Archive for November, 2006

UNIX Error Jokes

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

Do you laugh when the waiter drops a tray full of dishes? Unix weenies do. They’re the first ones to laugh at hapless users, trying to figure out an error message that doesn’t have anything to do with what they just typed.

People have published some of Unix’s more ludicrous errors messages as jokes.

The following Unix puns were distributed on the Usenet, without an
attributed author. They work with the C shell.

% rm meese-ethics
rm: meese-ethics nonexistent
% ar m God
ar: God does not exist
% "How would you rate Dan Quayle's incompetence?
Unmatched ".
% ^How did the sex changeSHIFT6 operation go?
Modifier failed.

//replace SHIFT6 with ^

% If I had a ( for every $ the Congress spent,
what would I have?
Too many ('s.
% make love
Make: Don't know how to make love. Stop.
% sleep with me
bad character
% got a light?
No match.
% man: why did you get a divorce?
man:: Too many arguments.
% ^What is saccharine?
Bad substitute.
% %blow
%blow: No such job.

These attempts at humor work with the Bourne shell:


$ PATH=pretending! /usr/ucb/which sense
no sense in pretending!
$ drink < bottle ; opener
bottle: cannot open
opener: not found
$ mkdir matter; cat >matter
matter: cannot create