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The New Hacker's Dictionary

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*[7524]kluge up:

*[7525]Knights of the Lambda Calculus:







Node:K, Next:[7531]K&R, Previous:[7532]jupiter, Up:[7533]= K =

K /K/ n.

[from [7534]kilo-] A kilobyte. Used both as a spoken word and a written suffix (like [7535]meg and [7536]gig for megabyte and gigabyte). See [7537]quantifiers.


Node:K&R, Next:[7538]k-, Previous:[7539]K, Up:[7540]= K =

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 0-13-110163-3). Syn. [7541]White Book, [7542]Old Testament. See also [7543]New Testament.



Node:k-, Next:[7544]kahuna, Previous:[7545]K&R, Up:[7546]= K =

k- pref.

[rare; poss fr. `kilo-' prefix] Extremely. Rare among hackers, but quite common among crackers and [7547]warez d00dz in compounds such as `k-kool' /K'kool'/, `k-rad' /K'rad'/, and `k-awesome' /K'aw`sm/. Also used to intensify negatives; thus, `k-evil', `k-lame', `k-screwed', and `k-annoying'. Overuse of this prefix, or use in more formal or technical contexts, is considered an indicator of [7548]lamer status.


Node:kahuna, Next:[7549]kamikaze packet, Previous:[7550]k-, Up:[7551]= K =

kahuna /k*-hoo'n*/ n.

[IBM: from the Hawaiian title for a shaman] Synonym for [7552]wizard, [7553]guru.


Node:kamikaze packet, Next:[7554]kangaroo code,

Previous:[7555]kahuna, Up:[7556]= K =

kamikaze packet n.

The `official' jargon for what is more commonly called a [7557]Christmas tree packet. [7558]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 [7559]Chernobyl packet.


Node:kangaroo code, Next:[7560]ken, Previous:[7561]kamikaze packet, Up:[7562]= K =

kangaroo code n.

Syn. [7563]spaghetti code.


Node:ken, Next:[7564]kernel-of-the-week club, Previous:[7565]kangaroo code, Up:[7566]= K =

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 [7567]demigod, [7568]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.


Node:kernel-of-the-week club, Next:[7569]kgbvax, Previous:[7570]ken, Up:[7571]= K =

kernel-of-the-week club


The fictional society that [7572]BSD [7573]bigots claim [Linux] users belong to, alluding to the release-early-release-often style preferred by the kernel maintainers. See [7574]bazaar. This was almost certainly inspired by the earlier [7575]bug-of-the-month club.


Node:kgbvax, Next:[7576]KIBO, Previous:[7577]kernel-of-the-week club, Up:[7578]= K =

kgbvax /K-G-B'vaks/ n.

See [7579]kremvax.


Node:KIBO, Next:[7580]kiboze, Previous:[7581]kgbvax, Up:[7582]= K =

KIBO /ki:'boh/

1. [acronym] Knowledge In, Bullshit Out. A summary of what happens whenever valid data is passed through an organization (or person) that deliberately or accidentally disregards or ignores its significance. Consider, for example, what an advertising campaign can do with a product's actual specifications. Compare [7583]GIGO; see also [7584]SNAFU principle. 2. James Parry <kibo@world.std.com>, a Usenetter infamous for various surrealist net.pranks and an uncanny, machine-assisted knack for joining any thread in which his nom de guerre is mentioned. He has a website at [7585]http://www.kibo.com/.


Node:kiboze, Next:[7586]kibozo, Previous:[7587]KIBO, Up:[7588]= K =

kiboze v.


[Usenet] To [7589]grep the Usenet news for a string, especially with the intention of posting a follow-up. This activity was popularised by Kibo (see [7590]KIBO, sense 2).


Node:kibozo, Next:[7591]kick, Previous:[7592]kiboze, Up:[7593]= K =

kibozo /ki:-boh'zoh/ n.

[Usenet] One who [7594]kibozes but is not Kibo (see [7595]KIBO, sense 2).


Node:kick, Next:[7596]kill file, Previous:[7597]kibozo, Up:[7598]= K =

kick v.

1. [IRC] To cause somebody to be removed from a [7599]IRC channel, an option only available to channel ops. This is an extreme measure, often used to combat extreme [7600]flamage or [7601]flooding, but sometimes used at the [7602]CHOP's whim. Compare [7603]gun. 2. To reboot a machine or kill a running process. "The server's down, let me go kick it."


Node:kill file, Next:[7604]killer app, Previous:[7605]kick, Up:[7606]= K =

kill file n.

[Usenet; very common] (alt. `KILL file') Per-user file(s) used by some [7607]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 [7608]plonk.


Node:killer app, Next:[7609]killer micro, Previous:[7610]kill file, Up:[7611]= K =

killer app

The application that actually makes a sustaining market for a promising but under-utilized technology. First used in the mid-1980s to describe Lotus 1-2-3 once it became evident that demand for that product had been the major driver of the early business market for IBM PCs. The term was then restrospectively applied to VisiCalc, which had played a similar role in the success of the Apple II. After 1994 it became commonplace to describe the World Wide Web as the Internet's killer app. One of the standard questions asked about each new personal-computer technology as it emerges has become "what's the killer app?"


Node:killer micro, Next:[7612]killer poke, Previous:[7613]killer app, Up:[7614]= K =

killer micro n.

[popularized by Eugene Brooks] 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 architectures.

The popularity of the phrase `attack of the killer micros' is doubtless reinforced by the title of the movie "Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes" (one of the [7615]canonical examples of so-bad-it's-wonderful among hackers).


This has even more [7616]flavor now that killer micros have gone on the offensive not just individually (in workstations) but in hordes (within massively parallel computers).

[1996 update: Eugene Brooks was right. Since this term first entered the Jargon File in 1990, the minicomputer has effectively vanished, the [7617]mainframe sector is in deep and apparently terminal decline (with IBM but a shadow of its former self), and even the supercomputer business has contracted into a smaller niche. It's networked killer micros as far as the eye can see. --ESR]


Node:killer poke, Next:[7618]kilo-, Previous:[7619]killer micro, Up:[7620]= K =

killer poke n.

A recipe for inducing hardware damage on a machine via insertion of invalid values (see [7621]poke) into a memory-mapped control register; used esp. of various fairly well-known tricks on [7622]bitty boxes without hardware memory management (such as the IBM PC and Commodore PET) that can overload and trash analog electronics in the monitor. See also [7623]HCF.


Node:kilo-, Next:[7624]KIPS, Previous:[7625]killer poke, Up:[7626]= K =


[SI] See [7627]quantifiers.



Node:KIPS, Next:[7628]KISS Principle, Previous:[7629]kilo-, Up:[7630]=

K =

KIPS /kips/ n.

[abbreviation, by analogy with [7631]MIPS using [7632]K] Thousands (not 1024s) of Instructions Per Second. Usage: rare.


Node:KISS Principle, Next:[7633]kit, Previous:[7634]KIPS, Up:[7635]= K


KISS Principle /kis' prin'si-pl/ n.

"Keep It Simple, Stupid". A maxim often invoked when discussing design to fend off [7636]creeping featurism and control development complexity. Possibly related to the [7637]marketroid maxim on sales presentations, "Keep It Short and Simple".


Node:kit, Next:[7638]klone, Previous:[7639]KISS Principle, Up:[7640]= K


kit n.

[Usenet; poss. fr. [7641]DEC slang for a full software distribution, as opposed to a patch or upgrade] 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 [7642]README file. The more general term [7643]distribution may imply that special tools or more stringent conditions on the host environment are required.



Node:klone, Next:[7644]kludge, Previous:[7645]kit, Up:[7646]= K =

klone /klohn/ n.

See [7647]clone, sense 4.


Node:kludge, Next:[7648]kluge, Previous:[7649]klone, Up:[7650]= K =

kludge 1. /klooj/ n.

Incorrect (though regrettably common) spelling of [7651]kluge (US). These two words have been confused in American usage since the early 1960s, and widely confounded in Great Britain since the end of World War II. 2. [TMRC] A [7652]crock that works. (A long-ago "Datamation" article by Jackson Granholme similarly said: "An ill-assorted collection of poorly matching parts, forming a distressing whole.") 3. v. To use a kludge to get around a problem. "I've kludged around it for now, but I'll fix it up properly later."

This word appears to have derived from Scots `kludge' or `kludgie' for a common toilet, via British military slang. It apparently became confused with U.S. [7653]kluge during or after World War II; some Britons from that era use both words in definably different ways, but [7654]kluge is now uncommon in Great Britain. `Kludge' in Commonwealth hackish differs in meaning from `kluge' in that it lacks the positive senses; a kludge is something no Commonwealth hacker wants to be associated too closely with. Also, `kludge' is more widely known in British mainstream slang than `kluge' is in the U.S.



Node:kluge, Next:[7655]kluge around, Previous:[7656]kludge, Up:[7657]= K =

kluge /klooj/

[from the German `klug', clever; poss. related to Polish `klucz' (a key, a hint, a main point)] 1. n. A Rube Goldberg (or Heath Robinson) device, whether in hardware or software. 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 [7658]ad-hockery and verges on being a [7659]crock. 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 [7660]rude manner.

Nowadays this term is often encountered in the variant spelling `kludge'. Reports from [7661]old farts are consistent that `kluge' was the original spelling, reported around computers as far back as the mid-1950s and, at that time, used exclusively of hardware kluges. In 1947, the "New York Folklore Quarterly" reported a classic shaggy-dog story `Murgatroyd the Kluge Maker' then current in the Armed Forces, in which a `kluge' was a complex and puzzling artifact with a trivial function. Other sources report that `kluge' was common Navy slang in the WWII era for any piece of electronics that worked well on shore but consistently failed at sea.

However, there is reason to believe this slang use may be a decade older. Several respondents have connected it to the brand name of a device called a "Kluge paper feeder", an adjunct to mechanical printing presses. Legend has it that the Kluge feeder was designed before small, cheap electric motors and control electronics; it relied on a fiendishly complex assortment of cams, belts, and linkages to both power and synchronize all its operations from one motive driveshaft. It was accordingly temperamental, subject to frequent breakdowns, and devilishly difficult to repair -- but oh, so clever! People who tell this story also aver that `Kluge' was the name of a design engineer.

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