U n i x   H u m o r


Penguin dance: http://lwn.net/Gallery/i/dance.gif
Humorix: www.i-want-a-website.com/about-linux
IBM: http://www-1.ibm.com/servers/eserver/linux/fun/index.html

Unix csh/sh commands:

% cat "food in cans"
cat: can't open food in cans

% nice man woman
No manual entry for woman.

% rm God
rm: God nonexistent

% ar t God
ar: God does not exist

% ar r God
ar: creating God

% "How would you rate Quayle's incompetence?
Unmatched ".

% [Where is Jimmy Hoffa?
Missing ].

% ^How did the sex change operation go?
^ Modifier failed.

% If I had a ( for every $ the Congress spent, what would I have?
Too many ('s.

% make love
Make: Don't know how to make love. Stop.

% sleep with me
bad character

% got a light?
No match.

% man: why did you get a divorce?
man:: Too many arguments.

% !:say, what is saccharine?
Bad substitute.

% %blow
%blow: No such job.

/* not csh but sh */
$ PATH=pretending!/usr/ucb/which sense
no sense in pretending!

$ drink bottle: cannot open
opener: not found

Anti UNIX:


                     CREATORS ADMIT UNIX, C HOAX
    In an announcement that has stunned the computer industry, Ken Thompson,
    Dennis Ritchie and Brian Kernighan admitted that the Unix operating
    system and C programming language created by them is an elaborate April
    Fools prank kept alive for over 20 years.  Speaking at the recent
    UnixWorld Software Development Forum, Thompson revealed the following:
    "In 1969, AT&T had just terminated their work with the GE/Honeywell/AT&T 
    Multics project. Brian and I had just started working with an early
    release of Pascal from Professor Nichlaus Wirth's ETH labs in
    Switzerland and we were impressed with its elegant simplicity and
    power. Dennis had just finished reading 'Bored of the Rings', a
    hilarious National Lampoon parody of the great Tolkien 'Lord of the
    Rings' trilogy. As a lark, we decided to do parodies of the Multics
    environment and Pascal. Dennis and I were responsible for the operating
    environment. We looked at Multics and designed the new system to be as
    complex and cryptic as possible to maximize casual users' frustration
    levels, calling it Unix as a parody of Multics, as well as other more
    risque allusions. Then Dennis and Brian worked on a truly warped
    version of Pascal, called 'A'. When we found others were actually
    trying to create real programs with A, we quickly added additional
    cryptic features and evolved into B, BCPL and finally C. We stopped
    when we got a clean compile on the following syntax:
    for(;P("\n"),R-;P("|"))for(e=C;e-;P("_"+(*u++/8)%2))P("| "+(*u/4)%2);
    To think that modern programmers would try to use a language that
    allowed such a statement was beyond our comprehension!  We actually
    thought of selling this to the Soviets to set their computer science
    progress back 20 or more years. Imagine our surprise when AT&T and
    other US corporations actually began trying to use Unix and C!  It has
    taken them 20 years to develop enough expertise to generate even
    marginally useful applications using this 1960's technological parody,
    but we are impressed with the tenacity (if not common sense) of the
    general Unix and C programmer.  In any event, Brian, Dennis and I have
    been working exclusively in Pascal on the Apple Macintosh for the past
    few years and feel really guilty about the chaos, confusion and truly
    bad programming that have resulted from our silly prank so long ago."
    Major Unix and C vendors and customers, including AT&T, Microsoft,
    Hewlett-Packard, GTE, NCR, and DEC have refused comment at this time. 
    Borland International, a leading vendor of Pascal and C tools,
    including the popular Turbo Pascal, Turbo C and Turbo C++, stated they
    had suspected this for a number of years and would continue to enhance
    their Pascal products and halt further efforts to develop C.  An IBM
    spokesman broke into uncontrolled laughter and had to postpone a
    hastily convened news conference concerning the fate of the RS-6000,
    merely stating 'VM will be available Real Soon Now'.  In a cryptic
    statement, Professor Wirth of the ETH institute and father of the
    Pascal, Modula 2 and Oberon structured languages, merely stated that P.
    T. Barnum was correct.
    In a related late-breaking story, usually reliable sources are stating
    that a similar confession may be forthcoming from William Gates
    concerning the MS-DOS and Windows operating environments.  And IBM
    spokesman have begun denying that the Virtual Machine (VM) product is
    an internal prank gone awry.
    {contributed by Bernard L. Hayes}

Unix: who(1)'s on what(1)?

A Customer calls a UNIX consultant with a question

Customer: What is the command that will tell me the revision code of a program?
UNIX consul: Yes, that's correct.
Customer: No, what is it?
UNIX consul: Yes.
Customer: So, which is the one?
UNIX consul: No. 'which' is used to find the program.
Customer: Stop this. Who are you?
UNIX consul: Use 'who am i' not 'who r yoo'. You can also 'finger yoo' to get information about yoo'.
Customer: All I want to know is what finds the revision code?
UNIX consul: Use 'what'.
Customer: That's what I am trying to find out. Isn't that true?
UNIX consul: No. 'true' gives you 0.
Customer: Which one?
UNIX consul: 'true' gives you 0. 'which programname'
Customer: Let's get back to my problem. What program? How do I find it?
UNIX consul: Type 'find / -name it -print' to find 'it'. Type 'what program' to get the revision code.
Customer: I want to find the revision code.
UNIX consul: You can't 'find revisioncode', you must use 'what program'.
Customer: Which command will do what I need?
UNIX consul: No. 'which command' will find 'command'.
Customer: I think I understand. Let me write that.
UNIX consul: You can 'write that' only if 'that' is a user on your system.
Customer: Write what?
UNIX consul: No. 'write that'. 'what program'.
Customer: Cut that out!
UNIX consul: Yes. those are valid files for 'cut'. Don't forget the options.
Customer: Do you always do this?
UNIX consul: 'du' will give you disk usage.
Customer: HELP!
UNIX consul: 'help' is only used for Source Code Control System (SCCS).
Customer: You make me angry.
UNIX consul: No, I don't 'make me' angry but I did 'make programname' when I was upset once.
Customer: I don't want to make trouble, so no more.
UNIX consul: No 'more'? 'which' will help you find 'more'. Every system has 'more'.
Customer: Nice help! I'm confused more now!
UNIX consul: Understand that since 'help' is such a small program, it is better not to 'nice help'. and 'more now' is not allowed but 'at now' is. Unless of course 'now' is a file name.
Customer: This is almost as confusing as my PC.
UNIX consul: I didn't know you needed help with 'pc'. Let me get you to the Pascal compiler team.


All those backups seemed a waste of pay.
Now my database has gone away.
Oh I believe in yesterday.

There's not half the files there used to be,
And there's a milestone
hanging over me
The system crashed so suddenly.

I pushed something wrong
What it was I could not say.

Now all my data's gone
and I long for yesterday-ay-ay-ay.

The need for back-ups seemed so far away.
I knew my data was all here to stay,
Now I believe in yesterday.

Songs to program by...
Eleanor Rigby

Eleanor Rigby
Sits at the keyboard
And waits for a line on the screen
Lives in a dream
Waits for a signal
Finding some code
That will make the machine do some more.
What is it for?

All the lonely users, where do they all come from?
All the lonely users, why does it take so long?

Guru MacKenzie
Typing the lines of a program that no one will run;
Isn't it fun?
Look at him working,
Munching some chips as he waits for the code to compile;
It takes a while...

All the lonely users, where do they all come from?
All the lonely users, why does it take so long?

Eleanor Rigby
Crashes the system and loses 6 hours of work;
Feels like a jerk.
Guru MacKenzie
Wiping the crumbs off the keys as he types in the code;
Nothing will load.

All the lonely users, where do they all come from?
All the lonely users, why does it take so long?

Unix Man (Nowhere Man)

He's a real UNIX Man
Sitting in his UNIX LAN
Making all his UNIX plans
For nobody.

Knows the blocksize from du(1)
Cares not where /dev/null goes to
Isn't he a bit like you
And me?

UNIX Man, please listen(2)
My lpd(8) is missin'
The wo-o-o-orld is at(1) your command.

He's as wise as he can be
Uses lex and yacc and C
UNIX Man, can you help me At all?

UNIX Man, don't worry
Test with time(1), don't hurry
The new kernel boots, just like you had planned.

He's a real UNIX Man
Sitting in his UNIX LAN
Making all his UNIX plans For nobody ...
Making all his UNIX plans For nobody.

Write in C ("Let it Be")

When I find my code in tons of trouble,
Friends and colleagues come to me,
Speaking words of wisdom:
"Write in C."

As the deadline fast approaches,
And bugs are all that I can see,
Somewhere, someone whispers:
"Write in C."

Write in C, Write in C,
Write in C, oh, Write in C.
LOGO's dead and buried,
Write in C.

I used to write a lot of FORTRAN,
For science it worked flawlessly.
Try using it for graphics!
Write in C.

If you've just spent nearly 30 hours,
Debugging some assembly,
Soon you will be glad to
Write in C.

Write in C, Write in C,
Write in C, yeah, Write in C.
BASIC's not the answer.
Write in C.

Write in C, Write in C
Write in C, oh, Write in C.
Pascal won't quite cut it.
Write in C.


Something in the way it fails,
Defies the algorithm's logic!
Something in the way it coredumps...
I don't want to leave it now
I'll fix this problem somehow

Somewhere in the memory I know,
A pointer's got to be corrupted.
Stepping in the debugger will show me...
I don't want to leave it now
I'm too close to leave it now

You're asking me can this code go?
I don't know, I don't know...
What sequence causes it to blow?
I don't know, I don't know...

Something in the initializing code?
And all I have to do is think of it!
Something in the listing will show me...
I don't want to leave it now
I'll fix this tonight I vow!

Politically Correct UNIX

In order for UNIX(tm) to survive into the nineties, it must get rid of its intimidating commands and outmoded jargon, and become compatible with the existing standards of our day. To this end, our technicians have come up with a new version of UNIX, System VI, for use by the PC - that is, the "Politically Correct."

System VI Release notes

1) "man" pages are now called "person" pages.
2) Similarly, "hangman" is now the "person_executed_by_an_oppressive_regime."
3) To avoid casting aspersions on our feline friends, the "cat" command is now merely "domestic_quadruped."
4) To date, there has only been a UNIX command for "yes" - reflecting the male belief that women always mean yes, even when they say no. To address this imbalance, System VI adds a "no" command, along with a "-f[orce]" option which will crash the entire system if
the "no" is ignored.
5) The bias of the "mail" command is obvious, and it has been replaced by the more neutral "gender" command.
6) The "touch" command has been removed from the standard distribution due to its inappropriate use by high-level managers.
7) "compress" has been replaced by the lightweight "feather" command. Thus, old information (such as that from Dead White European Males) should be archived via "tar" and "feather".
8) The "more" command reflects the materialistic philosophy of the Reagan era. System VI uses the environmentally preferable "less" command.
9) The biodegradable "KleeNeX" displaces the environmentally unfriendly "LaTeX".

1) To avoid unpleasant, medieval connotations, the "kill" command has been renamed "euthanise."
2) The "nice" command was historically used by privileged users to give themselves priority over unprivileged ones, by telling them to be "nice". In System VI, the "sue" command is used by unprivileged users to get for themselves the rights enjoyed by privileged ones.
3) "history" has been completely rewritten, and is now called "herstory."
4) "quota" can now specify minimum as well as maximum usage, and will be strictly enforced.
5) The "abort()" function is now called "choice()."

1) From now on, "rich text" will be more accurately referred to as "exploitative capitalist text".
2) The term "daemons" is a Judeo-Christian pejorative. Such processes will now be known as "spiritual guides."
3) There will no longer be a invidious distinction between "dumb" and "smart" terminals. All terminals are equally valuable.
4) Traditionally, "normal video" (as opposed to "reverse video") was white on black. This implicitly condoned European colonialism, particularly with respect to people of African descent. UNIX System VI now uses "regressive video" to refer to white on black, while "progressive video" can be any color at all over a white background.
5) For far too long, power has been concentrated in the hands of "root" and his "wheel" oligarchy. We have instituted a dictatorship of the users. All system administration functions will be handled by the People's Committee for Democratically Organizing the System (PC-DOS).
6) No longer will it be permissible for files and processes to be "owned" by users. All files and processes will own themselves, and decided how (or whether) to respond to requests from users.
7) The X Window System will henceforth be known as the NC-17 Window System.
8) And finally, UNIX itself will be renamed "PC" - for Procreatively Challenged.