jdMorgan - 12:40 am on Dec 11, 2010 (gmt 0)
The original sense of "hacker" was a programmer who could get *anything* to work -- basically by hacking away at the problem until it was solved.
That's not a formal definition, but rather my "internalized understanding" of the term as a person who worked with "hackers" and used the term in the past.
Unfortunately, some hackers are malicious, but the press, when it first caught onto the "hacker" term, dropped the "malicious" qualifier, and now the common understanding is that "hacker" and "malicious hacker" mean the same thing.
I was considered a "hacker" back in the day, because by optimizing code and eliminating redundancy in data, I could fit 8 KiloBytes of code into a 4 KB programmable read-only memory -- for the kind of application that we now call a "BIOS." And, yes, boot PROMs really were that small at one time...
Now the winner of this FaceBook contest will likely have to explain this hacker/malicious hacker distinction to his friends, family, associates, and employer...