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Jargon used in computing

= K =

K: /K/ [from {kilo-}] n. A kilobyte.  This is used both as a spoken word and a written suffix
   (like {meg} and {gig} for megabyte and gigabyte).  See {{quantifiers}}.

K&R: [Kernighan and Ritchie] n. Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie's book `The C Programming
   Language', esp. the classic and influential first edition (Prentice-Hall 1978;
   ISBN 0-113-110163-3).  Syn. {White Book}, {Old Testament}.  See also {New Testament}.

kahuna: /k*-hoo'nuh/ [IBM: from the Hawaiian title for a shaman] n. Synonym for {wizard},

kamikaze packet: n. The `official' jargon for what is more commonly called a {Christmas tree
   packet}. RFC-1025, `TCP and IP Bake Off' says:

     10 points for correctly being able to process a "Kamikaze" packet (AKA nastygram,
     christmas tree packet, lamp test segment, et al.).  That is, correctly handle a
     segment with the maximum combination of features at once (e.g., a SYN URG PUSH FIN
     segment with options and data).

   See also {Chernobyl packet}.

kangaroo code: n. Syn. {spaghetti code}.

ken: /ken/ n. 1. [UNIX] Ken Thompson, principal inventor of UNIX. In the early days he used to
   hand-cut distribution tapes, often with a note that read "Love, ken". Old-timers still use
   his first name (sometimes uncapitalized, because it's a login name and mail address) in
   third-person reference; it is widely understood (on USENET, in particular) that without a
   last name `Ken' refers only to Ken Thompson. Similarly, Dennis without last name means
   Dennis Ritchie (and he is often known as dmr). See also {demigod}, {{UNIX}}. 2. A flaming
   user. This was originated by the Software Support group at Symbolics because the two
   greatest flamers in the user community were both named Ken.

kgbvax: /K-G-B'vaks/ n. See {kremvax}.

kill file: [USENET] n. (alt. `KILL file') Per-user file(s) used by some {USENET} reading
   programs (originally Larry Wall's `rn(1)') to discard summarily (without presenting for
   reading) articles matching some particularly uninteresting (or unwanted) patterns of
   subject, author, or other header lines. Thus to add a person (or subject) to one's kill
   file is to arrange for that person to be ignored by one's newsreader in future. By
   extension, it may be used for a decision to ignore the person or subject in other media.
   See also {plonk}.

killer micro: [popularized by Eugene Brooks] n. A microprocessor-based machine that infringes
   on mini, mainframe, or supercomputer performance turf. Often heard in "No one will survive
   the attack of the killer micros!", the battle cry of the downsizers. Used esp. of RISC
   The popularity of the phrase `attack of the killer micros' is doubtless reinforced by the
   movie title "Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes" (one of the {canonical} examples of
   so-bad-it's-wonderful among hackers). This has even more flavour now that killer micros
   have gone on the offensive not just individually (in workstations) but in hordes (within
   massively parallel computers).

killer poke: n. A recipe for inducing hardware damage on a machine via insertion of invalid
   values (see {poke}) in a memory-mapped control register; used esp. of various fairly
   well-known tricks on {bitty box}es without hardware memory management (such as the IBM PC
   and Commodore PET) that can overload and trash analog electronics in the monitor.  See also

kilo-: [SI] pref. See {{quantifiers}}.

KIPS: /kips/ [acronym, by analogy with {MIPS} using {K}] n. Thousands (*not* 1024s) of
   Instructions Per Second.  Usage: rare.

KISS Principle: /kis' prin'si-pl/ n. "Keep It Simple, Stupid". A maxim often invoked when
   discussing design to fend off {creeping featurism} and control development complexity.
   Possibly related to the {marketroid} maxim on sales presentations, "Keep It Short and

kit: [USENET] n. A source software distribution that has been packaged in such a way that it
   can (theoretically) be unpacked and installed according to a series of steps using only
   standard UNIX tools, and entirely documented by some reasonable chain of references from
   the top-level {README file}. The more general term {distribution} may imply that special
   tools or more stringent conditions on the host environment are required.

klone: /klohn/ n. See {clone}, sense 4.

kludge: /kluhj/ n. Common (but incorrect) variant of {kluge}, q.v.

kluge: /klooj/ [from the German `klug', clever] 1. n. A Rube Goldberg (or Heath Robinson)
   device, whether in hardware or software.  (A long-ago `Datamation' article by Jackson
   Granholme said: "An ill-assorted collection of poorly matching parts, forming a distressing
   whole.") 2. n. A clever programming trick intended to solve a particular nasty case in an
   expedient, if not clear, manner.  Often used to repair bugs.  Often involves {ad-hockery}
   and verges on being a {crock}.  In fact, the TMRC Dictionary defined `kludge' as "a crock
   that works". 3. n. Something that works for the wrong reason. 4. vt. 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."  5. [WPI] n. A feature that is implemented in a {rude} manner.
   Nowadays this term is often encountered in the variant spelling `kludge'. Reports from {old
   fart}s are consistent that `kluge' was the original spelling, and that `kludge' arose by
   mutation sometime in the early 1970s.  Some people who encountered the word first in print
   or on-line jumped to the reasonable but incorrect conclusion that the word should be
   pronounced /kluhj/ (rhyming with `sludge'). The result of this tangled history is a mess; in
   1991, many (perhaps even most) hackers pronounce the word correctly as /klooj/ but spell it
   incorrectly as `kludge' (compare the pronunciation drift of {mung}). Some observers consider
   this appropriate in view of its meaning.

kluge around: vt. To avoid a bug or difficult condition by inserting a {kluge}. Compare

kluge up: vt. To lash together a quick hack to perform a task; this is milder than {cruft
   together} and has some of the connotations of {hack up} (note, however, that the
   construction `kluge on' corresponding to {hack on} is never used).  "I've kluged up this
   routine to dump the buffer contents to a safe place."

Knights of the Lambda Calculus: n. A semi-mythical organization of wizardly LISP and Scheme
   hackers. The name refers to a mathematical formalism invented by Alonzo Church, with which
   LISP is intimately connected.  There is no enrollment list and the criteria for induction
   are unclear, but one well-known LISPer has been known to give out buttons and, in general,
   the *members* know who they are....

Knuth: [Donald E. Knuth's `The Art of Computer Programming'] n. Mythically, the reference that
   answers all questions about data structures or algorithms.  A safe answer when you do not
   know: "I think you can find that in Knuth."  Contrast {literature, the}. See also {bible}.

kremvax: /krem-vaks/ [from the then large number of {USENET} {VAXen} with names of the form
   foovax] n. Originally, a fictitious USENET site at the Kremlin, announced on April 1, 1984
   in a posting ostensibly originated there by Soviet leader Konstantin Chernenko. The posting
   was actually forged by Piet Beertema as an April Fool's joke. Other fictitious sites
   mentioned in the hoax were moskvax and {kgbvax}, which now seems to be the one by which it
   is remembered. This was probably the funniest of the many April Fool's forgeries perpetrated
   on USENET (which has negligible security against them), because the notion that USENET might
   ever penetrate the Iron Curtain seemed so totally absurd at the time.
   In fact, it was only six years later that the first genuine site in Moscow,, joined
   USENET. Some readers needed convincing that the postings from it weren't just another prank.
   Vadim Antonov, the major poster from there up to at least the end of 1990, was quite aware
   of all this, referred to it frequently in his own postings, and at one point twitted some
   credulous readers by blandly asserting that he *was* a hoax!
   Eventually he even arranged to have the domain's gateway site *named* kremvax, thus neatly
   turning fiction into truth and demonstrating that the hackish sense of humour transcends
   cultural barriers.  [Mr. Antonov also contributed the Russian-language material for this
   lexicon. --- ESR]

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