Hackers lingo and slang- hacker jargon database


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Yellow Book:

yellow card:

yellow wire:

Yet Another:




You are not expected to understand this:

You know you've been hacking too long when:

Your mileage may vary:


yoyo mode:

Yu-Shiang Whole Fish:

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YA- abbrev.

[Yet Another] In hackish acronyms this almost invariably expands to Yet Another, following the precedent set by Unix yacc(1) (Yet Another Compiler-Compiler). See YABA.

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YABA /ya'b*/ n.

[Cambridge] Yet Another Bloody Acronym. Whenever some program is being named, someone invariably suggests that it be given a name that is acronymic. The response from those with a trace of originality is to remark ironically that the proposed name would then be `YABA-compatible'. Also used in response to questions like "What is WYSIWYG?" See also TLA.

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YAFIYGI /yaf'ee-y*-gee/ adj.

[coined in response to WYSIWYG] Describes the command-oriented ed/vi/nroff/TeX style of word processing or other user interface, the opposite of WYSIWYG. Stands for "You asked for it, you got it", because what you actually asked for is often not apparent until long after it is too late to do anything about it. Used to denote perversity ("Real Programmers use YAFIYGI tools...and like it!") or, less often, a necessary tradeoff ("Only a YAFIYGI tool can have full programmable flexibility in its interface.").

This precise sense of "You asked for it, you got it" seems to have first appeared in Ed Post's classic parody "Real Programmers don't use Pascal" (see Real Programmers); the acronym is a more recent invention.

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YAUN /yawn/ n.

[Acronym for `Yet Another Unix Nerd'] Reported from the San Diego Computer Society (predominantly a microcomputer users' group) as a good-natured punning insult aimed at Unix zealots.

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Yellow Book n.

The print version of this Jargon File; "The New Hacker's Dictionary" from MIT Press; The book includes essentially all the material the File, plus a Foreword by Guy L. Steele Jr. and a Preface by Eric S. Raymond. Most importantly, the book version is nicely typeset and includes almost all of the infamous Crunchly cartoons by the Great Quux, each attached to an appropriate entry. The first edition (1991, ISBN 0-262-68069-6) corresponded to the Jargon File version 2.9.6. The second edition (1993, ISBN 0-262-68079-3) corresponded to the Jargon File 3.0.0. The third (1996, ISBN 0-262-68092-0) corresponded to 4.0.0.

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yellow card n.

See green card.

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yellow wire n.

[IBM] Repair wires used when connectors (especially ribbon connectors) got broken due to some schlemiel pinching them, or to reconnect cut traces after the FE mistakenly cut one. Compare blue wire, purple wire, red wire.

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Yet Another adj.

[From Unix's yacc(1), `Yet Another Compiler-Compiler', a LALR parser generator] 1. Of your own work: A humorous allusion often used in titles to acknowledge that the topic is not original, though the content is. As in `Yet Another AI Group' or `Yet Another Simulated Annealing Algorithm'. 2. Of others' work: Describes something of which there are already far too many. See also YA-, YABA, YAUN.

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[Usenet: very common] Abbreviation: You Have Been Trolled (see troll, sense 1). Especially used in "YHBT. YHL. HAND.", which is widely understood to expand to "You Have Been Trolled. You Have Lost. Have A Nice Day". You are quite likely to see this if you respond incautiously to a flame-provoking post that was obviously floated as sucker bait.

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YKYBHTLW // abbrev.

Abbreviation of `You know you've been hacking too long when...', which became established on the Usenet group alt.folklore.computers during extended discussion of the indicated entry in the Jargon File.

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YMMV // cav.

Abbreviation for Your mileage may vary common on Usenet.

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You are not expected to understand this [Unix] cav.

The canonical comment describing something magic or too complicated to bother explaining properly. From an infamous comment in the context-switching code of the V6 Unix kernel. Dennis Ritchie has explained this in detail.

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You know you've been hacking too long when

The set-up line for a genre of one-liners told by hackers about themselves. These include the following:

    not only do you check your email more often than your paper mail, but you remember your network address faster than your postal one.

    your SO kisses you on the neck and the first thing you think is "Uh, oh, priority interrupt."

    you go to balance your checkbook and discover that you're doing it in octal.

    your computers have a higher street value than your car.

    in your universe, `round numbers' are powers of 2, not 10.

    more than once, you have woken up recalling a dream in some programming language.

    you realize you have never seen half of your best friends.

A list of these can be found by searching for this phrase on the web.

[An early version of this entry said "All but one of these have been reliably reported as hacker traits (some of them quite often). Even hackers may have trouble spotting the ringer." The ringer was balancing one's checkbook in octal, which I made up out of whole cloth. Although more respondents picked that one out as fiction than any of the others, I also received multiple independent reports of its actually happening, most famously to Grace Hopper while she was working with BINAC in 1949. --ESR]

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Your mileage may vary cav.

[from the standard disclaimer attached to EPA mileage ratings by American car manufacturers] 1. A ritual warning often found in Unix freeware distributions. Translates roughly as "Hey, I tried to write this portably, but who knows what'll happen on your system?" 2. More generally, a qualifier attached to advice. "I find that sending flowers works well, but your mileage may vary."

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Yow! /yow/ interj.

[from "Zippy the Pinhead" comix] A favored hacker expression of humorous surprise or emphasis. "Yow! Check out what happens when you twiddle the foo option on this display hack!" Compare gurfle.

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yoyo mode n.

The state in which the system is said to be when it rapidly alternates several times between being up and being down. Interestingly (and perhaps not by coincidence), many hardware vendors give out free yoyos at Usenix exhibits.

Sun Microsystems gave out logoized yoyos at SIGPLAN '88. Tourists staying at one of Atlanta's most respectable hotels were subsequently treated to the sight of 200 of the country's top computer scientists testing yo-yo algorithms in the lobby.

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Yu-Shiang Whole Fish /yoo-shyang hohl fish/ n. obs.

The character gamma (extended SAIL ASCII 0001001), which with a loop in its tail looks like a little fish swimming down the page. The term is actually the name of a Chinese dish in which a fish is cooked whole (not parsed) and covered with Yu-Shiang (or Yu-Hsiang) sauce. Usage: primarily by people on the MIT LISP Machine, which could display this character on the screen. Tends to elicit incredulity from people who hear about it second-hand.

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