Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Early French Hacker E-Zines

by Kevin Gotkin (

Kevin Gotkin, "Lingo, Loyalty, & Lambaste: The E-Zines of the Early French Hacker Scene" explains: Beginning in the early 1990s, the French hacker scene began publishing online magazines in order to share tips, secrets, and, yes, some very vulgar language. What resulted was the expansion of over 77 e-zines being shared via floppy disks and electronic bulletin board systems on French minitel systems and eventually on the Internet. Many of the e-zines were extremely specific, only catering to, for example, radio phreakers or virus masters. However, there were a few notable e-zines became known for their aspirations to become the face of the French hacker scene. Via interviews with modern Parisian hackers, it became clear that these e-zines were widely regarded as poor quality and written by newbies, while the elite hackers met behind closed doors without leaving traces of their work. Via a Hebdigean reading of this failed medium, however, we find that the e-zines still say much about the subculture of the French hackers. The aesthetic appropriation of the Courier font, the anonymity and identity games illustrated by the writers' aliases, and the self-categorization of the role of hackers in society all inform a complex relationship between a subculture operating on the edge of the technological landscape during its most important formative period.

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