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"Modern" RCE started with programmers who circumvented copy protection on classic computer games , such as those written for the Apple II in the early 1980s. Although this trend quickly became a way to distribute pirated computer software, a core of experts remained who developed the RCE field purely for academic reasons.
One of the legendary figures of those heady days was the Old Red Cracker, (+ORC). Not only was +ORC a genius software reverser, he was a prolific author and teacher of the subject. His classic texts are still considered mandatory reading for RCE students.
In order to further RCE research, +ORC founded the High Cracking University, or +HCU. The "+" sign next to a nickname, or "handle," designated members of the +HCU. The +HCU students included the most elite Windows reversers in the world. Each year the +HCU published a new reverse engineering challenge, and the authors of a handful of the best written responses were invited as students for the new school year.
One of the professors, known as +Fravia, maintained a motley web site known as "+Fravia's Pages of Reverse Engineering." In this forum +Fravia not only challenged programmers, but society itself to "reverse engineer" the brainwashing of a corrupt and rampant materialism. At one point +Fravia's site was receiving millions of traffic hits per year, and its influence was widespread.
Today, most of the old +HCU has left Windows for the less occult Linux platform; only a few, such as +Tsehp, have remained to reverse Windows software. A new generation of reversers has rediscovered the ancient texts and begun to advance the science once again. Meanwhile, +Fravia himself can still be found wandering his endless library at http://www.searchlores.org.
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