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Censorship Businesses Security The Media Linux

B&N Pulls Linux Format Magazine Over Feature On 'Hacking' 301

New accepted submitter super_rancid writes that issue 154 of the "UK-based Linux Format magazine was pulled from Barnes and Noble bookstores in the U.S. after featuring an article called 'Learn to Hack'. They used 'hack' in the populist security sense, rather than the traditional sense, and the feature — which they put online — was used to illustrate how poor your server's security is likely to be by breaking into it."
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B&N Pulls Linux Format Magazine Over Feature On 'Hacking'

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03, 2012 @11:36AM (#39878953)

    Odds are that Linux Format magazine is about to see an increase in circulation.

  • But... but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by klocwerk ( 48514 ) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @11:36AM (#39878961) Homepage

    Say what?
    I used to pick up my copies of 2600 at a local B&N years ago...

  • And yet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alranor ( 472986 ) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @11:37AM (#39878971)

    They'll happily stock martial arts magazines, full of special features about new and exciting ways to hurt people.

  • by MSTCrow5429 ( 642744 ) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @11:42AM (#39879069)
    In an age where brick and mortar bookstores are no longer the most economic method to deliver printed matter, and where the needs and desires of consumers can be far more fully met online, needlessly exposing yourself to ridicule and consumer anger is not a good business strategy.
  • Re:But... but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yobgod Ababua ( 68687 ) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @11:44AM (#39879095)

    Yes, but they cleverly named them "Reference you don't understand or care about" rather than "Pop culture meme that doesn't mean what you think it should mean.

    Name better, Try again.

  • by SecurityGuy ( 217807 ) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @11:54AM (#39879201)

    Stop being stupid.

    I cut my teeth on articles about "hacking". I've used "hacking" tools going back to the one that got Dan Farmer fired, and before. My interest in security was sparked by downloading an exploit for the Solaris eject command. Download, compile, omg! Root prompt!

    The catch? I did all those things on boxes I was paid to secure. I've never broken into anyone's systems but my own, and I have legitimate rights to do that. Information is information. It's not "good" or "bad". I have a bookshelf full of books, mostly bought in your stores, that could teach you how to "hack" or how to secure systems and networks. Guess what I've been paid to do for going on 20 years?

  • Re:And yet (Score:-1, Insightful)

    by bonch ( 38532 ) * on Thursday May 03, 2012 @11:58AM (#39879231)

    Fair point, but the argument could also be made that the hacking article was a self-defense article. Maybe they gussied it up a bit to give it an edgy appeal, talking about how they'd teach you how to be a "hacker", but I'm sure the original motivation of the article was to teach about potential insecurities in your server. Then again, perhaps they share some of the blame for muddying up the point of the article by talking about teaching you how to crack server passwords.

    The bigger question is--people still buy print magazines, and Linux magazines at that?

  • by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @12:02PM (#39879289)

    They used 'hack' in the populist security sense

    WTF is that?

    To 99% of the world, a hacker is someone who steals your password, your money, puts kiddie porn on your computer and publishes all your email.

    Like it or not, folks doing legitimate security assessments or building custom gadgets, etc. would do well to come up with term other than "Hacker".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03, 2012 @12:08PM (#39879347)

    I do. They accept a level of abuse which would kill every electronic device.

  • Re:Good for them! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheGoodNamesWereGone ( 1844118 ) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @12:13PM (#39879401)
    TFA states it was pulled "after a complaint" (note singular). I have trouble believing this is the only reason. They pulled all of them from all of their stores in America? I have trouble believing that a single complaint was the only reason. "Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by stupidity," goes the quote, and I think it applies here. If M$ were the reason then they'd pull *all* Linux stuff. Likewise if they wanted to pull every example of "how to do bad things" off their shelves they'd have to take a LOT of books down.
  • by hduff ( 570443 ) <<hoytduff> <at> <>> on Thursday May 03, 2012 @12:17PM (#39879429) Homepage Journal

    Scarne on Cards []

    Teaches you how to cheat at card games.

    Originally produced for the US Army during WW2, it was designed to reveal methods of cheating so a soldier could tell when he was being cheated, just like the Linux Format article.

    Understanding bad people is not the same as being a bad person; ignorance is neither power nor protection.

  • by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @12:24PM (#39879491)

    You can't argue with market realities. You can be smart. rebrand yourselves and build that brand in a respectable manner, or you can be a stupid 10 year old and throw a tantrum and still be associated with spammers and thieves.

    Your choice.

  • by Beardo the Bearded ( 321478 ) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @12:28PM (#39879533)

    Ah, I see you're a Linux Kernel Developer. "I am technically correct, so I don't have to listen about usability."

    Here's an example: swastika. Immediately, you're thinking of 40s era Europe, right?

    The Germans used the swastika for 6 years. It's been around for THOUSANDS of years as a Sanskrit symbol, but you put up one little flag and point at it with your arm and suddenly YOU'RE the bad guy.

    Sycodon is right, a new term has to be coined, and not hat colours.

  • Re:Good for them! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Thursday May 03, 2012 @12:48PM (#39879789) Homepage Journal

    WIndows is like being raised in Stepford.

  • by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @12:52PM (#39879829)

    AP Styleguide? One set of idiot reporters telling another set of reporters how to speak about technology the 1st set does not understand. Talk about the blind leading the blind.

  • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot&worf,net> on Thursday May 03, 2012 @12:58PM (#39879883)

    This inspired Steve Jobs to convince friend Woz to design and build Blue boxes, which eventually lead to the founding of Apple... now the biggest company in the world...

    Apple started from hacker/phreaker roots, and inspired by an article published in a magazine. Just imagine the damage they've done to the future by pulling this Magazine.

    Actually, Woz built the blue box on his own. Jobs convinced him he could sell it for like $125 or so (it cost $25 to build). But those were really just the prankish college days. To found Apple, Woz had to hock his beloved HP calculator in order to buy the parts necessary to build the Apple 1.

    Jobs and Woz were friends very early on (started in childhood).

    Anyhow, I think the damage caused these days would be far less than in the 70s. Firstly, it seems deadtree is dying in favor of electronic media, and I'm sure anyone who can't find the deadtree can find billions of similar articles online, if not going to the official website and reading it there. In the 70s, magazines were timely and important sources of information. These days, not so much since the Internet is far faster at it.

  • by Joiseybill ( 788712 ) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @01:01PM (#39879897)

    Echo: Bravo - Sierra
    Publicity / maybe a local story "with legs"

    BN sells books on Metaspolit, wardriving, and even "Steal magazines.

        Idea: maybe if one or two complaints causes this kind of reaction, imagine if their phones were to experience the /. phenomenon and just 0.05% of us complained, say about the sadism and child abuse in "The Hunger Games", or the mediocrity of the last Moby album?

    Can we use the power of /. for the good of society? !

    Nah.. nevermind.. no profit involved. Bask to work.

  • Re:Good for them! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DrgnDancer ( 137700 ) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @01:12PM (#39879949) Homepage

    I have trouble believing either the reason B&N gave, or your more sinister reason. My counter to both of them is contained in this link: []

    Which shows the result of typing "linux hacking" into the search box. They sell literally dozens of titles on the subject of hacking and Linux, Some of which use the "tinkering with" definition of hacking, and others of which use the "breaking into" definition. I've seen many of these books in the physical stores too. This sounds like some management weenie over reacting to a complaint and little else.

  • Re:Good for them! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by element-o.p. ( 939033 ) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @01:30PM (#39880077) Homepage
    I was about to mention 2600, as well. WTF? They drop Linux Format because they published an article that tells you how to test your web server's security, but they still sell 2600?
  • by element-o.p. ( 939033 ) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @01:33PM (#39880113) Homepage

    ...why should we come up with a new term because they are computer illiterate.

    Because you don't want the computer illiterate to confuse you with someone who is doing something illegal?

    Language changes; you can change with it, or you can be frustrated all the time because people misunderstand the term you choose to use to describe yourself.

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