Hackers lose a patron saint

Tuesday, 22 July 2003, 8:01 PM EST

If there is a heaven, the angels are in for a hell of a time when Jude Milhon, the Internet's real and very earthy patron saint of hacking, shows up.

Better known on the Internet by her nom de plume, St. Jude, Milhon died on July 19 of cancer. Her age was an issue Milhon obviously decided not to address. Even her closest friends could only guess at it, and they admitted they could be off by as much as a decade.

St. Jude wasn't your typical saint.

She was a staunch advocate of the joys of hacking, geek sex and a woman's right to choose to use technology. She figured life was too short to waste worrying about what other people might think, and was also known for her very colorful way with the English language.

Back when the Internet was populated primarily by men, she encouraged and helped other women to get online.

"Girls need modems!" she said in a February 1995 Wired magazine interview.

"She certainly was an icon of the infancy of the wired generation," said security consultant Robert Ferrell. "We wouldn't be what we are without her, and for that, if for no other reason, she will be sorely missed."

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