vital question, so I started this one. A lot of hackers now consider it definitive, and I suppose that means it is. Still, I don't claim to be the exclusive authority on this topic; if you don't like what you read here, write your own.