term% ls -F
term% cat index.txt

                     GLOSSARY OF JARGON

Compiled by Guy L. Steele Jr., Raphael Finkel, Donald Woods,
             Geoff Goodfellow and Mark Crispin,
  with assistance from the MIT and Stanford AI communities
            and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
     Some contributions were submitted via the ARPAnet
                 from miscellaneous sites.

Verb doubling: a standard construction is to double  a  verb
    and  use  it  as  a  comment on what the implied subject
    does.  Often used to terminate a conversation.   Typical
    examples involve WIN, LOSE, HACK, FLAME, BARF, CHOMP:

            "The disk heads just crashed." "Lose, lose."
            "Mostly he just talked about his --- crock.  Flame, flame."
            "Boy, what a bagbiter!  Chomp, chomp!"

Soundalike slang: similar to Cockney rhyming  slang.   Often
    made up on the spur of the moment.  Standard examples:

            Boston Globe -> Boston Glob
            Herald American -> Horrid (Harried) American
            New York Times -> New York Slime
            historical reasons -> hysterical raisins
            government property - do not duplicate (seen on keys)
                    -> government duplicity - do not propagate

    Often the substitution will be made in such a way as  to
    slip in a standard jargon word:

            Dr. Dobb's Journal -> Dr. Frob's Journal
            creeping featurism -> feeping creaturism
            Margaret Jacks Hall -> Marginal Hacks Hall

The -P convention: turning a word into a question by append-
    ing  the  syllable  "P";  from  the  LISP  convention of
    appending the  letter  "P"  to  denote  a  predicate  (a
    Boolean-valued  function).  The question should expect a
    yes/no answer, though it needn't.  (See T and NIL.)

                           - 2 -

            At dinnertime: "Foodp?" "Yeah, I'm pretty hungry." or "T!"
            "State-of-the-world-P?" (Straight) "I'm about to go home."
                          (Humorous) "Yes, the world has a state."

    [One of the best of these is a Gosperism (i.e.,  due  to
    Bill  Gosper).  When we were at a Chinese restaurant, he
    wanted to know whether someone would like to share  with
    him  a  two-person-sized bowl of soup.  His inquiry was:
    "Split-p soup?" --GLS]

Peculiar nouns: MIT AI hackers love to  take  various  words
    and  add  the  wrong  endings  to them to make nouns and
    verbs, often by extending a standard rule to  nonuniform
    cases.  Examples:

                    porous => porosity
                    generous => generosity
            Ergo:   mysterious => mysteriosity
                    ferrous => ferocity

    Other examples: winnitude, disgustitude, hackification.

Spoken inarticulations: Words such as "mumble," "sigh,"  and
    "groan"  are spoken in places where their referent might
    more naturally be used.  It has been suggested that this
    usage  derives  from  the  impossibility of representing
    such noises in a com link.  Another expression sometimes
    heard is "complain!"

@BEGIN (primarily CMU) with @END, used humorously in writing
    to  indicate  a  context  or to remark on the surrounded
    text.  >From the SCRIBE command of the same  name.   For

            Predicate logic is the only good programming language.
            Anyone who would use anything else is an idiot.  Also,
            computers should be tredecimal instead of binary.

ANGLE BRACKETS (primarily MIT) n. Either of  the  characters
    "<" and ">".  See BROKET.

AOS (aus (East coast) ay-ahs (West coast)) [based on a  PDP-
    10  increment  instruction] v. To increase the amount of
    something.  "Aos the campfire." Usage: considered silly.
    See SOS.

ARG n. Abbreviation for "argument" (to a function), used  so
    often as to have become a new word.

                           - 3 -

AUTOMAGICALLY adv. Automatically, but in a  way  which,  for
    some reason (typically because it is too complicated, or
    too ugly, or perhaps even too  trivial),  I  don't  feel
    like  explaining to you.  See MAGIC.  Example: Some pro-
    grams which produce XGP output files spool them automag-

BAGBITER 1. n. Equipment  or  program  that  fails,  usually
    intermittently.   2. BAGBITING: adj. Failing hardware or
    software.  "This bagbiting system won't let me  get  out
    of spacewar." Usage: verges on obscenity.  Grammatically
    separable; one may speak of "biting the bag."  Synonyms:

BANG n. Common alternate name for EXCL (q.v.), especially at
    CMU.  See SHRIEK.

BAR 1. The second metasyntactic variable, after FOO.   "Sup-
    pose  we  have  two  functions  FOO  and BAR.  FOO calls
    BAR..." 2. Often appended to FOO to produce FOOBAR.

BARF [from the "layman" slang, meaning "vomit"]  1.  interj.
    Term of disgust.  See BLETCH.  2. v. Choke, as on input.
    May mean to give an error message.  "The  function  com-
    pares  two fixnums or two flonums, and barfs on anything
    else." 3. BARFULOUS, BARFUCIOUS: adj. Said of  something
    which would make anyone barf, if only for aesthetic rea-

BELLS AND WHISTLES n. Unnecessary but  useful  (or  amusing)
    features  of  a  program.  "Now that we've got the basic
    program working, let's go back and add  some  bells  and
    whistles."  Nobody  seems  to  know what distinguishes a
    bell from a whistle.

BIGNUMS [from Macsyma] n. 1. In backgammon, large numbers on
    the  dice.   2. Multiple-precision (sometimes infinitely
    extendable) integers  and,  through  analogy,  any  very
    large  numbers.   3. EL CAMINO BIGNUM: El Camino Real, a
    street through the San Francisco peninsula  that  origi-
    nally extended (and still appears in places) all the way
    to Mexico City.  It was termed "El Camino Double  Preci-
    sion"  when someone noted it was a very long street, and
    then "El Camino Bignum" when it was pointed out that  it
    was hundreds of miles long.

BIN [short for BINARY; used as a second file name on ITS] 1.
    n.   BINARY.  2. BIN FILE: A file containing the BIN for
    a program.  Usage: used at MIT, which runs on ITS.   The
    equivalent  term  at Stanford is DMP (pronounced "dump")
    FILE.  Other names used include SAV ("save")  FILE  (DEC
    and  Tenex),  SHR ("share") and LOW FILES (DEC), and EXE
    ("ex'ee") FILE (DEC and Twenex).  Also in this  category

                           - 4 -

    are  the  input  files to the various flavors of linking
    loaders (LOADER, LINK-10, STINK), called REL FILES.

BINARY n. The object code for a program.

BIT n. 1. The unit of information; the amount of information
    obtained  by  asking  a  yes-or-no  question.  "Bits" is
    often used simply to mean information, as  in  "Give  me
    bits  about  DPL  replicators."  2.  [By  extension from
    "interrupt bits" on a computer] A  reminder  that  some-
    thing  should  be done or talked about eventually.  Upon
    seeing someone that you haven't talked to for  a  while,
    it's  common  for  one or both to say, "I have a bit set
    for you."

BITBLT (bit'blit) 1. v. To perform a complex operation on  a
    large  block  of  bits, usually involving the bits being
    displayed on a bitmapped raster screen.  See BLT.  2. n.
    The operation itself.

BIT BUCKET n. 1. A receptacle used to hold the  runoff  from
    the computer's shift registers.  2. Mythical destination
    of deleted files, GC'ed  memory,  and  other  no-longer-
    accessible data.  3. The physical device associated with

BLETCH [from German "brechen," to vomit] 1. interj. Term  of
    disgust.   2.  BLETCHEROUS: adj. Disgusting in design or
    function.   "This  keyboard  is   bletcherous!"   Usage:
    slightly comic.

BLT (blit, very rarely belt)  [based  on  the  PDP-10  block
    transfer  instruction; confusing to users of the PDP-11]
    1. v. To transfer a large contiguous package of informa-
    tion  from  one  place  to  another.  2. THE BIG BLT: n.
    Shuffling operation on the PDP-10 under  some  operating
    systems  that  consumes a significant amount of computer
    time.  3. (usually pronounced B-L-T)  n.  Sandwich  con-
    taining bacon, lettuce, and tomato.

BOGOSITY n. The degree to which something is  BOGUS  (q.v.).
    At  CMU,  bogosity is measured with a bogometer; typical
    use: in a seminar, when a speaker says something  bogus,
    a  listener  might raise his hand and say, "My bogometer
    just triggered." The agreed-upon unit of bogosity is the
    microLenat (uL).

BOGUS (WPI, Yale, Stanford) adj. 1.  Non-functional.   "Your
    patches  are bogus." 2. Useless.  "OPCON is a bogus pro-
    gram."  3.  False.   "Your  arguments  are  bogus."   4.
    Incorrect.   "That algorithm is bogus." 5. Silly.  "Stop
    writing those bogus sagas." (This  word  seems  to  have
    some,  but  not  all,  of  the  connotations of RANDOM.)
    [Etymological note from Lehman/Reid at CMU: "Bogus"  was

                           - 5 -

    originally  used  (in  this  sense) at Princeton, in the
    late 60's.  It was  used  not  particularly  in  the  CS
    department, but all over campus.  It came to Yale, where
    one of us (Lehman) was an undergraduate, and (we assume)
    elsewhere  through  the  efforts of Princeton alumni who
    brought the word with them from their  alma  mater.   In
    the  Yale case, the alumnus is Michael Shamos, who was a
    graduate student at Yale and is  now  a  faculty  member
    here.   A  glossary  of bogus words was compiled at Yale
    when the word was first popularized (e.g.,  autobogopho-
    bia: the fear of becoming bogotified).]

BOUNCE (Stanford) v. To play volleyball.   "Bounce,  bounce!
    Stop  wasting  time  on  the computer and get out to the

BRAIN-DAMAGED [generalization of  "Honeywell  Brain  Damage"
    (HBD), a theoretical disease invented to explain certain
    utter cretinisms in Multics] adj. Obviously wrong;  cre-
    tinous; demented.  There is an implication that the per-
    son responsible must have suffered brain damage, because
    he  should  have known better.  Calling something brain-
    damaged is really bad; it also implies it is unusable.

BREAK v. 1. To cause to be broken  (in  any  sense).   "Your
    latest  patch to the system broke the TELNET server." 2.
    (of a program) To stop temporarily, so that  it  may  be
    examined  for  debugging  purposes.   The place where it
    stops is a BREAKPOINT.

BROKEN adj. 1.  Not  working  properly  (of  programs).   2.
    Behaving  strangely;  especially (of people), exhibiting
    extreme depression.

BROKET [by analogy with "bracket:" a "broken bracket"] (pri-
    marily  Stanford)  n.  Either  of the characters "<" and
    ">".  (At MIT, and apparently in The Real  World  (q.v.)
    as well, these are usually called ANGLE BRACKETS.)

BUCKY BITS (primarily Stanford) n. The bits produced by  the
    CTRL  and META shift keys on a Stanford (or Knight) key-
    board.  Rumor has it that the idea for  extra  bits  for
    characters  came  from Niklaus Wirth, and that his nick-
    name was "Bucky."

DOUBLE BUCKY adj. Using both the CTRL and META  keys.   "The
    command to burn all LEDs is double bucky F."

BUG  [from  telephone  terminology,  "bugs  in  a  telephone
    cable," blamed for noisy lines; however, Jean Sammet has
    repeatedly been heard to claim that the use of the  term
    in  CS  comes  from a story concerning actual bugs found
    wedged  in  an  early  malfunctioning  computer]  n.  An
    unwanted  and unintended property of a program.  (People

                           - 6 -

    can have bugs too (even winners) as in "PHW is  a  super
    winner, but he has some bugs.") See FEATURE.

BUM 1. v. To make highly efficient, either in time or space,
    often at the expense of clarity.  The object of the verb
    is usually what was removed ("I  managed  to  bum  three
    more  instructions.")  but  can  be  the  program  being
    changed  ("I  bummed  the  inner  loop  down  to   seven
    microseconds.")  2. n. A small change to an algorithm to
    make it more efficient.

BUZZ v. To run in a very tight loop, perhaps without guaran-
    tee of getting out.

CANONICAL adj. The usual or  standard  state  or  manner  of
    something.   A  true story:  One Bob Sjoberg, new at the
    MIT AI Lab, expressed some annoyance at the use of  jar-
    gon.  Over his loud objections, we made a point of using
    jargon as much as possible in his presence, and  eventu-
    ally it began to sink in.  Finally, in one conversation,
    he used the  word  "canonical"  in  jargon-like  fashion
    without thinking.

            Steele: "Aha!  We've finally got you talking jargon too!"
            Stallman: "What did he say?"
            Steele: "He just used 'canonical' in the canonical way."

CATATONIA (kat-uh-toe'nee-uh) n. A  condition  of  suspended
    animation in which the system is in a wedged (CATATONIC)

CDR (ku'der) [from LISP] v. With "down,"  to  trace  down  a
    list  of  elements.   "Shall  we  cdr  down the agenda?"
    Usage: silly.

CHINE NUAL n. The Lisp Machine Manual, so called because the
    title  is wrapped around the cover so only those letters

CHOMP v. To lose; to chew on something  of  which  more  was
    bitten  off  than one can.  Probably related to gnashing
    of teeth.  See BAGBITER.  A hand gesture commonly accom-
    panies   this,  consisting  of  the  four  fingers  held
    together as if in a  mitten  or  hand  puppet,  and  the
    fingers and thumb open and close rapidly to illustrate a
    biting action.  The gesture alone means CHOMP CHOMP (see
    Verb Doubling).

CLOSE n. Abbreviation for "close  (or  right)  parenthesis,"
    used  when  necessary  to eliminate oral ambiguity.  See

COKEBOTTLE  n.  Any  very  unusual  character.   MIT  people

                           - 7 -

    complain about the "control-meta-cokebottle" commands at
    SAIL, and  SAIL  people  complain  about  the  "altmode-
    altmode-cokebottle" commands at MIT.

COM MODE (variant: COMM MODE)  [from  the  ITS  feature  for
    linking  two  or  more  terminals  together so that text
    typed on any is echoed on  all,  providing  a  means  of
    conversation  among  hackers] n. The state a terminal is
    in when linked to another in this way.  Com mode  has  a
    special  set of jargon words, used to save typing, which
    are not used orally:

    center; l lw(3.5i).  BCNU    Be seeing you.   BTW     By
    the  way ...  BYE?    T{ Are you ready to unlink?  (This
    is the standard way to end a com mode conversation;  the
    other person types BYE to confirm, or else continues the
    conversation.) T} CUL     See you later.   FOO?    T{  A
    greeting,  also  meaning  R  U THERE?  Often used in the
    case of unexpected links, meaning also "Sorry if I  but-
    ted   in"   (linker)   or  "What's  up?"  (linkee).   T}
    FYI     For your  information...   GA      T{  Go  ahead
    (used when two people have tried to type simultaneously;
    this  cedes  the  right  to  type  to  the  other).   T}
    HELLOP  T{  A  greeting,  also  meaning  R U THERE?  (An
    instance of the "-P"  convention.)  T}  MtFBWY  May  the
    Force  be  with  you.  (From Star Wars.) NIL     No (see
    the main entry for NIL).  OBTW    Oh, by the way ...   R
    U  THERE?      Are  you  there?   SEC     Wait  a second
    (sometimes written SEC...).  T       Yes (see  the  main
    entry for T).  TNX     Thanks.  TNX 1.0E6       Thanks a
    million (humorous).  <double CRLF>   T{ When the  typing
    party  has  finished, he types two CRLF's to signal that
    he is done; this leaves a blank line between  individual
    "speeches"  in the conversation, making it easier to re-
    read the preceding text.  T} <name>: T{  When  three  or
    more  terminals  are  linked, each speech is preceded by
    the typist's login name and a colon  (or  a  hyphen)  to
    indicate  who  is typing.  The login name often is shor-
    tened to a unique prefix (possibly a single letter) dur-
    ing a very long conversation.  T} /\/\/\  The equivalent
    of a giggle.

    At Stanford, where the link feature  is  implemented  by
    "talk loops," the term TALK MODE is used in place of COM
    MODE.  Most of the above "sub-jargon" is  used  at  both
    Stanford and MIT.

CONNECTOR CONSPIRACY [probably came into prominence with the
    appearance  of the KL-10, none of whose connectors match
    anything else] n. The tendency of manufacturers (or,  by
    extension, programmers or purveyors of anything) to come
    up with new products which don't fit together  with  the
    old  stuff,  thereby making you buy either all new stuff
    or expensive interface devices.

                           - 8 -

CONS [from LISP] 1. v. To add a new element to a  list.   2.
    CONS  UP: v. To synthesize from smaller pieces: "to cons
    up an example."

CRASH 1. n. A sudden, usually drastic failure.   Most  often
    said  of  the system (q.v., definition #1), sometimes of
    magnetic disk drives.  "Three lusers lost their files in
    last night's disk crash." A disk crash which entails the
    read/write heads dropping onto the surface of the  disks
    and  scraping off the oxide may also be referred to as a
    "head crash." 2. v. To fail suddenly.  "Has  the  system
    just  crashed?"  Also  used transitively to indicate the
    cause of the crash (usually a person or  a  program,  or
    both).   "Those idiots playing spacewar crashed the sys-
    tem." Sometimes said of people.  See GRONK OUT.

CRETIN 1. n. Congenital loser (q.v.).   2.  CRETINOUS:  adj.
    See  BLETCHEROUS  and  BAGBITING.   Usage:  somewhat ad-

CRLF (cur'lif, sometimes crul'lif) n. A carriage return (CR)
    followed by a line feed (LF).  See TERPRI.

CROCK [probably from "layman" slang, which in  turn  may  be
    derived  from  "crock of shit"] n. An awkward feature or
    programming technique that ought  to  be  made  cleaner.
    Example:  Using  small integers to represent error codes
    without the program interpreting them to the user  is  a
    crock.   Also,  a  technique  that  works acceptably but
    which is quite prone to  failure  if  disturbed  in  the
    least, for example depending on the machine opcodes hav-
    ing particular bit patterns so that you can use instruc-
    tions  as  data  words too; a tightly woven, almost com-
    pletely unmodifiable structure.

CRUFTY [from "cruddy"] adj. 1. Poorly built, possibly overly
    complex.   "This  is  standard old crufty DEC software."
    Hence CRUFT, n. shoddy  construction.   Also  CRUFT,  v.
    [from  hand cruft, pun on hand craft] to write assembler
    code for something normally (and better) done by a  com-
    piler.   2.  Unpleasant,  especially to the touch, often
    with encrusted junk.  Like spilled coffee  smeared  with
    peanut  butter  and  catsup.  Hence CRUFT, n. disgusting
    mess.  3. Generally unpleasant.  CRUFTY or CRUFTIE n.  A
    small  crufty object (see FROB); often one which doesn't
    fit well into the scheme of things.   "A  LISP  property
    list  is  a  good  place  to  store crufties (or, random
    cruft)." [Note:  Does CRUFT have anything to do with the
    Cruft Lab at Harvard?  I don't know, though I was a Har-
    vard student. --GLS]

CRUNCH v. 1. To process, usually in a time-consuming or com-
    plicated way.  Connotes an essentially trivial operation
    which is nonetheless painful to perform.  The  pain  may

                           - 9 -

    be due to the triviality being imbedded in a loop from 1
    to  1000000000.   "FORTRAN  programs  do  mostly  number
    crunching." 2. To reduce the size of a file by a compli-
    cated scheme that produces bit configurations completely
    unrelated  to  the  original  data, such as by a Huffman
    code.  (The file ends up looking like a  paper  document
    would if somebody crunched the paper into a wad.)  Since
    such compression usually takes  more  computations  than
    simpler  methods  such  as  counting repeated characters
    (such as spaces) the term is doubly appropriate.   (This
    meaning  is  usually  used  in  the  construction  "file
    crunch(ing)"   to   distinguish    it    from    "number
    crunch(ing).")  3. n. The character "#".  Usage: used at
    Xerox and CMU, among other places.  Other names for  "#"
    include  SHARP,  NUMBER,  HASH, PIG-PEN, POUND-SIGN, and
    MESH.  GLS adds: I recall reading somewhere that most of
    these  are  names for the # symbol IN CONTEXT.  The name
    for the sign itself is "octothorp."

CTY (city) n. The  terminal  physically  associated  with  a
    computer's operating console.

CUSPY [from the DEC acronym CUSP, for Commonly  Used  System
    Program,  i.e.,  a  utility program used by many people]
    (WPI) adj. 1. (of a program) Well-written.  2. Function-
    ally  excellent.   A  program  which  performs  well and
    interfaces well to users is cuspy.  See RUDE.

DAEMON (day'mun, dee'mun) [archaic form  of  "demon,"  which
    has slightly different connotations (q.v.)] n. A program
    which is not invoked explicitly, but which lies  dormant
    waiting  for  some  condition(s)  to occur.  The idea is
    that the perpetrator of the condition need not be  aware
    that  a  daemon  is lurking (though often a program will
    commit an action only because  it  knows  that  it  will
    implicitly  invoke  a  daemon).   For example, writing a
    file on the lpt  spooler's  directory  will  invoke  the
    spooling  daemon,  which prints the file.  The advantage
    is that programs which  want  (in  this  example)  files
    printed  need  not  compete for access to the lpt.  They
    simply enter their implicit requests and let the  daemon
    decide  what  to  do  with  them.   Daemons  are usually
    spawned automatically by the system, and may either live
    forever  or  be regenerated at intervals.  Usage: DAEMON
    and DEMON (q.v.) are  often  used  interchangeably,  but
    seem  to  have distinct connotations.  DAEMON was intro-
    duced to computing by CTSS  people  (who  pronounced  it
    dee'mon)  and  used  it to refer to what is now called a
    DRAGON or PHANTOM (q.v.).  The meaning and pronunciation
    have  drifted,  and  we  think  this  glossary  reflects
    current usage.

DAY MODE See PHASE (of people).

                           - 10 -

DEADLOCK n. A situation wherein two or  more  processes  are
    unable to proceed because each is waiting for another to
    do something.  A common example is a program communicat-
    ing  to  a PTY or STY, which may find itself waiting for
    output from the PTY/STY before sending anything more  to
    it,  while  the  PTY/STY  is  similarly waiting for more
    input from the  controlling  program  before  outputting
    anything.  (This particular flavor of deadlock is called
    "starvation." Another common flavor  is  "constipation,"
    where each process is trying to send stuff to the other,
    but all buffers are full because nobody is reading  any-
    thing.)  See DEADLY EMBRACE.

DEADLY EMBRACE n. Same as DEADLOCK  (q.v.),  though  usually
    used  only  when  exactly  two  processes  are involved.
    DEADLY EMBRACE is  the  more  popular  term  in  Europe;
    DEADLOCK in the United States.

DEMENTED adj. Yet another term of disgust used to describe a
    program.   The connotation in this case is that the pro-
    gram works as designed, but  the  design  is  bad.   For
    example, a program that generates large numbers of mean-
    ingless error messages implying it is on  the  point  of
    imminent collapse.

DEMON (dee'mun) n. A  portion  of  a  program  that  is  not
    invoked  explicitly,  but which lies dormant waiting for
    some condition(s) to occur.  See DAEMON.   The  distinc-
    tion  is that demons are usually processes within a pro-
    gram, while daemons are usually programs running  on  an
    operating  system.  Demons are particularly common in AI
    programs.  For example, a knowledge manipulation program
    might  implement  inference rules as demons.  Whenever a
    new piece of knowledge was added, various  demons  would
    activate  (which  demons depends on the particular piece
    of data) and would create additional pieces of knowledge
    by applying their respective inference rules to the ori-
    ginal piece.  These new pieces could  in  turn  activate
    more  demons  as  the  inferences  filtered down through
    chains of logic.  Meanwhile the main program could  con-
    tinue with whatever its primary task was.

DIABLO (dee-ah'blow) [from the Diablo  printer]  1.  n.  Any
    letter-quality   printing  device.   2.  v.  To  produce
    letter-quality output from such a device.

DIDDLE v. To work with in a not particularly serious manner.
    "I  diddled  with  a copy of ADVENT so it didn't double-
    space all the time." "Let's diddle this  piece  of  code
    and  see  if the problem goes away." See TWEAK and TWID-

DIKE [from "diagonal cutters"] v. To remove a module or dis-
    able it.  "When in doubt, dike it out."

                           - 11 -

DMP (dump) See BIN.

DO PROTOCOL [from network protocol programming] v.  To  per-
    form an interaction with somebody or something that fol-
    lows a clearly defined procedure.  For  example,  "Let's
    do protocol with the check" at a restaurant means to ask
    the waitress  for  the  check,  calculate  the  tip  and
    everybody's share, generate change as necessary, and pay
    the bill.

DOWN 1. adj. Not working.  "The up escalator  is  down."  2.
    TAKE  DOWN,  BRING  DOWN:  v. To deactivate, usually for
    repair work.  See UP.

DPB (duh-pib') [from the PDP-10 instruction set] v. To  plop
    something down in the middle.

DRAGON n. (MIT) A program  similar  to  a  "daemon"  (q.v.),
    except  that  it  is  not invoked at all, but is instead
    used by the system to perform various  secondary  tasks.
    A  typical example would be an accounting program, which
    keeps track of  who  is  logged  in,  accumulates  load-
    average  statistics, etc.  At MIT, all free TV's display
    a list of people logged in, where they are, what they're
    running,  etc. along with some random picture (such as a
    unicorn, Snoopy, or the Enterprise) which  is  generated
    by the "NAME DRAGON." See PHANTOM.

DWIM [Do What I Mean] 1. adj. Able to guess, sometimes  even
    correctly,  what  result was intended when provided with
    bogus input.  Often  suggested  in  jest  as  a  desired
    feature  for  a  complex  program.  A related term, more
    often seen as a verb, is DTRT (Do The Right Thing).   2.
    n.  The  INTERLISP  function that attempts to accomplish
    this feat by correcting many of the more common  errors.
    See HAIRY.

ENGLISH n. The source code for a program, which  may  be  in
    any  language,  as  opposed  to BINARY.  Usage: slightly
    obsolete, used mostly by old-time hackers, though recog-
    nizable  in  context.  At MIT, directory SYSENG is where
    the "English" for system programs is kept,  and  SYSBIN,
    the  binaries.   SAIL has many such directories, but the
    canonical one is [CSP,SYS].

EPSILON [from standard mathematical  notation  for  a  small
    quantity]  1.   n.  A  small quantity of anything.  "The
    cost is epsilon." 2. adj.  Very small, negligible;  less
    than  marginal  (q.v.).   "We  can  get this feature for
    epsilon cost." 3. WITHIN EPSILON OF: Close enough to  be
    indistinguishable for all practical purposes.

EXCH (ex'chuh, ekstch) [from the PDP-10 instruction set]  v.
    To exchange two things, each for the other.

                           - 12 -

EXCL (eks'cul) n. Abbreviation for "exclamation point."  See

EXE (ex'ee)  See BIN.

FAULTY adj. Same denotation as  "bagbiting,"  "bletcherous,"
    "losing," q.v., but the connotation is much milder.

FEATURE n. 1. A surprising property of a program.  Occasion-
    ally documented.  To call a property a feature sometimes
    means the author of the program  did  not  consider  the
    particular  case,  and  the program makes an unexpected,
    although not strictly speaking  an  incorrect  response.
    See  BUG.   "That's  not a bug, that's a feature!" A bug
    can be changed to a feature by  documenting  it.   2.  A
    well-known  and beloved property; a facility.  Sometimes
    features are planned, but are called crocks  by  others.
    An  approximately  correct spectrum (these terms are all
    used to describe programs or  portions  thereof,  except
    for the first two, which are included for completeness):
    (The last is never actually attained.)

FEEP 1. n. The soft bell of a display terminal (except for a
    VT-52!);  a  beep.  2. v. To cause the display to make a
    feep sound.  TTY's do not have feeps.  Alternate  forms:
    BEEP,  BLEEP,  or  just about anything suitably onomato-
    poeic.  The term BREEDLE is  sometimes  heard  at  SAIL,
    where  the terminal bleepers are not particularly "soft"
    (they sound more like the musical equivalent of sticking
    out  one's  tongue).   The  "feeper" on a VT-52 has been
    compared to the sound  of  a  '52  Chevy  stripping  its

FENCEPOST ERROR n. The discrete  equivalent  of  a  boundary
    condition.   Often  exhibited  in  programs by iterative
    loops.  From the following  problem:  "If  you  build  a
    fence  100 feet long with posts ten feet apart, how many
    posts do you need?" (Either 9 or 11 is a  better  answer
    than the obvious 10.)

FINE (WPI) adj. Good, but not good enough to be CUSPY.  [The
    word  FINE is used elsewhere, of course, but without the
    implicit comparison  to  the  higher  level  implied  by

FLAG DAY [from a bit of Multics history involving  a  change
    in the ASCII character set originally scheduled for June
    14, 1966] n. A software change which is neither  forward
    nor backward compatible, and which is costly to make and
    costly to revert.  "Can we install that without  causing
    a flag day for all users?"

                           - 13 -

FLAKEY adj. Subject to frequent lossages.  See LOSSAGE.

FLAME uninteresting subject or with  a  patently  ridiculous
    attitude.  FLAME ON: v. To continue to flame.  See RAVE.
    This punning reference to Marvel comics' Human Torch has
    been  lost  as recent usage completes the circle: "Flame
    on" now usually means "beginning of flame."

FLAP v.  To  unload  a  DECtape  (so  it  goes  flap,  flap,
    flap...).   Old hackers at MIT tell of the days when the
    disk was device 0  and  microtapes  were  1,  2,...  and
    attempting  to flap device 0 would instead start a motor
    banging inside a cabinet near the disk!

FLAVOR n. 1. Variety, type, kind.  "DDT commands come in two
    flavors."  See  VANILLA.   2.  The  attribute of causing
    something to  be  FLAVORFUL.   "This  convention  yields
    additional  flavor  by  allowing  one to... ." 3. On the
    LispMachine,  an  object-oriented   programming   system
    ("flavors"); each class of object is a flavor.

FLAVORFUL adj. Aesthetically pleasing.  See RANDOM and  LOS-
    ING for antonyms.  See also the entry for TASTE.

FLUSH v. 1. To delete something, usually superfluous.   "All
    that  nonsense has been flushed." Standard ITS terminol-
    ogy for aborting an output operation.  2.  To  leave  at
    the  end  of  a  day's work (as opposed to leaving for a
    meal).  "I'm going to flush now." "Time to flush." 3. To
    exclude someone from an activity.

FOO 1. [from Yiddish  "feh"  or  the  Anglo-Saxon  "fooey!"]
    interj.  Term  of  disgust.   2.  [from FUBAR (Fucked Up
    Beyond  All  Recognition),  from  WWII,  often  seen  as
    FOOBAR]  Name used for temporary programs, or samples of
    three-letter names.  Other similar words  are  BAR,  BAZ
    (Stanford  corruption  of  BAR),  and rarely RAG.  These
    have been used in Pogo as well.  3. Used very  generally
    as a sample name for absolutely anything.  The old "Smo-
    key Stover" comic strips often included the word FOO, in
    particular  on  license  plates  of cars.  MOBY FOO: See

FRIED adj. 1. Non-working due  to  hardware  failure;  burnt
    out.   2.  Of  people,  exhausted.  Said particularly of
    those who continue to work in such a state.  Often  used
    as  an  explanation  or  excuse.  "Yeah, I know that fix
    destroyed the file system, but I was fried when I put it

FROB 1. n. (MIT)  The  official  Tech  Model  Railroad  Club
    definition  is  "FROB = protruding arm or trunnion," and
    by metaphoric extension any somewhat small  thing.   See
    FROBNITZ.  2. v. Abbreviated form of FROBNICATE.

                           - 14 -

FROBNICATE v. To manipulate or adjust,  to  tweak.   Derived
    from  FROBNITZ  (q.v.).   Usually  abbreviated  to FROB.
    Thus one has the saying "to frob a frob." See TWEAK  and
    TWIDDLE.  Usage: FROB, TWIDDLE, and TWEAK sometimes con-
    note points along a continuum.   FROB  connotes  aimless
    manipulation; TWIDDLE connotes gross manipulation, often
    a coarse search for a  proper  setting;  TWEAK  connotes
    fine-tuning.   If someone is turning a knob on an oscil-
    loscope, then if he's carefully adjusting it he is prob-
    ably  tweaking  it; if he is just turning it but looking
    at the screen he is probably twiddling it; but  if  he's
    just  doing it because turning a knob is fun, he's frob-
    bing it.

FROBNITZ, pl. FROBNITZEM (frob'nitsm) n. An unspecified phy-
    sical object, a widget.  Also refers to electronic black
    boxes.  This rare form is usually abbreviated to  FROTZ,
    or  more commonly to FROB.  Also used are FROBNULE, FRO-
    BULE, and FROBNODULE.  Starting perhaps in 1979, FROBBOZ
    (fruh-bahz'), pl. FROBBOTZIM, has also become very popu-
    lar, largely due  to  its  exposure  via  the  Adventure
    spin-off  called  Zork  (Dungeon).   These  can  also be
    applied to non-physical objects,  such  as  data  struc-

FROG (variant: PHROG) 1. interj. Term of disgust (we seem to
    have  a  lot of them).  2. Used as a name for just about
    anything.  See FOO.  3. n. Of things, a crock.  Of  peo-
    ple,  somewhere  inbetween a turkey and a toad.  4. Jake
    Brown (FRG@SAIL).  5. FROGGY: adj. Similar to  BAGBITING
    (q.v.), but milder.  "This froggy program is taking for-
    ever to run!"

FROTZ 1. n. See FROBNITZ.  2. MUMBLE FROTZ: An  interjection
    of very mild disgust.

FRY v. 1.  To  fail.   Said  especially  of  smoke-producing
    hardware  failures.   2.  More generally, to become non-
    working.   Usage:  never  said  of  software,  only   of
    hardware and humans.  See FRIED.

FTP (spelled out, NOT pronounced "fittip") 1.  n.  The  File
    Transfer Protocol for transmitting files between systems
    on the ARPAnet.  2.  v. To transfer  a  file  using  the
    File  Transfer Program.  "Lemme get this copy of Wuther-
    ing Heights FTP'd from SAIL."

FUDGE 1. v. To  perform  in  an  incomplete  but  marginally
    acceptable way, particularly with respect to the writing
    of a program.  "I didn't feel like  going  through  that
    pain and suffering, so I fudged it." 2. n. The resulting

FUDGE FACTOR n. A value or parameter that is varied in an ad

                           - 15 -

    hoc  way  to  produce  the  desired  result.   The terms
    "tolerance" and "slop" are also used, though these  usu-
    ally indicate a one-sided leeway, such as a buffer which
    is made larger than necessary  because  one  isn't  sure
    exactly  how  large  it needs to be, and it is better to
    waste a little space than to  lose  completely  for  not
    having  enough.   A fudge factor, on the other hand, can
    often be tweaked in more than one direction.  An example
    might  be  the  coefficients  of  an equation, where the
    coefficients are varied in an attempt to make the  equa-
    tion fit certain criteria.

GABRIEL [for Dick Gabriel, SAIL volleyball  fanatic]  n.  An
    unnecessary  (in  the  opinion of the opponent) stalling
    tactic, e.g., tying one's shoelaces or hair  repeatedly,
    asking  the time, etc.  Also used to refer to the perpe-
    trator of such  tactics.   Also,  "pulling  a  Gabriel,"
    "Gabriel mode."


GARPLY n. (Stanford) Another meta-word  popular  among  SAIL

GAS [as in "gas chamber"] interj. 1. A term of  disgust  and
    hatred,  implying  that  gas should be dispensed in gen-
    erous quantities, thereby exterminating  the  source  of
    irritation.  "Some loser just reloaded the system for no
    reason!  Gas!" 2. A  term  suggesting  that  someone  or
    something  ought  to  be  flushed  out  of  mercy.  "The
    system's wedging every few minutes.  Gas!" 3.  v.  FLUSH
    (q.v.).   "You  should gas that old crufty software." 4.
    GASEOUS adj. Deserving of  being  gassed.   Usage:  pri-
    marily used by Geoff Goodfellow at SRI, but spreading.

GC [from LISP terminology] 1. v. To clean up and throw  away
    useless  things.   "I  think  I'll GC the top of my desk
    today." 2. To recycle, reclaim, or put to  another  use.
    3.  To  forget.   The  implication is often that one has
    done so deliberately.  4. n. An instantiation of the  GC

GEDANKEN [from Einstein's term "gedanken-experimenten," such
    as  the  standard  proof that E=mc^2] adj. An AI project
    which is written up in grand detail without  ever  being
    implemented to any great extent.  Usually perpetrated by
    people who aren't very good hackers or find  programming
    distasteful  or  are just in a hurry.  A gedanken thesis
    is usually marked by an obvious lack of intuition  about
    what is programmable and what is not and about what does
    and does not  constitute  a  clear  specification  of  a
    program-related concept such as an algorithm.

GLASS TTY n. A terminal  which  has  a  display  screen  but

                           - 16 -

    which,  because  of  hardware  or  software limitations,
    behaves like a teletype or other printing terminal.   An
    example  is the ADM-3 (without cursor control).  A glass
    tty can't do neat display hacks, and you can't save  the
    output either.

GLITCH [from the Yiddish "glitshen," to slide] 1. n. A  sud-
    den interruption in electric service, sanity, or program
    function.  Sometimes recoverable.  2.  v.  To  commit  a
    glitch.   See  GRITCH.   3.  v.  (Stanford)  To scroll a
    display screen.

GLORK 1. interj. Term of mild surprise, usually tinged  with
    outrage, as when one attempts to save the results of two
    hours of editing and finds  that  the  system  has  just
    crashed.   2.  Used  as  a name for just about anything.
    See FOO.  3. v. Similar to GLITCH  (q.v.),  but  usually
    used reflexively.  "My program just glorked itself."

GOBBLE v. To consume or to obtain.  GOBBLE UP tends to imply
    "consume,"  while  GOBBLE  DOWN tends to imply "obtain."
    "The output spy gobbles characters out of a  TTY  output
    buffer."  "I  guess I'll gobble down a copy of the docu-
    mentation tomorrow." See SNARF.

GORP (CMU) [perhaps from the generic term for dried  hiker's
    food,  stemming  from  the acronym "Good Old Raisins and
    Peanuts"] Another metasyntactic variable, like  FOO  and

GRIND v. 1. (primarily MIT) To format code, especially  LISP
    code,  by  indenting  lines  so  that  it  looks pretty.
    Hence, PRETTY PRINT, the generic term  for  such  opera-
    tions.   2.  To  run  seemingly interminably, performing
    some tedious and inherently useless  task.   Similar  to

GRITCH 1. n. A complaint (often caused by a GLITCH  (q.v.)).
    2. v. To complain.  Often verb-doubled: "Gritch gritch."
    3. Glitch.

GROK [from the novel _S_t_r_a_n_g_e_r _i_n _a _S_t_r_a_n_g_e _L_a_n_d,  by  Robert
    Heinlein, where it is a Martian word meaning roughly "to
    be one with"] v. To  understand,  usually  in  a  global

GRONK [popularized by the cartoon  strip  "B.C."  by  Johnny
    Hart,  but  the  word apparently predates that] v. 1. To
    clear the state of a wedged device and restart it.  More
    severe  than "to frob" (q.v.).  2. To break.  "The tele-
    type scanner was gronked, so we took the  system  down."
    3.  GRONKED:  adj.  Of  people, the condition of feeling
    very tired or sick.  4. GRONK OUT: v. To cease function-
    ing.   Of  people, to go home and go to sleep.  "I guess

                           - 17 -

    I'll gronk out now; see you all tomorrow."

GROVEL v. To work interminably  and  without  apparent  pro-
    gress.   Often used with "over." "The compiler grovelled
    over my code." Compare GRIND and CRUNCH.  Emphatic form:

GRUNGY adj. Incredibly dirty or grubby.  Anything which  has
    been  washed  within the last year is not really grungy.
    Also used metaphorically;  hence  some  programs  (espe-
    cially crocks) can be described as grungy.

GUBBISH [a portmanteau of "garbage" and "rubbish?"] n.  Gar-
    bage; crap; nonsense.  "What is all this gubbish?"

GUN [from the GUN command on ITS] v. To forcibly terminate a
    program or job (computer, not career).  "Some idiot left
    a background process running soaking up half the cycles,
    so I gunned it."

HACK n. 1. Originally a quick  job  that  produces  what  is
    needed,  but  not  well.  2. The result of that job.  3.
    NEAT HACK: A clever technique.  Also, a brilliant  prac-
    tical  joke,  where  neatness is correlated with clever-
    ness, harmlessness, and surprise  value.   Example:  the
    Caltech  Rose  Bowl  card display switch circa 1961.  4.
    REAL HACK: A crock (occasionally affectionate).   v.  5.
    With  "together," to throw something together so it will
    work.  6. To bear emotionally or physically.   "I  can't
    hack  this  heat!" 7.  To work on something (typically a
    program).  In specific sense: "What are you doing?" "I'm
    hacking  TECO." In general sense: "What do you do around
    here?" "I hack TECO." (The former is time-immediate, the
    latter  time-extended.)   More  generally, "I hack x" is
    roughly equivalent to "x is my bag." "I hack solid-state
    physics."  8.  To pull a prank on.  See definition 3 and
    HACKER (def #6).  9. v.i. To waste time (as  opposed  to
    TOOL).  "Whatcha up to?" "Oh, just hacking." 10. HACK UP
    (ON): To hack, but generally implies that the result  is
    meanings  1-2.   11. HACK VALUE: Term used as the reason
    or motivation for expending effort  toward  a  seemingly
    useless goal, the point being that the accomplished goal
    is a hack.  For example, MacLISP has code  to  read  and
    print  roman  numerals,  which  was installed purely for
    hack value.  HAPPY HACKING: A farewell.  HOW'S HACKING?:
    A  friendly  greeting among hackers.  HACK HACK: A some-
    what pointless but friendly comment,  often  used  as  a
    temporary  farewell.  [The word HACK doesn't really have
    69 different meanings.  In fact, HACK has only one mean-
    ing,  an  extremely subtle and profound one which defies
    articulation.  Which connotation a given HACK-token  has
    depends  in  similarly  profound  ways  on  the context.
    Similar comments apply to a couple other  hacker  jargon
    items, most notably RANDOM. --Agre]

                           - 18 -

HACKER [originally, someone who makes furniture with an axe]
    n.  1.  A person who enjoys learning the details of pro-
    gramming systems and how to stretch their  capabilities,
    as  opposed  to  most users who prefer to learn only the
    minimum necessary.  2.  One  who  programs  enthusiasti-
    cally, or who enjoys programming rather than just theor-
    izing about programming.  3. A person capable of  appre-
    ciating  hack  value (q.v.).  4. A person who is good at
    programming quickly.  Not everything a  hacker  produces
    is a hack.  5. An expert at a particular program, or one
    who frequently does work using it or on it; example:  "A
    SAIL  hacker."  (Definitions  1 to 5 are correlated, and
    people who fit  them  congregate.)  6.  A  malicious  or
    inquisitive meddler who tries to discover information by
    poking  around.   Hence  "password   hacker,"   "network

HACKISH adj. Being or involving a hack.  HACKISHNESS n.

HAIR  n.  The  complications  which  make  something  hairy.
    "Decoding  TECO  commands  requires  a certain amount of
    hair." Often seen in the  phrase  INFINITE  HAIR,  which
    connotes extreme complexity.

HAIRY adj.  1.  Overly  complicated.   "DWIM  is  incredibly
    hairy."   2.   Incomprehensible.   "DWIM  is  incredibly
    hairy." 3. Of people, high-powered, authoritative, rare,
    expert, and/or incomprehensible.  Hard to explain except
    in context: "He knows this hairy lawyer who says there's
    nothing to worry about."

HAKMEM n. MIT AI Memo 239 (February 1972).  A collection  of
    neat  mathematical  and programming hacks contributed by
    many people at MIT and elsewhere.

HANDWAVE 1. v. To gloss over a complex point; to distract  a
    listener;  to  support a (possibly actually valid) point
    with blatantly faulty logic.  2. n. The act of  handwav-
    ing.   "Boy,  what  a handwave!" The use of this word is
    often accompanied by gestures: both hands up, palms for-
    ward, swinging the hands in a vertical plane pivoting at
    the elbows and/or shoulders (depending on the  magnitude
    of  the  handwave);  alternatively, holding the forearms
    still while rotating the hands at the wrist to make them
    flutter.   In context, the gestures alone can suffice as
    a remark.

HARDWARILY adv. In a way pertaining to hardware.  "The  sys-
    tem  is hardwarily unreliable." The adjective "hardwary"
    is NOT used.  See SOFTWARILY.


HIRSUTE Occasionally used humorously as a synonym for HAIRY.

                           - 19 -

HOOK n. An extraneous piece of software or hardware included
    in  order  to simplify later additions or debug options.
    For instance, a program might execute a location that is
    normally a JFCL, but by changing the JFCL to a PUSHJ one
    can insert a debugging routine at that point.


HUNGUS  (hung'ghis)  [perhaps  related  to   current   slang
    "humongous;"   which  one  came  first  (if  either)  is
    unclear] adj.  Large,  unwieldy,  usually  unmanageable.
    "TCP  is  a hungus piece of code." "This is a hungus set
    of modifications."


INFINITE adj. Consisting  of  a  large  number  of  objects;
    extreme.   Used  very  loosely as in: "This program pro-
    duces infinite garbage."

IRP (erp) [from the MIDAS pseudo-op which generates a  block
    of  code  repeatedly, substituting in various places the
    car and/or cdr of the list(s) supplied at the IRP] v. To
    perform  a  series of tasks repeatedly with a minor sub-
    stitution each time through.  "I  guess  I'll  IRP  over
    these  homework  papers  so  I can give them some random
    grade for this semester."

JFCL (djif'kl or dja-fik'l) [based on the PDP-10 instruction
    that  acts  as a fast no-op] v. To cancel or annul some-
    thing.  "Why don't you  jfcl  that  out?"  [The  license
    plate on Geoff Goodfellow's BMW is JFCL.]

JIFFY n. 1. Interval of CPU time, commonly 1/60 second or  1
    millisecond.   2.  Indeterminate time from a few seconds
    to forever.  "I'll do it in a jiffy" means certainly not
    now and possibly never.

JOCK n. Programmer who is characterized by large  and  some-
    what  brute  force  programs.   The term is particularly
    well-suited for systems programmers.


JRST (jerst) [based on the PDP-10 jump  instruction]  v.  To
    suddenly change subjects.  Usage: rather rare.  "Jack be
    nimble, Jack be quick; Jack jrst over the candle stick."

JSYS (jay'sis), pl. JSI (jay'sigh) [Jump to SYStem] See UUO.

KLUGE (kloodj) alt. KLUDGE [from the German "kluge," clever]
    n.  1.  A  Rube Goldberg device in hardware or software.
    2. A clever programming trick intended to solve  a  par-
    ticular  nasty  case  in  an  efficient,  if  not clear,

                           - 20 -

    manner.  Often used to repair  bugs.   Often  verges  on
    being  a  crock.   3. Something that works for the wrong
    reason.  4. v. To insert a kluge into a program.   "I've
    kluged  this  routine  to get around that weird bug, but
    there's probably a better way." Also KLUGE UP.  5. KLUGE
    AROUND:  To  avoid  by  inserting  a  kluge.  6. (WPI) A
    feature which is implemented in a RUDE manner.

LDB (lid'dib)  [from  the  PDP-10  instruction  set]  v.  To
    extract from the middle.

LIFE n. A cellular-automaton game invented  by  John  Horton
    Conway,  and first introduced publicly by Martin Gardner
    (Scientific American, October 1970).

LINE FEED (standard ASCII terminology) 1.  v.  To  feed  the
    paper  through a terminal by one line (in order to print
    on the next line).  2. n. The  "character"  that  causes
    the terminal to perform this action.


LOGICAL [from the technical term "logical device," wherein a
    physical  device  is  referred  to by an arbitrary name]
    adj.  Understood  to  have  a  meaning  not  necessarily
    corresponding  to  reality.   E.g.,  if a person who has
    long held a certain post (e.g.,  Les  Earnest  at  SAIL)
    left and was replaced, the replacement would for a while
    be known as the "logical Les Earnest." The word  VIRTUAL
    is  also  used.   At  SAIL, "logical" compass directions
    denote a coordinate system in which "logical  north"  is
    toward  San  Francisco,  "logical  west"  is  toward the
    ocean, etc., even though logical  north  varies  between
    physical (true) north near SF and physical west near San
    Jose.  (The best rule of thumb here is  that  El  Camino
    Real by definition always runs logical north-and-south.)

LOSE [from MIT jargon] v. 1. To fail.  A program loses  when
    it encounters an exceptional condition.  2. To be excep-
    tionally unaesthetic.  3. Of people, to be obnoxious  or
    unusually  stupid  (as opposed to ignorant).  4. DESERVE
    TO LOSE: v. Said of someone who willfully does the wrong
    thing;  humorously,  if  one  uses a feature known to be
    marginal.  What is meant is that one deserves the conse-
    quences of one's losing actions.  "Boy, anyone who tries
    to use MULTICS deserves to lose!" LOSE LOSE: a reply  or
    comment on a situation.

LOSER n. An unexpectedly bad situation, program, programmer,
    or person.  Especially "real loser."

LOSS n. Something which loses.  WHAT A (MOBY) LOSS!:  inter-

                           - 21 -

LOSSAGE n. The result of a bug or malfunction.

LPT (lip'it) n. Line printer, of course.


MACROTAPE n. An industry standard reel of tape,  as  opposed
    to a MICROTAPE.

MAGIC adj. 1. As yet  unexplained,  or  too  complicated  to
    explain.   (Arthur  C.  Clarke  once said that magic was
    as-yet-not-understood science.)  "TTY  echoing  is  con-
    trolled  by a large number of magic bits." "This routine
    magically computes the parity of an  eight-bit  byte  in
    three  instructions."  2.  (Stanford) A feature not gen-
    erally  publicized  which  allows  something   otherwise
    impossible,  or  a feature formerly in that category but
    now unveiled.   Example:  The  keyboard  commands  which
    override the screen-hiding features.

MARGINAL adj. 1. Extremely small.  "A marginal  increase  in
    core can decrease GC time drastically." See EPSILON.  2.
    Of extremely small merit.  "This  proposed  new  feature
    seems rather marginal to me." 3. Of extremely small pro-
    bability of winning.  "The power supply was rather  mar-
    ginal  anyway; no wonder it crapped out." 4. MARGINALLY:
    adv. Slightly.   "The  ravs  here  are  only  marginally
    better than at Small Eating Place."

MICROTAPE n. Occasionally used to mean a DECtape, as opposed
    to  a MACROTAPE.  This was the official DEC term for the
    stuff until someone consed up the word "DECtape."

MISFEATURE n. A feature  which  eventually  screws  someone,
    possibly  because it is not adequate for a new situation
    which has evolved.  It is not the same as a bug  because
    fixing  it  involves a gross philosophical change to the
    structure  of  the  system  involved.   Often  a  former
    feature becomes a misfeature because a tradeoff was made
    whose parameters subsequently changed (possibly only  in
    the  judgment  of  the implementors).  "Well, yeah, it's
    kind of a misfeature that file names are limited to  six
    characters, but we're stuck with it for now."

MOBY [seems to have been in use among  model  railroad  fans
    years  ago.   Entered  the world of AI with the Fabritek
    256K moby memory of  MIT-AI.   Derived  from  Melville's
    _M_o_b_y _D_i_c_k (some say from "Moby Pickle").] 1. adj. Large,
    immense, or complex.  "A moby frob." 2. n.  The  maximum
    address  space of a machine, hence 3. n. 256K words, the
    size of a PDP-10 moby.  (The maximum address space means
    the  maximum  normally  addressable space, as opposed to
    the amount of physical memory a machine can have.   Thus
    the  MIT  PDP-10s each have two mobies, usually referred

                           - 22 -

    to  as  the  "low  moby"  (0-777777)  and  "high   moby"
    (1000000-1777777),  or  as "moby 0" and "moby 1." MIT-AI
    has four mobies of address space: moby 2  is  the  PDP-6
    memory, and moby 3 the PDP-11 interface.)  In this sense
    "moby" is often used as a generic unit of either address
    space  (18. bits' worth) or of memory (about a megabyte,
    or 9/8 megabyte (if one accounts for difference  between
    32-  and  36-bit  words),  or 5/4 megacharacters).  4. A
    title of address (never of third-person reference), usu-
    ally  used to show admiration, respect, and/or friendli-
    ness to a competent hacker.  "So, moby Knight, how's the
    CONS  machine  doing?" 5. adj. In backgammon, doubles on
    the dice, as in "moby sixes," "moby  ones,"  etc.   MOBY
    FOO, MOBY WIN, MOBY LOSS: standard emphatic forms.  FOBY
    MOO: a spoonerism due to Greenblatt.

MODE n. A general state,  usually  used  with  an  adjective
    describing  the  state.  "No time to hack; I'm in thesis
    mode." Usage: in its jargon sense, MODE  is  most  often
    said  of  people, though it is sometimes applied to pro-
    grams and inanimate objects.  "If you're  on  a  TTY,  E
    will switch to non-display mode." In particular, see DAY

MODULO prep. Except for.  From mathematical terminology: one
    can consider saying that 4=22 "except for the 9's" (4=22
    mod 9).  "Well, LISP seems to work okay now, modulo that
    GC bug."

MOON n. 1. A celestial object whose phase is very  important
    to  hackers.   See  PHASE  OF  THE  MOON.   2. Dave Moon

MUMBLAGE n. The topic of one's mumbling (see MUMBLE).   "All
    that  mumblage" is used like "all that stuff" when it is
    not quite clear what it is or how it works, or like "all
    that  crap"  when  "mumble" is being used as an implicit
    replacement for obscenities.

MUMBLE interj. 1. Said when the correct response  is  either
    too  complicated  to  enunciate  or  the speaker has not
    thought it out.  Often  prefaces  a  longer  answer,  or
    indicates  a  general  reluctance to get into a big long
    discussion.  "Well, mumble." 2.  Sometimes  used  as  an
    expression of disagreement.  "I think we should buy it."
    "Mumble!" Common variant: MUMBLE FROTZ.  3. Yet  another
    metasyntactic variable, like FOO.

MUNCH (often confused with "mung,"  q.v.)  v.  To  transform
    information  in  a serial fashion, often requiring large
    amounts of computation.  To trace down a data structure.
    Related to CRUNCH (q.v.), but connotes less pain.

                           - 23 -

MUNCHING SQUARES n. A display hack dating back to the PDP-1,
    which  employs  a trivial computation (involving XOR'ing
    of x-y display coordinates - see HAKMEM  items  146-148)
    to produce an impressive display of moving, growing, and
    shrinking squares.  The hack  usually  has  a  parameter
    (usually  taken  from  toggle switches) which when well-
    chosen can produce  amazing  effects.   Some  of  these,
    discovered  recently  on  the  LISP  machine,  have been

MUNG (variant: MUNGE) [recursive acronym for Mung  Until  No
    Good]  v.  1.   To  make changes to a file, often large-
    scale, usually  irrevocable.   Occasionally  accidental.
    See BLT.  2. To destroy, usually accidentally, occasion-
    ally maliciously.  The system only  mungs  things  mali-

N adj. 1. Some large and indeterminate  number  of  objects;
    "There were N bugs in that crock!" Also used in its ori-
    ginal sense of a variable name.  2. An arbitrarily large
    (and  perhaps  infinite)  number.   3.  A variable whose
    value is specified by the current context.   "We'd  like
    to order N wonton soups and a family dinner for N-1." 4.
    NTH: adj. The ordinal counterpart of N.   "Now  for  the
    Nth  and  last  time... ." In the specific context "Nth-
    year grad student," N is  generally  assumed  to  be  at
    least 4, and is usually 5 or more.  See also 69.

NIGHT MODE See PHASE (of people).

NIL [from LISP terminology for "false"] No.  Usage: used  in
    reply  to  a  question, particularly one asked using the
    "-P" convention.  See T.

OBSCURE adj. Used in an exaggeration of its normal  meaning,
    to imply a total lack of comprehensibility.  "The reason
    for that last crash is obscure." "FIND's command  syntax
    is obscure." MODERATELY OBSCURE implies that it could be
    figured out but probably isn't worth the trouble.

OPEN n. Abbreviation for "open (or left) parenthesis,"  used
    when  necessary  to  eliminate  oral ambiguity.  To read
    aloud the LISP form (DEFUN FOO (X) (PLUS X 1)) one might
    say:  "Open  def-fun foo, open eks close, open, plus eks
    one, close close." See CLOSE.

PARSE [from linguistic terminology] v. 1. To  determine  the
    syntactic  structure  of  a  sentence or other utterance
    (close to the standard English meaning).  Example: "That
    was  the  one  I saw you." "I can't parse that." 2. More
    generally, to understand or comprehend.  "It's very sim-
    ple;  you  just kretch the glims and then aos the zotz."
    "I can't parse that." 3. Of fish, to have to remove  the

                           - 24 -

    bones  yourself  (usually  at a Chinese restaurant).  "I
    object to parsing fish" means "I don't  want  to  get  a
    whole  fish,  but a sliced one is okay." A "parsed fish"
    has  been  deboned.   There  is  some  controversy  over
    whether  "unparsed"  should  mean  "bony,"  or also mean

PATCH 1. n. A temporary addition to a piece of code, usually
    as  a  quick-and-dirty remedy to an existing bug or mis-
    feature.  A patch may or may not work, and  may  or  may
    not eventually be incorporated permanently into the pro-
    gram.  2. v. To insert a patch into a piece of code.

PDL (piddle or puddle) [acronym for Push Down List] n. 1.  A
    LIFO  queue  (stack);  more loosely, any priority queue;
    even more loosely, any queue.  A person's pdl is the set
    of things he has to do in the future.  One speaks of the
    next project to be attacked as having risen to  the  top
    of  the  pdl.   "I'm afraid I've got real work to do, so
    this'll have to be pushed way down on my pdl." See  PUSH
    and POP.  2. Dave Lebling (PDL@DM).

PESSIMAL [Latin-based antonym for "optimal"] adj.  Maximally
    bad.  "This is a pessimal situation."

PESSIMIZING COMPILER n. A compiler that produces object code
    that is worse than the straightforward or obvious trans-

PHANTOM n.  (Stanford)  The  SAIL  equivalent  of  a  DRAGON
    (q.v.).   Typical  phantoms  include the accounting pro-
    gram,  the  news-wire  monitor,  and  the  lpt  and  xgp

PHASE (of people) 1. n. The phase of  one's  waking-sleeping
    schedule  with  respect  to  the standard 24-hour cycle.
    This is a useful concept among people who often work  at
    night  according to no fixed schedule.  It is not uncom-
    mon to change one's phase by as much as six hours/day on
    a  regular  basis.  "What's your phase?" "I've been get-
    ting in about 8 PM lately, but I'm going to work  around
    to  the day schedule by Friday." A person who is roughly
    12 hours out of phase is sometimes said to be in  "night
    mode."  (The term "day mode" is also used, but less fre-
    quently.)  2. CHANGE PHASE THE HARD WAY: To  stay  awake
    for  a  very  long time in order to get into a different
    phase.  3. CHANGE PHASE THE EASY  WAY:  To  stay  asleep

PHASE OF THE MOON n. Used humorously as a  random  parameter
    on which something is said to depend.  Sometimes implies
    unreliability of whatever is dependent, or  that  relia-
    bility  seems  to  be dependent on conditions nobody has
    been able to determine.  "This feature depends on having

                           - 25 -

    the  channel  open in mumble mode, having the foo switch
    set, and on the phase of the moon."

PLUGH [from the Adventure game] v. See XYZZY.

POM n. Phase of the moon (q.v.).  Usage: usually used in the
    phrase "POM dependent" which means flakey (q.v.).

POP [based on the stack operation that removes the top of  a
    stack,  and the fact that procedure return addresses are
    saved on the stack] dialect: POPJ  (pop-jay),  based  on
    the  PDP-10  procedure return instruction.  v. To return
    from a digression.  By verb doubling, "Popj, popj" means
    roughly, "Now let's see, where were we?"

PPN (pip'in) [DEC terminology, short for  Project-Programmer
    Number]  n.  1. A combination "project" (directory name)
    and programmer name, used to identify a specific  direc-
    tory  belonging  to  that user.  For instance, "FOO,BAR"
    would be the FOO directory for user BAR.  Since the name
    is  restricted  to three letters, the programmer name is
    usually the person's initials, though sometimes it is  a
    nickname or other special sequence.  (Standard DEC setup
    is to have two  octal  numbers  instead  of  characters;
    hence  the original acronym.)  2.  Often used loosely to
    refer to the programmer name alone.  "I want to send you
    some  mail;  what's  your  ppn?" Usage: not used at MIT,
    since ITS does not  use  ppn's.   The  equivalent  terms
    would  be  UNAME  and  SNAME,  depending on context, but
    these are not used except in their technical senses.


PSEUDOPRIME n. A backgammon prime (six consecutive  occupied
    points) with one point missing.

PTY (pity) n. Pseudo TTY, a simulated TTY used to run a  job
    under the supervision of another job.  PTYJOB (pity-job)
    n. The  job  being  run  on  the  PTY.   Also  a  common
    general-purpose  program  for  creating  and using PTYs.
    This is DEC and SAIL terminology; the MIT equivalent  is

PUNT [from the punch line of an  old  joke:  "Drop  back  15
    yards  and  punt"]  v. To give up, typically without any
    intention of retrying.

PUSH [based on the stack operation  that  puts  the  current
    information on a stack, and the fact that procedure call
    addresses are saved on the stack] dialect: PUSHJ  (push-
    jay),  based  on  the PDP-10 procedure call instruction.
    v. To enter upon a digression, to save the current  dis-
    cussion for later.

                           - 26 -

QUES (kwess) 1. n. The question mark  character  ("?").   2.
    interj.  What?  Also QUES QUES?  See WALL.

QUUX [invented by Steele.  Mythically, from the Latin  semi-
    deponent  verb  QUUXO, QUUXARE, QUUXANDUM IRI; noun form
    variously QUUX (plural QUUCES, Anglicized to QUUXES) and
    QUUXU  (genitive  plural  is  QUUXUUM, four U's in seven
    letters).] 1.  Originally,  a  meta-word  like  FOO  and
    FOOBAR.   Invented by Guy Steele for precisely this pur-
    pose when he was young and naive and not yet interacting
    with  the  real computing community.  Many people invent
    such words; this one seems simply  to  have  been  lucky
    enough  to  have  spread  a little.  2. interj. See FOO;
    however, denotes very little  disgust,  and  is  uttered
    mostly for the sake of the sound of it.  3. n. Refers to
    one of four people who went to Boston Latin  School  and
    eventually to MIT:

            THE GREAT QUUX:  Guy L. Steele, Jr.
            THE LESSER QUUX:  David J. Littleboy
            THE MEDIOCRE QUUX:  Alan P. Swide
            THE MICRO QUUX:  Sam Lewis

    (This taxonomy is said to be similarly applied to  three
    Frankston  brothers  at  MIT.)  QUUX, without qualifica-
    tion, usually refers to The Great Quux, who is  somewhat
    infamous  for  light  verse  and for the "Crunchly" car-
    toons.  4. QUUXY: adj. Of or pertaining to a QUUX.

RANDOM adj. 1. Unpredictable (closest to mathematical defin-
    ition);  weird.  "The system's been behaving pretty ran-
    domly." 2. Assorted; undistinguished.  "Who was  at  the
    conference?" "Just a bunch of random business types." 3.
    Frivolous; unproductive; undirected (pejorative).  "He's
    just  a  random  loser." 4. Incoherent or inelegant; not
    well organized.  "The program has a random set  of  mis-
    features."  "That's  a  random  name for that function."
    "Well, all the names were chosen  pretty  randomly."  5.
    Gratuitously  wrong,  i.e.,  poorly done and for no good
    apparent reason.  For example, a  program  that  handles
    file name defaulting in a particularly useless way, or a
    routine that could easily have  been  coded  using  only
    three  ac's,  but  randomly uses seven for assorted non-
    overlapping purposes, so that no one else can invoke  it
    without first saving four extra ac's.  6. In no particu-
    lar order, though deterministic.  "The I/O channels  are
    in  a pool, and when a file is opened one is chosen ran-
    domly." n. 7. A random hacker; used particularly of high
    school  students who soak up computer time and generally
    get in the way.  8. (occasional MIT usage) One who lives
    at  Random  Hall.  J. RANDOM is often prefixed to a noun
    to make a "name" out of  it  (by  comparison  to  common
    names  such  as  "J. Fred Muggs").  The most common uses
    are "J. Random Loser" and "J. Random Nurd"  ("Should  J.

                           - 27 -

    Random Loser be allowed to gun down other people?"), but
    it can be used just as an elaborate version of RANDOM in
    any  sense.   [See also the note at the end of the entry
    for HACK.]

RANDOMNESS  n.  An  unexplainable   misfeature;   gratuitous
    inelegance.   Also,  a  hack or crock which depends on a
    complex combination of coincidences (or rather, the com-
    bination  upon which the crock depends).  "This hack can
    output characters 40-57 by putting the character in  the
    accumulator  field  of an XCT and then extracting 6 bits
    -- the low two bits of the  XCT  opcode  are  the  right
    thing." "What randomness!"

RAPE v. To  (metaphorically)  screw  someone  or  something,
    violently.   Usage: often used in describing file-system
    damage.  "So-and-so was running a program that did abso-
    lute disk I/O and ended up raping the master directory."

RAVE (WPI) v. 1. To persist in discussing  a  specific  sub-
    ject.   2.  To  speak authoritatively on a subject about
    which one knows very little.  3. To complain to a person
    who  is not in a position to correct the difficulty.  4.
    To purposely  annoy  another  person  verbally.   5.  To
    evangelize.   See  FLAME.   Also used to describe a less
    negative form of blather, such as friendly bullshitting.

REAL USER n. 1. A commercial user.  One who is paying "real"
    money for his computer usage.  2. A non-hacker.  Someone
    using the system for an explicit purpose (research  pro-
    ject, course, etc.).  See USER.

REAL WORLD, THE n. 1. In programming, those institutions  at
    which  programming  may  be used in the same sentence as
    FORTRAN, COBOL, RPG, IBM, etc.  2. To  programmers,  the
    location  of  non-programmers and activities not related
    to programming.  3. A universe  in  which  the  standard
    dress  is  shirt and tie and in which a person's working
    hours are defined as 9 to 5.  4.  The  location  of  the
    status  quo.   5.  Anywhere outside a university.  "Poor
    fellow, he's left MIT and gone  into  the  real  world."
    Used  pejoratively  by those not in residence there.  In
    conversation, talking of someone  who  has  entered  the
    real  world  is not unlike talking about a deceased per-



RIGHT THING, THE n. That which is "obviously" the correct or
    appropriate  thing  to  use,  do, say, etc.  Use of this
    term often implies that in fact  reasonable  people  may
    disagree.   "Never  let  your  conscience  keep you from

                           - 28 -

    doing the right thing!" "What's the right thing for LISP
    to do when it reads '(.)'?"

RUDE (WPI) adj. 1. (of a program) Badly written.   2.  Func-
    tionally poor, e.g. a program which is very difficult to
    use because of gratuitously poor (random?) design  deci-
    sions.  See CUSPY.

SACRED adj. Reserved for the exclusive use of  something  (a
    metaphorical extension of the standard meaning).  "Accu-
    mulator 7 is sacred to the  UUO  handler."  Often  means
    that  anyone may look at the sacred object, but clobber-
    ing it will screw whatever it is sacred to.

SAGA (WPI) n. A cuspy but bogus raving story dealing with  N
    random broken people.

SAV (save) See BIN.

SEMI 1. n.  Abbreviation  for  "semicolon,"  when  speaking.
    "Commands to GRIND are prefixed by semi-semi-star" means
    that the prefix is ";;*", not 1/4 of a star.  2.  Prefix
    with words such as "immediately," as a qualifier.  "When
    is the system coming up?" "Semi-immediately."

SERVER n. A kind of DAEMON which performs a service for  the
    requester, which often runs on a computer other than the
    one on which the server runs.

SHIFT LEFT (RIGHT) LOGICAL [from any  of  various  machines'
    instruction  sets]  1.  v.  To  move oneself to the left
    (right).  To move out of the way.  2. imper. Get out  of
    that  (my)  seat!   Usage: often used without the "logi-
    cal," or as "left shift" instead of "shift left."  Some-
    times  heard  as LSH (lish), from the PDP-10 instruction

SHR (share or shir)  See BIN.

SHRIEK See EXCL.  (Occasional CMU usage.)

69 adj. Large quantity.  Usage: Exclusive  to  MIT-AI.   "Go
    away,  I  have  69  things  to do to DDT before worrying
    about fixing the bug in the phase  of  the  moon  output
    routine."  [Note: Actually, any number less than 100 but
    large enough to have no obvious magic properties will be
    recognized as a "large number." There is no denying that
    "69" is the local favorite.  I don't  know  whether  its
    origins are related to the obscene interpretation, but I
    do know that 69 decimal = 105 octal, and 69  hexadecimal
    = 105 decimal, which is a nice property. --GLS]

SLOP n. 1. A one-sided fudge factor  (q.v.).   Often  intro-
    duced  to  avoid  the  possibility  of a fencepost error

                           - 29 -

    (q.v.).  2. (used by compiler freaks) The ratio of  code
    generated  by a compiler to hand-compiled code, minus 1;
    i.e., the space (or maybe time)  you  lose  because  you
    didn't do it yourself.

SLURP v. To read a large data file entirely into core before
    working  on  it.   "This  program  slurps  in a 1K-by-1K
    matrix and does an FFT."

SMART adj. Said of a  program  that  does  the  Right  Thing
    (q.v.)  in  a wide variety of complicated circumstances.
    There is a difference between calling  a  program  smart
    and  calling it intelligent; in particular, there do not
    exist any intelligent programs.

SMOKING CLOVER n. A psychedelic color munch due to Gosper.

SMOP [Simple (or Small) Matter of Programming] n. A piece of
    code,  not yet written, whose anticipated length is sig-
    nificantly greater than its complexity.  Usage: used  to
    refer  to a program that could obviously be written, but
    is not worth the trouble.

SNARF v. To grab, esp. a large document or file for the pur-
    pose  of  using  it  either with or without the author's
    permission.  See BLT.  Variant: SNARF  (IT)  DOWN.   (At
    MIT  on ITS, DDT has a command called :SNARF which grabs
    a job from another (inferior) DDT.)

SOFTWARE ROT n. Hypothetical disease the existence of  which
    has  been  deduced from the observation that unused pro-
    grams or features will  stop  working  after  sufficient
    time  has  passed,  even  if "nothing has changed." Also
    known as "bit decay."

SOFTWARILY adv. In a way pertaining to software.  "The  sys-
    tem  is softwarily unreliable." The adjective "softwary"
    is NOT used.  See HARDWARILY.

SOS 1. (ess-oh-ess) n. A losing editor, SON OF STOPGAP.   2.
    (sahss)  v.  Inverse of AOS, from the PDP-10 instruction

SPAZZ 1. v.  To  behave  spastically  or  erratically;  more
    often,  to  commit  a  single  gross error.  "Boy, is he
    spazzing!" 2. n. One who spazzes.  "Boy, what a  spazz!"
    3. n. The result of spazzing.  "Boy, what a spazz!"

SPLAT n. 1. Name used in many places (DEC, IBM, and  others)
    for  the ASCII star ("*") character.  2. (MIT) Name used
    by some people for the ASCII pound-sign ("#") character.
    3.   (Stanford)   Name  used  by  some  people  for  the
    Stanford/ITS extended ASCII circle-x  character.   (This
    character  is  also  called  "circle-x,"  "blobby,"  and

                           - 30 -

    "frob," among other names.)  4. (Stanford) Name for  the
    semi-mythical  extended ASCII circle-plus character.  5.
    Canonical name for an output routine that outputs  what-
    ever  the  the local interpretation of splat is.  Usage:
    nobody really agrees what character "splat" is, but  the
    term is common.

SUPDUP v. To communicate with another ARPAnet host using the
    SUPDUP  program, which is a SUPer-DUPer TELNET talking a
    special display protocol used mostly in talking  to  ITS
    sites.  Sometimes abbreviated to SD.

STATE n. Condition, situation.  "What's the state of NEWIO?"
    "It's  winning away." "What's your state?" "I'm about to
    gronk out." As a special case, "What's the state of  the
    world?"  (or,  more  silly,  "State-of-world-P?")  means
    "What's new?" or "What's going on?"

STOPPAGE n. Extreme lossage (see LOSSAGE) resulting in some-
    thing (usually vital) becoming completely unusable.

STY  (pronounced  "sty,"  not  spelled  out)  n.  A  pseudo-
    teletype,  which is a two-way pipeline with a job on one
    end and a fake keyboard-tty on the other.  Also, a stan-
    dard program which provides a pipeline from its control-
    ling tty to a pseudo-teletype  (and  thence  to  another
    tty, thereby providing a "sub-tty").  This is MIT termi-
    nology; the SAIL and DEC equivalent is PTY.

SUPERPROGRAMMER n.  See  "wizard,"  "hacker."  Usage:  rare.
    (Becoming more common among IBM and Yourdon types.)

SWAPPED adj. From the use of secondary  storage  devices  to
    implement virtual memory in computer systems.  Something
    which is SWAPPED IN is available for  immediate  use  in
    main  memory,  and otherwise is SWAPPED OUT.  Often used
    metaphorically to refer to people's  memories  ("I  read
    TECO  ORDER  every  few  months  to keep the information
    swapped in.") or to their own availability  ("I'll  swap
    you  in  as soon as I finish looking at this other prob-

SYSTEM n. 1. The supervisor program on the computer.  2. Any
    large-scale  program.   3.  Any method or algorithm.  4.
    The way things are usually done.  Usage: a fairly  ambi-
    guous word.  "You can't beat the system." SYSTEM HACKER:
    one who hacks the system (in sense 1 only; for  sense  2
    one mentions the particular program: e.g., LISP HACKER)

T [from LISP terminology for "true"] 1. Yes.  Usage: used in
    reply  to  a  question, particularly one asked using the
    "-P" convention).  See NIL.  2. See TIME T.


                           - 31 -


TASTE n. (primarily MIT-DMS) The quality in  programs  which
    tends  to  be  inversely  proportional  to the number of
    features, hacks, and kluges programmed into  it.   Also,
    TASTY, TASTEFUL, TASTEFULNESS.  "This feature comes in N
    tasty flavors."  Although  TASTEFUL  and  FLAVORFUL  are
    essentially synonyms, TASTE and FLAVOR are not.

TECO (tee'koe) [acronym for Text Editor and COrrector] 1. n.
    A  text  editor  developed  at MIT, and modified by just
    about everybody.  If all the dialects are included, TECO
    might  well  be  the single most prolific editor in use.
    Noted for its powerful pseudo-programming  features  and
    its  incredibly  hairy  syntax.  2. v. To edit using the
    TECO editor in one of its infinite forms; sometimes used
    to mean "to edit" even when not using TECO!  Usage: rare
    at SAIL, where most people wouldn't touch  TECO  with  a
    TENEX  pole.   [Historical  note: DEC grabbed an ancient
    version of MIT TECO many years ago when it was  still  a
    TTY-oriented  editor.   By  now,  TECO  at MIT is highly
    display-oriented and is actually a language for  writing
    editors,  rather than an editor.  Meanwhile, the outside
    world's various versions of TECO remain almost the  same
    as the MIT version of ten years ago.  DEC recently tried
    to discourage its use, but an  underground  movement  of
    sorts  kept  it  alive.]  [Since this note was written I
    found out that DEC  tried  to  force  their  hackers  by
    administrative decision to use a hacked up and generally
    lobotomized version of SOS instead  of  TECO,  and  they
    revolted. --MRC]

TELNET v. To communicate with another ARPAnet host using the
    TELNET  protocol.   TOPS-10  people  use the word IMPCOM
    since that is the  program  name  for  them.   Sometimes
    abbreviated  to  TN.  "I usually TN over to SAIL just to
    read the AP News."

TENSE adj. Of programs, very clever and efficient.  A  tense
    piece  of  code often got that way because it was highly
    bummed, but sometimes it was just based on a great idea.
    A  comment  in  a  clever display routine by Mike Kazar:
    "This routine is so tense it will bring  tears  to  your
    eyes.   Much  thanks to Craig Everhart and James Gosling
    for inspiring this hack attack." A tense  programmer  is
    one who produces tense code.

TERPRI (tur'pree) [from the LISP 1.5  (and  later,  MacLISP)
    function  to  start a new line of output] v. To output a
    CRLF (q.v.).

THEORY n. Used in the general sense of idea, plan, story, or
    set  of  rules.   "What's the theory on fixing this TECO
    loss?"  "What's   the   theory   on   dinner   tonight?"

                           - 32 -

    ("Chinatown,  I  guess.")  "What's the current theory on
    letting losers on during the day?"  "The  theory  behind
    this change is to fix the following well-known screw..."

THRASH v. To move wildly or violently, without accomplishing
    anything  useful.  Swapping systems which are overloaded
    waste most of their time moving pages into  and  out  of
    core  (rather  than  performing useful computation), and
    are therefore said to thrash.

TICK n. 1. Interval of time; basic clock time  on  the  com-
    puter.   Typically 1/60 second.  See JIFFY.  2. In simu-
    lations, the discrete unit of time that passes "between"
    iterations  of the simulation mechanism.  In AI applica-
    tions, this amount of time is  often  left  unspecified,
    since  the  only  constraint  of interest is that caused
    things happen after their causes.  This sort of AI simu-
    lation  is often pejoratively referred to as "tick-tick-
    tick" simulation, especially when the  issue  of  simul-
    taneity  of  events  with  long,  independent  chains of
    causes is handwaved.

TIME T n. 1.  An  unspecified  but  usually  well-understood
    time,  often  used in conjunction with a later time T+1.
    "We'll meet on campus at time T or at  Louie's  at  time
    long time ago; for as long as anyone  can  remember;  at
    the time that some particular frob was first designed.

TOOL v.i. To work; to study.  See HACK (def #9).

TRAP 1. n. A program interrupt, usually used specifically to
    refer to an interrupt caused by some illegal action tak-
    ing place in the user program.  In most cases the system
    monitor  performs  some  action related to the nature of
    the illegality, then returns  control  to  the  program.
    See  UUO.   2.  v. To cause a trap.  "These instructions
    trap to the monitor." Also used transitively to indicate
    the   cause   of  the  trap.   "The  monitor  traps  all
    input/output instructions."

TTY (titty) n. Terminal of the teletype variety,  character-
    ized by a noisy mechanical printer, a very limited char-
    acter set, and poor print  quality.   Usage:  antiquated
    (like the TTY's themselves).  Sometimes used to refer to
    any terminal at all; sometimes used to refer to the par-
    ticular terminal controlling a job.

TWEAK v. To change  slightly,  usually  in  reference  to  a
    value.   Also used synonymously with TWIDDLE.  See FROB-

TWENEX n. The TOPS-20 operating system  by  DEC.   So  named
    because  TOPS-10  was  a  typically crufty DEC operating

                           - 33 -

    system for the PDP-10.  BBN developed their own  system,
    called  TENEX  (TEN  EXecutive), and in creating TOPS-20
    for the DEC-20 DEC copied TENEX and adapted it  for  the
    20.   Usage:  DEC  people  cringe when they hear TOPS-20
    referred to as "Twenex," but the term seems to be catch-
    ing  on  nevertheless.   Release  3 of TOPS-20 is suffi-
    ciently different from release 1  that  some  (not  all)
    hackers have stopped calling it TWENEX, though the writ-
    ten abbreviation "20x" is still used.

TWIDDLE n. 1. tilde (ASCII 176, "~").  Also  called  "squig-
    gle," "sqiggle" (sic--pronounced "skig'gul"), and "twad-
    dle," but twiddle is by far the most common term.  2.  A
    small  and  insignificant  change to a program.  Usually
    fixes one bug and generates several new ones.  3. v.  To
    change something in a small way.  Bits, for example, are
    often twiddled.  Twiddling a switch or knob implies much
    less  sense of purpose than toggling or tweaking it; see

UP adj. 1. Working, in order.  "The down escalator  is  up."
    2.  BRING  UP:  v. To create a working version and start
    it.  "They brought up a down system."

USER n. A programmer who will believe anything you tell him.
    One  who asks questions.  Identified at MIT with "loser"
    by the spelling "luser." See REAL USER.  [Note by GLS: I
    don't  agree  with  RF's  definition at all.  Basically,
    there are two classes of people who work with a program:
    there  are  implementors  (hackers)  and users (losers).
    The users are looked down on by hackers to a mild degree
    because  they don't understand the full ramifications of
    the system in all its glory.  (A few users  who  do  are
    known as real winners.)  It is true that users ask ques-
    tions (of necessity).  Very often they are  annoying  or
    downright stupid.]

UUO (you-you-oh) [short for "Un-Used Operation"] n. A DEC-10
    system monitor call.  The term "Un-Used Operation" comes
    from the fact that, on DEC-10 systems, monitor calls are
    implemented  as invalid or illegal machine instructions,
    which cause traps to the monitor (see TRAP).   The  SAIL
    manual  describing  the available UUO's has a cover pic-
    ture showing an  unidentified  underwater  object.   See
    YOYO.   [Note:  DEC sales people have since decided that
    "Un-Used Operation" sounds bad, so UUO  now  stands  for
    "Unimplemented  User  Operation."] Tenex and Twenex sys-
    tems use the JSYS machine instruction (q.v.),  which  is
    halfway  between  a legal machine instruction and a UUO,
    since KA-10 Tenices implement it as a hardware  instruc-
    tion  which  can  be used as an ordinary subroutine call
    (sort of a "pure JSR").

VANILLA adj. Ordinary flavor, standard.  See  FLAVOR.   When

                           - 34 -

    used  of food, very often does not mean that the food is
    flavored with vanilla extract!  For  example,  "vanilla-
    flavored  wonton soup" (or simply "vanilla wonton soup")
    means ordinary wonton soup, as opposed to hot  and  sour
    wonton soup.

VAXEN [from "oxen," perhaps influenced by  "vixen"]  n.  pl.
    The plural of VAX (a DEC machine).

VIRGIN adj. Unused, in reference to an  instantiation  of  a
    program.   "Let's bring up a virgin system and see if it
    crashes again." Also, by extension, unused  buffers  and
    the like within a program.

VIRTUAL adj. 1. Common alternative to  LOGICAL  (q.v.),  but
    never  used with compass directions.  2.  Performing the
    functions of.  Virtual memory acts like real memory  but

VISIONARY n. One who hacks vision (in an AI context, such as
    the processing of visual images).

WALDO [probably taken from the story "Waldo,"  by  Heinlein,
    which is where the term was first used to mean a mechan-
    ical adjunct to a human limb] Used at Harvard,  particu-
    larly by Tom Cheatham and students, instead of FOOBAR as
    a meta-syntactic variable  and  general  nonsense  word.

WALL [shortened form of  HELLO  WALL,  apparently  from  the
    phrase  "up  against  a blank wall"] (WPI) interj. 1. An
    indication of confusion, usually spoken with a quizzical
    tone.  "Wall??" 2. A request for further explication.

WALLPAPER n. A file containing  a  listing  (e.g.,  assembly
    listing)  or  transcript, esp. a file containing a tran-
    script of all or part of a login session.  (The idea was
    that  the  LPT  paper  for such listings was essentially
    good only for wallpaper, as evidenced at SAIL  where  it
    was  used  as  such to cover windows.)  Usage: not often
    used now, esp. since other systems have developed  other
    terms for it (e.g., PHOTO on TWENEX).  The term possibly
    originated on ITS, where the commands to begin  and  end
    transcript  files  are  still  :WALBEG and :WALEND, with
    default file DSK:WALL PAPER.

WATERBOTTLE SOCCER n. A deadly  sport  practiced  mainly  by
    Sussman's graduate students.  It, along with chair bowl-
    ing, is the most evident manifestation  of  the  "locker
    room atmosphere" said to reign in that sphere.  (Sussman
    doesn't approve.)  [As of 11/82, it's reported that  the
    sport  has  given  way to a new game called "disc-boot,"
    and Sussman even participates occasionally.]

                           - 35 -

WEDGED [from "head wedged up ass"] adj. To be  in  a  locked
    state,  incapable  of  proceeding  without  help.   (See
    GRONK.)  Often refers  to  humans  suffering  misconcep-
    tions.   "The swapper is wedged." This term is sometimes
    used as a synonym for DEADLOCKED (q.v.).

WHAT n.  The  question  mark  character  ("?").   See  QUES.
    Usage: rare, used particularly in conjunction with WOW.

WHEEL n. 1. A privilege bit that canonically allows the pos-
    sessor to perform any operation on a timesharing system,
    such as read or write any file on the system  regardless
    of  protections, change or or look at any address in the
    running  monitor,  crash  or  reload  the  system,   and
    kill/create  jobs  and  user  accounts.   The  term  was
    invented on the TENEX operating system, and carried over
    to  TOPS-20,  Xerox-IFS  and  others.   2.  A person who
    posses a wheel bit.  "We need to find a wheel to unwedge
    the hung tape drives."

WHEEL WARS [from LOTS at Stanford University] A period  dur-
    ing  which  student wheels hack each other by attempting
    to log each other out of the system, delete each other's
    files,  or otherwise wreak havoc, usually at the expense
    of the lesser users.

WIN [from MIT jargon] 1. v. To succeed.  A program  wins  if
    no unexpected conditions arise.  2. BIG WIN: n. Serendi-
    pity.  Emphatic forms: MOBY WIN,  SUPER  WIN,  HYPER-WIN
    (often used interjectively as a reply).  For some reason
    SUITABLE WIN is also common at MIT, usually in reference
    to a satisfactory solution to a problem.  See LOSE.

WINNAGE n. The situation when a  lossage  is  corrected,  or
    when  something  is  winning.   Quite rare.  Usage: also
    quite rare.

WINNER 1. n. An unexpectedly good situation,  program,  pro-
    grammer or person.  2. REAL WINNER: Often sarcastic, but
    also used as high praise.

WINNITUDE n. The quality of winning (as opposed to  WINNAGE,
    which  is the result of winning).  "That's really great!
    Boy, what winnitude!"

WIZARD n. 1. A person who  knows  how  a  complex  piece  of
    software or hardware works; someone who can find and fix
    his bugs in an emergency.  Rarely  used  at  MIT,  where
    HACKER  is  the preferred term.  2. A person who is per-
    mitted to do things forbidden to ordinary people,  e.g.,
    a  "net  wizard" on a TENEX may run programs which speak
    low-level host-imp protocol; an ADVENT  wizard  at  SAIL
    may play Adventure during the day.

                           - 36 -

WORMHOLE n. A location  in  a  monitor  which  contains  the
    address of a routine, with the specific intent of making
    it easy to substitute a different routine.  The  follow-
    ing  quote  comes from "Polymorphic Systems," vol. 2, p.

    "Any type of I/O device can be substituted for the stan-
    dard  device by loading a simple driver routine for that
    device  and  installing  its  address  in  one  of   the
    *The term has  been  used  to  describe  a  hypothetical
    astronomical  situation  where  a black hole connects to
    the of the universe.  When this happens, information can
    pass  through  the wormhole, in only one direction, much
    as pass down the monitor's wormholes."


XGP 1. n. Xerox Graphics Printer.  2. v. To print  something
    on the XGP.  "You shouldn't XGP such a large file."

XYZZY [from the Adventure game] adj. See PLUGH.

YOYO n. DEC service engineers' slang for UUO (q.v.).  Usage:
    rare  at  Stanford and MIT, has been found at random DEC

YOYO MODE n. State in which the system is said to be when it
    rapidly  alternates  several  times between being up and
    being down.

YU-SHIANG WHOLE FISH n. The character gamma  (extended  SAIL
    ASCII  11),  which  with a loop in its tail looks like a
    fish.  Usage: used primarily by people on the  MIT  LISP
    Machine.   Tends  to  elicit incredulity from people who
    hear about it second-hand.

ZERO v. 1. To set to zero.  Usually said of small pieces  of
    data,  such  as  bits or words.  2. To erase; to discard
    all data from.  Said of  disks  and  directories,  where
    "zeroing"  need  not  involve  actually  writing  zeroes
    throughout the area being zeroed.