I pride myself in being one of the few true hackers in the world that still believes in the hacker spirit born in the 1960's at the MIT Artificial Intelligence lab. Unfortunately, too many people have confused the hacker ethic with malicious break-ins and security breaches perpitrated by people who are anything but hackers.

To truely appreciate the hacker ethic I reccomend you read the book Hackers by Stephen Levy. It's an excellent documentation of where the hacker ethic was born and developed.

To quote a more eloquent author:

Also check out the The Compendium of Hacker related jargon or The hackers Corner from which I hacked the above quote.