Bob AlbrechtFounder of People’s Computer Company who took
visceral pleasure in exposing youngsters to computers.
Altair 8800The pioneering microcomputer that galvanized hardware hackers. Building this kit made you learn hacking. Then you
tried to figure out what todowith it.
Apple IISteve Wozniak’s friendly, flaky, good-looking computer,
wildly successful and the spark and soul of a thriving industry.
Atari 800This home computer gave great graphics to game
hackers like John Harris, though the company that made it was
loath to tell you how it worked.
Bob and Carolyn, BoxWorld-record-holding gold prospectors
turned software stars, working for Sierra On-Line.
Doug Carlston,Corporate lawyer who chucked it all to form the
Brøderbund software company.
Bob Davis,Left a job in a liquor store to become the bestselling
author of the Sierra On-Line computer game Ulysses and the
Golden Fleece. Success was his downfall.
Peter Deutsch,Bad in sports, brilliant at math, Peter was still in
short pants when he stumbled on the TX-0 at MIT—and hacked it
along with the masters.
Steve Dompier Homebrew, member who first made Altair sing,
and later wrote theTargetgame on the Sol, which entranced Tom
John Draper ,The notorious “Captain Crunch” who fearlessly
explored phone systems, was jailed, and later hacked microcomputers. Cigarettes made him violent.
Mark Duchaineau,The young Dungeonmaster who copy-protected
On-Line’s disks at his whim.
Chris Espinosa,Fourteen-year-old follower of Steve Wozniak and
early Apple employee.
Lee Felsenstein, Former “military editor” of the Berkeley Barband
hero of an imaginary science-fiction novel, he designed computers
with a “junkyard” approach and was a central figure in Bay Area
Ed Fredkin ,Gentle founder of Information International, he
thought himself the world’s greatest programmer until he met
Stew Nelson. Father figure to hackers.
Gordon French,Silver-haired hardware hacker whose garage held
not cars but his homebrewed Chicken Hawk computer, then held
the first Homebrew Computer Club meeting.
Richard Garriott,Astronaut’s son who, as Lord British, created the
Ultimaworld on computer disks.
Bill Gates ,Cocky wizard and Harvard dropout who wrote Altair
BASIC, and complained when hackers copied it.
Bill Gosper Horowitz, of computer keyboards, master math and
LIFEhacker at MIT AI lab, guru of the Hacker Ethic, and student of Chinese restaurant menus.
Richard Greenblatt,Single-minded, unkempt, prolific, and canonical MIT hacker who went into night phase so often that he
zorched his academic career. The hacker’s hacker.
John Harris,The young Atari 800 game hacker who became Sierra
On-Line’s star programmer, but yearned for female companionship.
IBM PC IBM’s entry into the personal computer market, which
amazingly included a bit of the Hacker Ethic and took over.
IBM 704 ,IBM was The Enemy and this was its machine, the
Hulking Giant computer in MIT’s Building 26. Later modified into
the IBM 709, then the IBM 7090. Batch-processed and intolerable.
Jerry Jewell,Vietnam vet turned programmer who founded Sirius
Steven Jobs,Visionary, beaded, nonhacking youngster who took
Wozniak’s Apple II, made lots of deals, and formed a company
that would make a billion dollars.
Tom Knight,At sixteen, an MIT hacker who would name the
Incompatible Time-sharing System. Later, a Greenblatt nemesis
over the LISP machine schism.
Alan Kotok,The chubby MIT student from Jersey who worked
under the rail layout at TMRC, learned the phone system at
Western Electric, and became a legendary TX-0 and PDP-1 hacker.
Efrem Lipkin ,Hacker-activist from New York who loved
machines but hated their uses. Cofounded Community Memory;
friend of Felsenstein.
LISP Machine,The ultimate hacker computer, invented mostly by
Greenblatt and subject of a bitter dispute at MIT.
“Uncle” John McCarthy,Absentminded but brilliant MIT (later
Stanford) professor who helped pioneer computer chess, artificial
Bob Marsh ,Berkeley-ite and Homebrewer who shared garage with
Felsenstein and founded Processor Technology, which made the
Roger Melen, Homebrewer who cofounded Cromemco company
to make circuit boards for Altair. His “Dazzler” playedLIFEprogram on his kitchen table.
Louis Merton,Pseudonym for the AI chess hacker whose tendency
to go catatonic brought the hacker community together.
Jude Milhon Met Lee Felsenstein through a classified ad in the
Berkeley Barband became more than a friend—a member of the
Community Memory collective.
Marvin Minsky,Playful and brilliant MIT professor who headed
AI lab and allowed the hackers to run free.
Fred Moore ,Vagabond ,pacifist who hated money, loved technology, and cofounded Homebrew Club.
Stewart Nelson, Buck-toothed, diminutive, but fiery AI lab hacker
who connected the PDP-1 computer to hack the phone system.
Later cofounded Systems Concepts company.
Ted Nelson,Self-described “innovator” and noted curmudgeon
who self-published the influentialComputer Libbook.
Russell Noftsker,Harried administrator of MIT AI lab in late sixties; later president of Symbolics company.
Adam Osborne, Bangkok-born publisher-turned-computermanufacturer whoconsidered himself a philosopher. Founded
Osborne Computer Company to make “adequate” machines.
PDP-1,Digital Equipment’s first minicomputer and in 1961 an
interactive godsend to the MIT hackers and a slap in the face to
PDP-6,Designed in part by Kotok, this mainframe computer was
the cornerstone of the AI lab, with its gorgeous instruction set and
sixteen sexy registers.
Tom Pittman,The religious Homebrew hacker who lost his wife
but kept the faith with his Tiny BASIC.
Ed Roberts,Enigmatic founder of MITS company who shook the
world with his Altair computer. He wanted to help people build
Steve (Slug) Russell, McCarthy’s “coolie” who hacked the
Space war program, first video game, on the PDP-1. Never made a
dime from it.
Peter Samson,MIT hacker (one of the first), who loved systems,
trains, TX-0, music, parliamentary procedure, pranks, and
Bob Saunders,Jolly, balding TMRC hacker who married early,
hacked til late at night eating “lemon gunkies,” and mastered the
“CBS strategy” onSpacewar.
Warren Schwader,Big blond hacker from rural Wisconsin who
went from the assembly line to software stardom, but couldn’t
reconcile the shift with his devotion to Jehovah’s Witnesses.