Encyclopedia > Hack

  Article Content

Hack

See Hack (game) for the Hack computer game.


Hack is jargon meaning either a kludge, or the opposite of a kludge -- a clever or elegant solution to a difficult problem. As a verb, it means creating or participating in a hack. The term word is commonly (but not exclusively) used in relation to computer programming; see hacker.

The context determines which of the two meanings is implied. Phrases such as "ugly hack" or "quick hack" generally refer to the former meaning; phrases such as "cool hack" or "neat hack" refer to the latter. The first meaning probably derives from the normal English usage of "hack", which means a person lacking talent or ability (e.g. "hack writer".) The second meaning comes from MIT.

In MIT lingo, a "hack" is an elaborate and flamboyant student prank. Past MIT hacks include:

  • Covering the university's signature "Great Dome" (which seems to be something of a magnet for hacks) with tin foil
  • Putting a fake (but convincing) MIT Campus Police cruiser on the Dome
  • Decorating the Dome as R2D2[?]
  • Hiding the university president's office by covering its entrance with a fake bulletin board
  • Inflating a huge balloon on the playing field during a Harvard-Yale football game

In a similar vein, a "hack" may refer to works outside of computer programming. For example, a math hack means a clever solution to a mathematical problem. The GNU General Public License has been described as a copyright hack.

See also: cruftmanship

External links



All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

 
  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
 
 
  
  Featured Article
Op Art

... impression of movement or colour. Riley later produced works in full colour, and other op artists have worked in colour as well, although these works tend to be less ...