JARGON part 2 of 2

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Brian Kantor

Oct 5, 1987, 12:59:37 PM10/5/87
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

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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

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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.

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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

(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.

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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

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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

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(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

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"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.


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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?"

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("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

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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

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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.]

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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.


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