Tech Writing and Unix Humor

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

man false, quote:

false - do nothing, unsuccessfully

A more rigid documentation would be:

false - do nothing, and exit with a status code 1.

the problem with embedded programer humor is that when your system is littered with them, it becomes cryptic, and cultivates a cult. This is partly why, unix is hard to use, and forms the “hacker” cult. Just look at the pun of all the command names (more, less, cat, bash, gawk, ash, make, parted, bison, kill, die (perl), man, woman (emacs), …, apt-get, and bash's case/esac, if/fi and the Shebang Fsck.). For example, if you Google “linux less more”, you'll find quite a few people confused by that. The epitome of the hacker cult is perl. The perl folks call themselfs mongers, and don't hesitate in creating spurious jargons.

Though, these days the old school unix culture is pretty much dead. Linux don't have them much, and Linux strives to be easy-to-use for grandma, and fails miserably. [see Is Linux Desktop Ready for Mom and Pop?]