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Where a term can be attributed to a particular subculture or is known to have originated there, we have tried to so indicate. Here is a list of abbreviations used in etymologies:. Some other etymology abbreviations such as Unix and PDP refer to technical cultures surrounding specific operating systems, processors, or other environments. The fact that a term is labelled with any one of these abbreviations does not necessarily mean its use is confined to that culture.

We have tried to give some indication of the distribution of speakers in the usage notes; however, a number of factors mentioned in the introduction conspire to make these indications less definite than might be desirable. A few new definitions attached to entries are marked [proposed]. These are usually generalizations suggested by editors or Usenet respondents in the process of commenting on previous definitions of those entries.

These are not represented as established jargon. You can mail submissions for the Jargon File to jargon snark. We welcome new jargon, and corrections to or amplifications of existing entries. You can improve your submission's chances of being included by adding background information on user population and years of currency. All contributions and suggestions about the Jargon File will be considered donations to be placed in the public domain as part of this File, and may be used in subsequent paper editions.

Submissions may be edited for accuracy, clarity and concision. We are looking to expand the File's range of technical specialties covered. There are doubtless rich veins of jargon yet untapped in the scientific computing, graphics, and networking hacker communities; also in numerical analysis, computer architectures and VLSI design, language design, and many other related fields. Send us your jargon! It is OK to submit items of jargon you have originated if they have spread to the point of being used by people who are not personally acquainted with you.

We prefer items to be attested by independent submission from two different sites. Please send us URLs for materials related to the entries, so we can enrich the File's link structure. The Jargon File will be regularly maintained and made available for browsing on the World Wide Web, and will include a version number. Read it, pass it around, contribute -- this is your monument! In their unmodified forms they look a lot alike, and various kluges invented to make them visually distinct have compounded the confusion.


If your zero is center-dotted and letter-O is not, or if letter-O looks almost rectangular but zero looks more like an American football stood on end or the reverse , you're probably looking at a modern character display though the dotted zero seems to have originated as an option on IBM controllers. Interestingly, the slashed zero long predates computers; Florian Cajori's monumental "A History of Mathematical Notations" notes that it was used in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

If letter-O has a slash across it and the zero does not, your display is tuned for a very old convention used at IBM and a few other early mainframe makers Scandinavians curse this arrangement even more, because it means two of their letters collide. Old CDC computers rendered letter O as an unbroken oval and 0 as an oval broken at upper right and lower left. And yet another convention common on early line printers left zero unornamented but added a tail or hook to the letter-O so that it resembled an inverted Q or cursive capital letter-O this was endorsed by a draft ANSI standard for how to draw ASCII characters, but the final standard changed the distinguisher to a tick-mark in the upper-left corner.

  • Detalhes do Produto!
  • The Hall of the Mountain King (Avaryan Rising Book 1)?
  • Revision History.
  • Afraid to Read the Bible?;
  • The Protein Protocols Handbook (Methods in Molecular Biology).
  • Comparative Environmental Politics: Theory, Practice, and Prospects (American and Comparative Environmental Policy)!

Are we sufficiently confused yet? Compare Big Red Switch , power cycle. Several versions of a joke have floated around the internet in which some idiot programmer fixes the Y2K bug by changing all the Y's in something to K's, as in Januark, Februark, etc. May be used reflexively; "Uh, I'm ing" means "I'm drawing a blank". The status of a website which has been completely removed, usually by the administrators of the hosting site as a result of net abuse by the website operators. The term is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the standard " compliant" Murkowski Bill disclaimer used by spammers.

See also: spam , spamvertize. Without a prefix, this almost invariably refers to BSD Unix release 4. Note that it is an indication of cluelessness to say "version 4. Similar remarks apply to "4.

Did hacking actually influence the presidential election?

One of the most reliable opportunities for hackers to meet face to face with people who might otherwise be represented by mere phosphor dots on their screens. Compare boink. The first recorded -party was held at the Westercon a U. It is not clear exactly when the canonical -party venue shifted to the Worldcon but it had certainly become established by Constellation in Sadly, the -party tradition has been in decline since about , mainly because having an -address no longer functions as an effective lodge pin.

Abnormal termination of software ; crash ; lossage. Derives from an error message on the IBM ; used jokingly by hackers but seriously mainly by code grinder s. This can be because of computer downtime, loss of provider, moving or illness. Archaic term for a register. A register being used for arithmetic or logic as opposed to addressing or a loop index , especially one being used to accumulate a sum or count of many items. This use is in context of a particular routine or stretch of code. One's in-basket esp. Sure, just put it in the accumulator.

Used to register one's presence compare mainstream Yo! An appropriate response to ping or ENQ. Generally this sense is not spelled in caps ACK and is distinguished by a following exclamation point. Used to politely interrupt someone to tell them you understand their point see NAK. Thus, for example, you might cut off an overly long explanation with "Ack.

I get it now". An affirmative. There is also a usage "ACK? The canonical supplier of bizarre, elaborate, and non-functional gadgetry - where Rube Goldberg and Heath Robinson two cartoonists who specialized in elaborate contraptions shop. In fact, Acme was a real brand sold from Sears Roebuck catalogs in the early s. Describing some X as an "Acme X" either means "This is insanely great ", or, more likely, "This looks insanely great on paper, but in practice it's really easy to shoot yourself in the foot with it.

This term, specially cherished by American hackers and explained here for the benefit of our overseas brethren, comes from the Warner Brothers' series of "Roadrunner" cartoons. In these cartoons, the famished Wile E. Coyote was forever attempting to catch up with, trap, and eat the Roadrunner. His attempts usually involved one or more high-technology Rube Goldberg devices - rocket jetpacks, catapults, magnetic traps, high-powered slingshots, etc.

These were usually delivered in large cardboard boxes, labeled prominently with the Acme name. These devices invariably malfunctioned in improbable and violent ways. Gratuitous assumptions made inside certain programs, esp. For example, fuzzy-matching of input tokens that might be typing errors against a symbol table can make it look as though a program knows how to spell.

Special-case code to cope with some awkward input that would otherwise cause a program to choke , presuming normal inputs are dealt with in some cleaner and more regular way. A Pascal -descended language that was at one time made mandatory for Department of Defense software projects by the Pentagon. Hackers find Ada's exception-handling and inter-process communication features particularly hilarious. Ada Lovelace the daughter of Lord Byron who became the world's first programmer while cooperating with Charles Babbage on the design of his mechanical computing engines in the mids would almost certainly blanch at the use to which her name has latterly been put; the kindest thing that has been said about it is that there is probably a good small language screaming to get out from inside its vast, elephantine bulk.

Some address harvesters are benign, used only for compiling address directories. Most, unfortunately, are run by miscreants compiling address lists to spam. Address harvesters can be foiled by a teergrube. Compare dumbass attack. Compare postmaster , sysop , system mangler. The prototypical computer adventure game, first designed by Will Crowther on the PDP in the mids as an attempt at computer-refereed fantasy gaming, and expanded into a puzzle-oriented game by Don Woods at Stanford in See also vadding , Zork , and Infocom. This game defined the terse, dryly humorous style since expected in text adventure games, and popularized several tag lines that have become fixtures of hacker-speak: "A huge green fierce snake bars the way!

Written-only abbreviation for "April Fool's Joke". Elaborate April Fool's hoaxes are a long-established tradition on Usenet and Internet; see kremvax for an example. In fact, April Fool's Day is the only seasonal holiday consistently marked by customary observances on Internet and other hacker networks. Used to notify others that you will be momentarily unavailable online. Often MUDs will have a command to politely inform others of your absence when they try to talk with you. A problem that is AI-complete is, in other words, just too hard.

See also gedanken. See also ha ha only serious , mu , and hacker humor. See virus , worm , Trojan horse , virgin. A victim of the dreaded "hybridism" disease, this attempt to combine the two main currents of the Unix stream BSD and USG Unix became a monstrosity to haunt system administrators' dreams. For example, if new accounts are created while many users are logged on, the load average jumps quickly over 20 due to silly implementation of the user databases. It is correspondingly argued that the right way to build reliable systems is to put all your eggs in one basket, after making sure that you've built a really good basket.

Typically this is created while debugging user interface code. An example would be when there is a menu stating, "Select or 9 to quit" and 9 is not allowed by the function that takes the selection from the user. This term received its name from a programmer who had coded a modal message box in MSAccess with no Ok or Cancel buttons, thereby disabling the entire program whenever the box came up.

The message box had the proper code for dismissal and even was set up so that when the non-existent Ok button was pressed the proper code would be called. A class of subtle programming errors that can arise in code that does dynamic allocation, esp. Avoidable by use of allocation strategies that never alias allocated core, or by use of higher-level languages, such as LISP , which employ a garbage collector see GC. Also called a stale pointer bug. See also precedence lossage , smash the stack , fandango on core , memory leak , memory smash , overrun screw , spam. The archetypal individuals used as examples in discussions of cryptographic protocols.

Originally, theorists would say something like: "A communicates with someone who claims to be B, So to be sure, A tests that B knows a secret number K. So A sends to B a random number X. B then forms Y by encrypting X under key K and sends Y back to A" Because this sort of thing is is quite hard to follow, theorists stopped using the unadorned letters A and B to represent the main players and started calling them Alice and Bob. So now we say "Alice communicates with someone claiming to be Bob, and to be sure, So Alice tests that Bob knows a secret number K.

Alice sends to Bob a random number X. In Bruce Schneier's definitive introductory text "Applied Cryptography" 2nd ed. Others include Carol a participant in three- and four-party protocols , Dave a participant in four-party protocols , Eve an eavesdropper , Mallory a malicious active attacker , Trent a trusted arbitrator , Walter a warden , Peggy a prover and Victor a verifier.

These names for roles are either already standard or, given the wide popularity of the book, may be expected to quickly become so. Used to describe a program that rudely steals the resources that it needs without considering that other TSRs may also be resident. One particularly common form of rudeness is lock-up due to programs fighting over the keyboard interrupt.

See rude , also mess-dos. The alt hierarchy on Usenet, the tree of newsgroups created by users without a formal vote and approval procedure. There is a myth, not entirely implausible, that alt is acronymic for "anarchists, lunatics, and terrorists"; but in fact it is simply short for "alternative". Digital Press, first edition , second edition Note that due to a technical screwup some printings of the second edition are actually of a color the author describes succinctly as "yucky green".

See also book titles. A series of personal computer models originally sold by Commodore, based on x0 processors, custom support chips and an operating system that combined some of the best features of Macintosh and Unix with compatibility with neither. This prevented it from gaining serious market share, despite the fact that the first Amigas had a substantial technological lead on the IBM XTs of the time.

Instead, it acquired a small but zealous population of enthusiastic hackers who dreamt of one day unseating the clones see Amiga Persecution Complex. The strength of the Amiga platform seeded a small industry of companies building software and hardware for the platform, especially in graphics and video applications see video toaster. After Commodore went bankrupt in the technology passed through several hands, none of whom did much with it. However, the Amiga is still being produced in Europe under license and has a substantial number of fans, which will probably extend the platform's life considerably.

The disorder suffered by a particularly egregious variety of bigot , those who believe that the marginality of their preferred machine is the result of some kind of industry-wide conspiracy for without a conspiracy of some kind, the eminent superiority of their beloved shining jewel of a platform would obviously win over all, market pressures be damned! Those afflicted are prone to engaging in flame war s and calling for boycotts and mailbombings.

Linux users used to display symptoms very frequently before Linux started winning; some still do. See also newbie , troll , holy wars , weenie , Get a life! Like nethack , moria , and rogue , one of the large freely distributed Dungeons-and-Dragons-like simulation games, available for a wide range of machines and operating systems. The name is from Tolkien's Pits of Angband compare elder days , elvish. Has been described as "Moria on steroids"; but, unlike Moria, many aspects of the game are customizable.

This leads many hackers and would-be hackers into fooling with these instead of doing productive work. There are many Angband variants, of which the most notorious is probably the rather whimsical Zangband. In this game, when a key that does not correspond to a command is pressed, the game will display "Type? Zangband also allows the player to kill Santa Claus who has some really good stuff, but also has a lot of friends , "Bull Gates", and Barney the Dinosaur but be watchful; Barney has a nasty case of halitosis.

See also Random Number God. A bad visual-interface design that uses too many colors. This term derives, of course, from the bizarre day-glo colors found in canned fruit salad. Too often one sees similar effects from interface designers using color window systems such as X ; there is a tendency to create displays that are flashy and attention-getting but uncomfortable for long-term use.

A type of shareware that frequently disrupts normal program operation to display requests for payment to the author in return for the ability to disable the request messages. See also careware , charityware , crippleware , freeware , FRS , guiltware , postcardware , and -ware ; compare payware. Unfortunately, this standard was both over-complicated and too permissive.

It has been retired and replaced by the ECMA standard, which shares both flaws. This comes from the ANSI. Particular use depends on context. It's most appropriately applied to things that everyone does that are not quite regulation. For example: ANSI standard shaking of a laser printer cartridge to get extra life from it, or the ANSI standard word tripling in names of usenet alt groups. Coined allegedly because most pizzas ordered by CMU hackers during some period leading up to mid were of that flavor.

See also rotary debugger ; compare ISO standard cup of tea. The number of exclamation points following varies from zero to five or so. The pseudo-HTML. See also September that never ended. Apps are what systems vendors are forever chasing developers to create for their environments so they can sell more boxes. Hackers tend not to think of the things they themselves run as apps; thus, in hacker parlance the term excludes compilers, program editors, games, and messaging systems, though a user would consider all those to be apps.

See killer app ; oppose tool , operating system. So named from a malloc: corrupt arena message emitted when some early versions detected an impossible value in the free block list. See overrun screw , aliasing bug , memory leak , memory smash , smash the stack. ARMM was intended to automatically cancel posts from anonymous-posting sites. Unfortunately, the robot's recognizer for anonymous postings triggered on its own automatically-generated control messages!

Transformed by this stroke of programming ineptitude into a monster of Frankensteinian proportions, it broke loose on the night of March 31, and proceeded to spam news. ARMM's bug produced a recursive cascade of messages each of which mechanically added text to the ID and Subject and some other headers of its parent. This produced a flood of messages in which each header took up several screens and each message ID and subject line got longer and longer and longer. Reactions varied from amusement to outrage.

The pathological messages crashed at least one mail system, and upset people paying line charges for their Usenet feeds. One poster described the ARMM debacle as "instant Usenet history" also establishing the term despew , and it has since been widely cited as a cautionary example of the havoc the combination of good intentions and incompetence can wreak on a network. Compare Great Worm ; sorcerer's apprentice mode. See also software laser , network meltdown.

See, for example, asbestos longjohns and asbestos cork award. Any reader in doubt as to the intended application of the cork should consult the etymology under flame. Since then, it is agreed that only a select few have risen to the heights of bombast required to earn this dubious dignity -- but there is no agreement on which few. Notional garments donned by Usenet posters just before emitting a remark they expect will elicit flamage.

This is the most common of the asbestos coinages. The standard version uses 7 bits for each character, whereas most earlier codes including early drafts of of ASCII prior to June used fewer. This change allowed the inclusion of lowercase letters -- a major win -- but it did not provide for accented letters or any other letterforms not used in English such as the German sharp-S or the ae-ligature which is a letter in, for example, Norwegian. It could be worse, though.

It could be much worse. Computers are much pickier and less flexible about spelling than humans; thus, hackers need to be very precise when talking about characters, and have developed a considerable amount of verbal shorthand for them. Every character has one or more names -- some formal, some concise, some silly. See also individual entries for bang , excl , open , ques , semi , shriek , splat , twiddle , and Yu-Shiang Whole Fish. This list derives from revision 2. Ordinary parentheticals provide some usage information. The U. Some other common usages cause odd overlaps.

See also splat. The inability of ASCII text to correctly represent any of the world's other major languages makes the designers' choice of 7 bits look more and more like a serious misfeature as the use of international networks continues to increase see software rot. Hardware and software from the U. Here is a serious example:. There is an important subgenre of ASCII art that puns on the standard character names in the fashion of a rebus. Within humorous ASCII art, there is for some reason an entire flourishing subgenre of pictures of silly cows. Four of these are reproduced in the examples above, here are three more:.

There is a newsgroup, alt. This lexicon is sorted in something close to ASCIIbetical order, but with case ignored and entries beginning with non-alphabetic characters moved to the end. This term became common among hackers after it came to light in early that Microsoft had attempted to use such tactics to forestall the U. Department of Justice's antitrust action against the company. This backfired horribly, angering a number of state attorneys-general enough to induce them to go public with plans to join the Federal suit.

It also set anybody defending Microsoft on the net for the accusation "You're just astroturfing! Indivisible; cannot be split up. Used esp. If an error prevents a partially-performed transaction from proceeding to completion, it must be "backed out," as the database must not be left in an inconsistent state. About an inch. A parsec parallax-second is 3. This unit is reported to be in use though probably not very seriously among hackers in the U.

See micro-. Abbreviation, "Acceptable Use Policy". Automatically, but in a way that, for some reason typically because it is too complicated, or too ugly, or perhaps even too trivial , the speaker doesn't feel like explaining to you. See magic. This term is quite old, going back at least to the mids in jargon and probably much earlier. Among people working on virtual reality and cyberspace interfaces, an avatar is an icon or representation of a user in a shared virtual reality.

The term is sometimes used on MUD s. It is characterized by C-like syntax, a declaration-free approach to variable typing and declarations, associative arrays, and field-oriented text processing. See also Perl. Editing term for an expression awkward to manipulate through normal regexp facilities for example, one containing a newline. To process data using awk 1. The motivation for such holes is not always sinister; some operating systems, for example, come out of the box with privileged accounts intended for use by field service technicians or the vendor's maintenance programmers.

See also iron box , cracker , worm , logic bomb. Historically, back doors have often lurked in systems longer than anyone expected or planned, and a few have become widely known. Ken Thompson's Turing Award lecture to the ACM admitted the existence of a back door in early Unix versions that may have qualified as the most fiendishly clever security hack of all time. Normally such a back door could be removed by removing it from the source code for the compiler and recompiling the compiler.

And having done this once, he was then able to recompile the compiler from the original sources; the hack perpetuated itself invisibly, leaving the back door in place and active but with no trace in the sources. Ken Thompson has since confirmed that this hack was implemented and that the Trojan Horse code did appear in the login binary of a Unix Support group machine. Ken says the crocked compiler was never distributed. A group of large-site administrators who pushed through the Great Renaming and reined in the chaos of Usenet during most of the s.

During most of its lifetime, the Cabal as it was sometimes capitalized steadfastly denied its own existence; it was almost obligatory for anyone privy to their secrets to respond "There is no Cabal" whenever the existence or activities of the group were speculated on in public. The result of this policy was an attractive aura of mystery. Even a decade after the cabal mailing list disbanded in late following a bitter internal catfight, many people believed or claimed to believe that it had not actually disbanded but only gone deeper underground with its power intact.

This belief became a model for various paranoid theories about various Cabals with dark nefarious objectives beginning with taking over the Usenet or Internet. These paranoias were later satirized in ways that took on a life of their own. See Eric Conspiracy for one example. Formerly, a key Usenet and email site, one that processes a large amount of third-party traffic, especially if it is the home site of any of the regional coordinators for the Usenet maps. Notable backbone sites as of early , when this sense of the term was beginning to pass out of general use due to wide availability of cheap Internet connections, included uunet and the mail machines at Rutgers University, UC Berkeley, DEC 's Western Research Laboratories, Ohio State University, and the University of Texas.

Compare rib site , leaf site. The UUCP network world that gave it meaning has nearly disappeared; everyone is on the Internet now and network traffic is distributed in very different patterns. See bignum sense 3 , moby sense 4 , and pseudoprime. Some people prefer to use the term for processing that they have queued up for their unconscious minds a tack that one can often fruitfully take upon encountering an obstacle in creative work.

Compare amp off , slopsucker. Technically, a task running in background is detached from the terminal where it was started and often running at a lower priority ; oppose foreground. In a regular expression or pattern match, the text which was matched within grouping parentheses parentheses. The part of the pattern which refers back to the matched text. By extension, anything which refers back to something which has been seen or discussed before. Discovering backronyms is a common form of wordplay among hackers. Compare retcon. Back up. Used to suggest that someone just said or did something wrong.

Once common among APL programmers; may now be obsolete. Too often, the old and new versions cannot definitively be distinguished, such that lingering instances of the previous ones yield crashes or other infelicitous effects, as opposed to a simple "version mismatch" message. A backwards compatible change, on the other hand, allows old versions to coexist without crashes or error messages, but too many major changes incorporating elaborate backwards compatibility processing can lead to extreme software bloat.

See also flag day. See working as designed. This common term is the prototype of, and is used by contrast with, three less common terms - Bad and Right a kludge, something ugly but functional ; Good and Wrong an overblown GUI or other attractive nuisance ; and rare praise Good and Right. These terms entered common use at Durham c.

Compare evil and rude , Good Thing , Bad Thing. This term is always capitalized, as in "Replacing all of the baud modems with bicycle couriers would be a Bad Thing". Oppose Good Thing. British correspondents confirm that Bad Thing and Good Thing and prob. This has apparently created a mainstream idiom on the British side of the pond. It is very common among American hackers, but not in mainstream usage here. Compare Bad and Wrong. Usually derogatory, implying that the original was being overextended and should have been thrown away, and the new product is ugly, inelegant, or bloated.

Also v. That's just a bag on the side of C Something, such as a program or a computer, that fails to work, or works in a remarkably clumsy manner. What a bagbiter! A person who has caused you some trouble, inadvertently or otherwise, typically by failing to program the computer properly. Synonyms: loser , cretin , chomper. To fail in some manner. The original loading of these terms was almost undoubtedly obscene, possibly referring to a douche bag or the scrotum we have reports of "Bite the douche bag! ITS's lexiphage program was the first and to date only known example of a program intended to be a bagbiter.

Having the quality of a bagbiter. The affected user will come back to find a post from them on internal newsgroups discussing exactly how baggy their pants are, an accepted stand-in for "unattentive user who left their work unprotected in the clusters". A properly-done baggy pantsing is highly mocking and humorous see examples below. It is considered bad form to post a baggy pantsing to off-campus newsgroups or the more technical, serious groups. A particularly nice baggy pantsing may be "claimed" by immediately quoting the message in full, followed by your sig; this has the added benefit of keeping the embarassed victim from being able to delete the post.

Interesting baggy-pantsings have been done involving adding commands to login scripts to repost the message every time the unlucky user logs in; Unix boxes on the residential network, when cracked, oftentimes have their homepages replaced after being politely backedup to another file with a baggy-pants message;. Usage: "Prof. Greenlee fell asleep in the Solaris cluster again; we baggy-pantsed him to git.

A typical balloonian variable started out as a flag attached to some environment feature that either became obsolete or was planned but never implemented. Compatibility concerns or politics attached to same may require that such a flag be treated as though it were live. Notional sound made by a person or object teleporting in or out of the hearer's vicinity.

Often used in virtual reality esp. MUD electronic fora when a character wishes to make a dramatic entrance or exit. The sound of magical transformation, used in virtual reality fora like MUDs. In MUD circles, "bamf" is also used to refer to the act by which a MUD server sends a special notification to the MUD client to switch its connection to another server "I'll set up the old site to just bamf people over to our new location.

The labels often used on the sides of macrotape reels, so called because they are shaped roughly like blunt-ended bananas. This term, like macrotapes themselves, is still current but visibly headed for obsolescence. Not knowing where or when to bring a production to a close compare fencepost error. Also, see one-banana problem for a superficially similar but unrelated usage. This comes from an analogy between binary and the hand, i.

Considered silly. This generalized usage began to go mainstream after the Internet population explosion of Attention span. On Usenet , a measure of network capacity that is often wasted by people complaining about how items posted by others are a waste of bandwidth. Common spoken name for! ASCII , especially when used in pronouncing a bang path in spoken hackish. Note that it is used exclusively for non-emphatic written! An exclamation signifying roughly "I have achieved enlightenment!

To stress-test a piece of hardware or software: "I banged on the new version of the simulator all day yesterday and it didn't crash once. I guess it is ready for release. Thus, for example, the path! Bang paths of 8 to 10 hops were not uncommon in Late-night dial-up UUCP links would cause week-long transmission times. Bang paths were often selected by both transmission time and reliability, as messages would often get lost.

See Internet address , the network , and sitename. The title page added to printouts by most print spoolers see spool. Typically includes user or account ID information in very large character-graphics capitals. A similar printout generated typically on multiple pages of fan-fold paper from user-specified text, e. This is probably now the commonest sense.

See ratio site , leech mode. Often appended to foo to produce foobar. Real bare-metal programming involves things like building boot proms and BIOS chips, implementing basic monitors used to test device drivers, and writing the assemblers that will be used to write the compiler back ends that will give the new machine a real development environment. This sort of thing has become less common as the relative costs of programming time and machine resources have changed, but is still found in heavily constrained environments such as industrial embedded systems, and in the code of hackers who just can't let go of that low-level control.

See Real Programmer. In the world of personal computing, bare metal programming especially in sense 1 but sometimes also in sense 2 is often considered a Good Thing , or at least a necessary evil because these machines have often been sufficiently slow and poorly designed to make it necessary; see ill-behaved. There, the term usually refers to bypassing the BIOS or OS interface and writing the application to directly access device registers and machine addresses. Term of disgust. This is the closest hackish equivalent of the Valspeak "gag me with a spoon". Like, euwww! See bletch. To say "Barf!

To fail to work because of unacceptable input, perhaps with a suitable error message, perhaps not.

Examples: "The division operation barfs if you try to divide by 0. Multiple bounce message s accumulating to the level of serious annoyance, or worse. The sort of thing that happens when an inter-network mail gateway goes down or wonky. Variation of barf used around the Stanford area. An exclamation, expressing disgust. On seeing some particularly bad code one might exclaim, "Barfulation! Who wrote this, Quux?

Said of hardware or esp. Now that is baroque! A programming language, originally designed for Dartmouth's experimental timesharing system in the early s, which for many years was the leading cause of brain damage in proto-hackers. Edsger W. Dijkstra observed in "Selected Writings on Computing: A Personal Perspective" that "It is practically impossible to teach good programming style to students that have had prior exposure to BASIC: as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration. A novice can write short BASIC programs on the order of lines very easily; writing anything longer a is very painful, and b encourages bad habits that will make it harder to use more powerful languages well.

This wouldn't be so bad if historical accidents hadn't made BASIC so common on low-end micros in the s. As it is, it probably ruined tens of thousands of potential wizards. Note: the name is commonly parsed as Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code, but this is a backronym. Because most programming language names were in fact acronyms, BASIC was often capitalized just out of habit or to be silly. No acronym for BASIC originally existed or was intended as one can verify by reading texts through the early s. Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code is the one that caught on.

Many hackers routinely hang numerous devices such as pagers, cell-phones, personal organizers, leatherman multitools, pocket knives, flashlights, walkie-talkies, even miniature computers from their belts. When many of these devices are worn at once, the hacker's belt somewhat resembles Batman's utility belt; hence it is referred to as a batbelt. Performance of dreary tasks all at one sitting. See also burn-in period , infant mortality.

Bits per second. Hence kilobaud or Kbaud, thousands of bits per second. Most hackers are aware of these nuances but blithely ignore them. The garbage one gets a terminal or terminal emulator when using a modem connection with some protocol setting esp. Baud barf is not completely random , by the way; hackers with a lot of serial-line experience can usually tell whether the device at the other end is expecting a higher or lower speed than the terminal is set to. Really experienced ones can identify particular speeds. A term of mild annoyance. He says "It came from "Pogo". In , after meditatating on the success of Linux for three years, the Jargon File's own editor ESR wrote an analytical paper on hacker culture and development models titled The Cathedral and the Bazaar.

The main argument of the paper was that Brooks's Law is not the whole story; given the right social machinery, debugging can be efficiently parallelized across large numbers of programmers. The title metaphor caught on see also cathedral , and the style of development typical in the Linux community is now often referred to as the bazaar mode. Its characteristics include releasing code early and often, and actively seeking the largest possible pool of peer reviewers. Any electronic bulletin board; esp.

At CMU and other colleges with similar facilities, refers to campus-wide electronic bulletin boards. The term was especially applied to the thousands of local BBS systems that operated during the pre-Internet microcomputer era of roughly to , typically run by amateurs for fun out of their homes on MS-DOS boxes with a single modem line each.

Fans of Usenet and Internet or the big commercial timesharing bboards such as CompuServe and GEnie tended to consider local BBSes the low-rent district of the hacker culture, but they served a valuable function by knitting together lots of hackers and users in the personal-micro world who would otherwise have been unable to exchange code at all. See also bboard. It is remarkable for its rich syntax, small size of compiler it can be run in 16k and extreme portability. It reached break-even point at a very early stage, and was the language in which the original hello world program was written.

It has been ported to so many different systems that its creator confesses to having lost count. It has only one data type a machine word which can be used as an integer, a character, a floating point number, a pointer, or almost anything else, depending on context. BCPL was a precursor of C, which inherited some of its features.

Palm Pilot users very commonly use this term for the act of exchanging bits via the infrared links on their machines this term seems to have originated with the ill-fated Newton Message Pad. Compare blast , snarf , BLT. A worthy companion to INTERCAL ; a computer language family which escapes the quotidian limitation of linear control flow and embraces program counters flying through multiple dimensions with exotic topologies. A Macintosh.

See toaster ; compare Macintrash , maggotbox. Distinguished from chrome , which is intended to attract users. The recognized emphatic form is "bells, whistles, and gongs". It used to be thought that this term derived from the toyboxes on theater organs. However, the "and gongs" strongly suggests a different origin, at sea. Before powered horns, ships routinely used bells, whistles, and gongs to signal each other over longer distances than voice can carry.

See also machoflops , MIPS , smoke and mirrors. It usually has nonexistent, incomplete, or incorrect documentation, has been tested on at least two examples, and core dumps when anyone else attempts to use it. This term was frequently applied to early versions of the dbx 1 debugger. See also Berzerkeley. Not used at Berkeley itself. See software bloat , Missed'em-five , Berkeley Quality Software.

Mainstream use of this term in reference to the cultural and political peculiarities of UC Berkeley as a whole has been reported from as far back as the s. Mostly working, but still under test; usu. In the Real World , systems hardware or software software often go through two stages of release testing: Alpha in-house and Beta out-house? Beta releases are generally made to a group of lucky or unlucky trusted customers. Anything that is new and experimental.

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  8. Flaky; dubious; suspect since beta software is notoriously buggy. Historical note: More formally, to beta-test is to test a pre-release potentially unreliable version of a piece of software by making it available to selected or self-selected customers and users. This term derives from early s terminology for product cycle checkpoints, first used at IBM but later standard throughout the industry. These themselves came from earlier A- and B-tests for hardware. The A-test was a feasibility and manufacturability evaluation done before any commitment to design and development. The B-test was a demonstration that the engineering model functioned as specified.

    The C-test corresponding to today's beta was the B-test performed on early samples of the production design, and the D test was the C test repeated after the model had been in production a while. See brute force and ignorance. In dome parts of the U. The most detailed and authoritative reference for a particular language, operating system, or other complex software system. Too many marketroid types think this sort of thing is really cute, even the 2,th time they do it.

    Compare studlycaps. The most famous pseudo , and the prototypical newbie. B1FF's location is a mystery, as his articles appear to come from a variety of sites. Versions have since been posted for the amusement of the net at large. See also Jeff K. To notify someone of incoming mail. From the BSD utility biff 1 , which was in turn named after a friendly dog who used to chase frisbees in the halls at UCB while 4. There was a legend that it had a habit of barking whenever the mailman came, but the author of biff says this is not true. No relation to B1FF. What faces a VMS user searching for documentation.

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    A full VMS kit comes on a pallet, the documentation taking up around 15 feet of shelf space before the addition of layered products such as compilers, databases, multivendor networking, and programming tools. See VMS. Used generally of number-crunching supercomputers such as Crays, but can include more conventional big commercial IBMish mainframes. Term of approval; compare heavy metal , oppose dinosaur. People get fired for pulling them, especially inappropriately see also molly-guard. Compare power cycle , three-finger salute , reset ; see also scram switch.

    Small mistake; big win! See little-endian , middle-endian , NUXI problem , swab. An Internet address the wrong way round. Most of the world follows the Internet standard and writes email addresses starting with the name of the computer and ending up with the name of the country. In the U. Most gateway sites have ad-hockery in their mailers to handle this, but can still be confused.

    In particular, the address me uk. More generally, any very large number. There's bignums for you! See also El Camino Bignum. Sense 1 may require some explanation. If you want to work with numbers larger than that, you have to use floating-point numbers, which are usually accurate to only six or seven decimal places. Computer languages that provide bignums can perform exact calculations on very large numbers, such as !

    For example, this value for ! It is truly said "You can tell a bigot, but you can't tell him much. A mental flag: a reminder that something should be done eventually. More generally, a possibly incorrect mental state of belief. One speaks of setting and clearing bits. See also flag , trit , mode bit. Transmission of data on a serial line, when accomplished by rapidly tweaking a single output bit, in software, at the appropriate times. Input is more interesting. And full duplex doing input and output at the same time is one way to separate the real hackers from the wannabee s.

    In an interesting instance of the cycle of reincarnation , this technique returned to use in the early s on some RISC architectures because it consumes such an infinitesimal part of the processor that it actually makes sense not to have a UART. Compare cycle of reincarnation. May connote either tedium or a real technical challenge more usually the former.

    The universal data sink originally, the mythical receptacle used to catch bits when they fall off the end of a register during a shift instruction. The place where all lost mail and news messages eventually go. Routing to the bit bucket is automatically performed by mail-transfer agents, news systems, and the lower layers of the network. The ideal location for all unwanted mail responses: "Flames about this article to the bit bucket. Excuse for all mail that has not been sent. This term is used purely in jest. It is based on the fanciful notion that bits are objects that are not destroyed but only misplaced.

    See also chad box. Any imbalance results in bits filling up the bit bucket. A qualified computer technician can empty a full bit bucket as part of scheduled maintenance. See bit rot. People with a physics background tend to prefer this variant for the analogy with particle decay. See also computron , quantum bogodynamics. The theory explains that bits decay as if they were radioactive. As time passes, the contents of a file or the code in a program will become increasingly garbled. There actually are physical processes that produce such effects alpha particles generated by trace radionuclides in ceramic chip packages, for example, can change the contents of a computer memory unpredictably, and various kinds of subtle media failures can corrupt files in mass storage , but they are quite rare and computers are built with error-detecting circuitry to compensate for them.

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    The notion long favored among hackers that cosmic rays are among the causes of such events turns out to be a myth; see the cosmic rays entry for details. The term software rot is almost synonymous. Software rot is the effect, bit rot the notional cause. Aimless small modification to a program, esp. The ASR was a mechanical device see EOU , so the only way to generate the character codes from keystrokes was by some physical linkage. In order to avoid making the thing even more of a kluge than it already was, the design had to group characters that shared the same basic bit pattern on one key.

    This is why the characters! The Teletype Model 33 was actually designed before ASCII existed, and was originally intended to use a code that contained these two rows:. The result would have been something closer to a normal keyboard. But as it happened, Teletype had to use a lot of persuasion just to keep ASCII, and the Model 33 keyboard, from looking like this instead:. Teletype's was not the weirdest variant of the QWERTY layout widely seen, by the way; that prize should probably go to one of several differing arrangements on IBM's even clunkier and card punches.

    When electronic terminals became popular, in the early s, there was no agreement in the industry over how the keyboards should be laid out. Some vendors opted to emulate the Teletype keyboard, while others used the flexibility of electronic circuitry to make their product look like an office typewriter.

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    To a hacker, the bit-paired keyboard seemed far more logical -- and because most hackers in those days had never learned to touch-type, there was little pressure from the pioneering users to adapt keyboards to the typewriter standard. The doom of the bit-paired keyboard was the large-scale introduction of the computer terminal into the normal office environment, where out-and-out technophobes were expected to use the equipment.

    However, in countries without a long history of touch typing, the argument against the bit-paired keyboard layout was weak or nonexistent. As a result, the standard Japanese keyboard, used on PCs, Unix boxen etc. Synonym for blit or BLT. Both uses are borderline techspeak. By clicking on "Submit" you agree that you have read and agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

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