The Jargon File

A Chronology...The Jargon FileComputer Dictionary
n. A feature which eventually screws someone, possibly because it is not adequate for a new situation which has evolved. It is not the same as a bug because fixing it involves a gross philosophical change to the structure of the system involved. Often a former feature becomes a misfeature because a tradeoff was made whose parameters subsequently changed (possibly only in the judgment of the implementors). "Well, yeah, it's kind of a misfeature that file names are limited to six characters, but we're stuck with it for now."
[seems to have been in use among model railroad fans years ago. Entered the world of AI with the Fabritek 256K moby memory of MIT-AI. Derived from Melville's "Moby Dick" (some say from "Moby Pickle").]1. adj. Large, immense, or complex. "A moby frob."
2. n. The maximum address space of a machine, hence
3. n. 256K words, the size of a PDP-10 moby. (The maximum address space means the maximum normally addressable space, as opposed to the amount of physical memory a machine can have. Thus the MIT PDP-10s each have two mobies, usually referred to as the "low moby" (0-777777) and "high moby" (1000000-1777777), or as "moby 0" and "moby 1". MIT-AI has four mobies of address space: moby 2 is the PDP-6 memory, and moby 3 the PDP-11 interface.) In this sense "moby" is often used as a generic unit of either address space (18. bits' worth) or of memory (about a megabyte, or 9/8 megabyte (if one accounts for difference between 32.- and 36.-bit words), or 5/4 megacharacters).
4.A title of address (never of third-person reference), usually used to show admiration, respect, and/or friendliness to a competent hacker. "So, moby Knight, how's the CONS machine doing?"
5. adj. In backgammon, doubles on the dice, as in "moby sixes", "moby ones", etc.
MOBY FOO, MOBY WIN, MOBY LOSS: standard emphatic forms. FOBY MOO: a spoonerism due to Greenblatt.
n. A general state, usually used with an adjective describing the state. "No time to hack; I'm in thesis mode." Usage: in its jargon sense, MODE is most often said of people, though it is sometimes applied to programs and inanimate objects. "If you're on a TTY, E will switch to non-display mode." In particular, see DAY MODE, NIGHT MODE, and YOYO MODE; also COM MODE, TALK MODE, and GABRIEL MODE.
prep. Except for. From mathematical terminology: one can consider saying that 4=22 "except for the 9's" (4=22 mod 9). "Well, LISP seems to work okay now, modulo that GC bug."
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