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Jargon used in computing

= Y =

YA-: [Yet Another] abbrev. In hackish acronyms this almost invariably expands to {Yet Another},
   following the precedent set by UNIX `yacc(1)'.  See {YABA}.

YABA: /ya'b*/ [Cambridge] n. 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}.

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

Yellow Book: [proposed] n. The print version of this Jargon File; `The New Hacker's
   Dictionary', forthcoming from MIT Press, 1991.  Includes all the material in the File, plus
   a Foreword by Guy L.  Steele 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.

Yet Another: adj. [From UNIX's `yacc(1)', `Yet Another Compiler- Compiler', a LALR parser
   generator]  1. Of your own work: A humourous 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 far too many.  See also {YA-}, {YABA}, {YAUN}.

You are not expected to understand this: cav. [UNIX] 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.

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
   * 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.

   [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. --- ESR]

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. A qualifier more generally attached to advice.  "I find that sending
   flowers works well, but your mileage may vary."

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

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.

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
   {parse}d) 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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This page (jargony.html) was last modified on Sunday 27/01/2013