I guess it depends on which definition of 'hacker' you are using: the media definition (terrorist hackers poised to unleash cyberwar) or the more common definition within the computing community (someone who can understand modem traffic by ear alone).
Fortunately, many of the destructive 'hackers' on the net tend to be technologically inept - often relying on tools created by more accomplished techies to exploit well known weaknesses in systems.
The 'because I can' attitude of the techie-type hacker (if I may consider myself as one) is that the journey is more important than the destination. It's the attitude that leads someone ''to spend weeks creating a piece of software that does exactly the same as something which can be downloaded from SourceForge
EricRaymond has a lot to say about the HackerAttitude. One of his fundamental beliefs is that no problem should be solved twice. http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/hacker-howto.html#believe2
Depends on how you "solve" it. Reinvented wheels are, on occasion, rounder in aspect and have better grip. (Not least compared to your average SourceForge
It also says in the essay that hackers will solve a previously solved problem as a learning exercise.
Vive la difference there is quite a succinct difference between them, as an Ass is not a Horse.
A Cracker destroys where a Hacker understands learns and explores the open frontier of freedom of information --LM84
I remember this episode of Star Trek where Spock, Kirk, Abraham Lincoln, and Sarek fought against their evil counterparts: genocidal madmen and dictators from history. The purpose was for an alien culture to understand the difference between good and evil. Following the battle, the aliens didn't understand the difference, as both good and evil used similar techniques to achieve their ends, and in the last analysis what mattered was what they were fighting for. A Hacker and a Cracker might be able to do the same thing, but their motivations differ. Honestly, I disagree though. The Hackers tend to be the people who know, and the so-called Crackers tend to be lazy and inept, not caring what they actually know as long as their name is scrawled across the web. --starX