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My Linux Personal Lexicon

Date/Time Permalink: 04/24/09 06:15:12 am
Category: LINKS and Lists

In the spirit of Douglas Adams' The Meaning of Liff, this is the little list of words I've come up with to describe aspects of Linux life. They don't have to make sense - I'm just being silly.

"adminland" n. "ad-min-land"
The console. The black text terminal you get by hitting Ctrl-Alt-F[2-6] and return to the desktop from with Alt-F7. For myself, it's a natural environment on my own machine. For the rest of the household, it's that weird thing that dad does to your computer from over your shoulder when you're having a problem. I've gotten so good at adminland, that all anybody sees is sudden black, a flurry of flying text, and the desktop again with the problem fixed.

"Appleshock" n. "app-el-shock"
The surprise of unzipping a received file which you expect to be from Windows and instead it's from an Apple user. Oh, yes, there are alternative systems out there, aren't there? So now instead of dealing with spaces in file names or all-uppercase DOS-isms, you're dealing with folders that begin with a double-underscore and duplicate files with a dot in front of them for no apparent reason.

"bootpanic" n. "boot-pan-ick"
The sudden realization that you have to struggle to remember the passwords to the machine you're booting, because it's been running for so long. At least one thunderstorm + power blink per year gives me bootpanic on at least one machine.

"decrappifier" n. "de-crap-i-fye-er"
Any script you bang out in anger to solve some stupid problem that shouldn't happen, regarding the output file of a program. Examples include fixing the bloated output of ABIWord when you save to HTML, converting "smartquotes" and "smartdashes" in a file saved from the web to normal ASCII, stripping the usable text out of a Microsoft ".docx" file, and so on and so on. Always saved with a name like "de-*expletive*", with no comments. Months later, you stumble upon these kinds of scripts and have no idea what they do.

"distromacy" n. "dis-tro-mass-y"
The diplomatic politeness with which you treat another Linux user's distro choice when discussing Linux in a face-to-face meeting, after having experienced the thrill of meeting another Linux user in real life. "Oh, you use Linux too! I'm a __! Oh, you use, ah, use _. Yeah, that's a good one too." Later when walking away and out of earshot you remark to your significant other marveling how anybody could use a crap distro like that.

"grepwords" n. "grep-words"
Any word-based game, e.g. Scrabble, Jumble, crossword puzzle. I cheat by using the 'grep' command and some regexp-foo on /use/share/dict/words to turn up all possible words fitting certain letters and space lengths, which actually turns the word game into a hearty regexp puzzle instead.

"McMove" - v. "mick-move"
From the command line, trying to move a file with 'mv' only to accidentally fire up Midnight Commander by typing 'mc' instead. I do this all the time, the keys are right next to each other. And I hate Midnight Commander, I can never remember how to exit it. On at least one machine I've gone so far as to remove the Midnight Commander package and alias mc to mv in .bashrc.

"mntveto" v. "mount-vee-toe"
To override any Linux distro's own eccentric scheme for mounting removable media. Look, Linux distros, bloody-well put the floppy in the /mnt/floppy/ directory, the CD in the /mnt/cdrom/ directory, the thumbdrive in the /mnt/usb/ directory. Alright? By definition, removable media is going to travel from machine to machine, so being able to quickly find the files on a (usually unfamiliar) machine should be a priority. Yet there are 1000 Linux distros with Borg-like consistency in where they put everything else, and yet all 1000 of them have to come up with their own unique, zany little scheme when it comes to mounting removable media. Stop it, you're not funny!

"mousephony" n. "mouse-fo-ney"
The ungodly noise you can produce by catting /dev/mouse to /dev/dsp (the speakers) and then wriggling your mouse around just to hear the squeals and static. Only works on desktop boxes, and only certain machines. If you're really brave, you can produce some infernal growling static with /dev/urandom going to your speakers. An activity for the extremely bored and braindead. (By the way, you stop this with Ctrl-C. You're welcome.)

"schrodinpackage" n. "shrode-in-pack-age"
Any package which you never use but keep installed anyway because some other program on your system might need it. Removing it might break the system, or it might not. Or it might only stop you from doing something you only rarely ever do, but will be nonetheless distressed when you can't do it any more.

"tabslap" v. "tab-slap"
To quickly close a newly-opened Firefox tab whose web page is threatening to crash Firefox. Misbehaving Flash and Javascript are the chief targets for tabslap.

"user" n. "uz-er"
How I pronounce the Unix standard major directory "/usr/", as in "user share", "user local", etc. Yes, I know that "/usr/" actually is an acronym for "unix system resources" and when I found that out, it struck me as daft. It's the user directory - things that users need go in there!

"VDADD" n. acronym: "Virtual Desktop Attention Deficit Disorder"
The tendency to abuse Linux's multitasking muscle by having way too many programs running in multiple virtual desktops or consoles. You end up flipping back and forth reading a line here, editing a line there, watching another five seconds of a video clip, and eventually coming to Emacs with a window-full of code open and asking, "What was I going to do with this?" Having multiple windows open on one desktop doesn't have the same effect, since it's all there at once where you can't forget any of it.

"Windowwart" - n. "win-dow-wart"
Any misfeature which was stupid design the first time it happened on Windows, and is carried over to Linux just to make Windows immigrants feel at home. Should we also install a clutch pedal in all cars with automatic transmissions so that stick drivers will feel at home when they switch to automatic?

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Sanity checks:
Midnight Commander - by dumb luck, I happen to have F9-F12 hotkeyed to open my most commonly used programs; F10 is what I have Fluxbox opening Firefox under. So I have to exit MC via menus.

Mounting - I can recall at least /mnt/removable/, /mnt/media/, and /media/, plus some distros name the media's folder sda1, and I also remember /mnt/thumb/ once. Add to that the other variables - some distros automount, some don't, some require root, some don't, some even pop open a program automatically, which may or may not be the program you were intending to use right now.

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