Hacking's definition has become such a mess that it should be retired forever. The nerd community needs to come up with a new term and never tell anyone. And, as a sidenote, this also goes for the terms "geek" and "nerd". When I was growing up, non-techies never wanted to be called these things, they were derisive. The geeks, however, were pretty comfortable with it. Today, anyone with an Atari shirt and/or Android phone is called a geek, but let's face it they're really just modified hipsters.
So, if by hacker you mean someone who enjoys coding or customizing technology (the traditional definitions), let's face it the age of the BBS was truly the frontier. Born in an age when technology was cryptic and required a learning curve, these "walled ecosystems" were where the true geek wanted to be. Either playing in it or being a sysop. What an amazing time. Today, web scripting database programming are wonderful fun and something that can be shared easily with others.