The Jargon File

A Chronology...The Jargon FileComputer Dictionary
n. Unnecessary but useful (or amusing) features of a program. "Now that we've got the basic program working, let's go back and add some bells and whistles." Nobody seems to know what distinguishes a bell from a whistle.
[from Macsyma] n. 1. In backgammon, large numbers on the dice.
2. Multiple-precision (sometimes infinitely extendable) integers and, through analogy, any very large numbers. 3. EL CAMINO BIGNUM: El Camino Real, a street through the San Francisco peninsula that originally extended (and still appears in places) all the way to Mexico City. It was termed "El Camino Double Precision" when someone noted it was a very long street, and then "El Camino Bignum" when it was pointed out that it was hundreds of miles long.
[short for BINARY; used as a second file name on ITS] 1. n. BINARY.
2. BIN FILE: A file containing the BIN for a program. Usage: used at MIT, which runs on ITS. The equivalent term at Stanford is DMP (pronounced "dump") FILE. Other names used include SAV ("save") FILE (DEC and Tenex), SHR ("share") and LOW FILES (DEC), and EXE ("ex'ee") FILE (DEC and Twenex). Also in this category are the input files to the various flavors of linking loaders (LOADER, LINK-10, STINK), called REL FILES.
n. The object code for a program.
n. 1. The unit of information; the amount of information obtained by asking a yes-or-no question. "Bits" is often used simply to mean information, as in "Give me bits about DPL replicators".
2. [By extension from "interrupt bits" on a computer] A reminder that something should be done or talked about eventually. Upon seeing someone that you haven't talked to for a while, it's common for one or both to say, "I have a bit set for you."
(bit'blit) 1. v. To perform a complex operation on a large block of bits, usually involving the bits being displayed on a bitmapped raster screen. See BLT.
2. n. The operation itself.
n. 1. A receptacle used to hold the runoff from the computer's shift registers.
2. Mythical destination of deleted files, GC'ed memory, and other no-longer-accessible data.
3. The physical device associated with "NUL:".
[from German "brechen", to vomit] 1. interj. Term of disgust.
2. BLETCHEROUS: adj. Disgusting in design or function. "This keyboard is bletcherous!" Usage: slightly comic.
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