About This Edition

The original html for this project was downloaded from Eric Raymond’s website on 10 May 2010. This text is being provided as is, and makes no pretence to representing Raymond’s or the broader community of computer programmers' views. If you’d like to see the latest version from Raymond himself, it is available online The Jargon File, version 4.4.8. Edits and additions made by Alexiares are clearly marked and are not part of the main Jargon File distribution. Basically, this whole thing started out as a set of files used to set up a local ebook generation tool chain and improve grep skills by practice. Then it began to grow slightly as some additional references were added to the appendices, and it finally seemed worthwhile to make the whole publicly available since the references are more than idiosyncratic commentary. The epub file is not included as yet, due to a still unsolved cross-compatibility issue for those who are still trying to read epubs using apple's ibooks program.

The copy of the Original Hacker’s Dictionary incorporated in this edition is from that archived by veteran computer scientist Paul Dourish on his personal website. He dates the version to 1988, and notes:

This file, jargon.txt, was maintained on MIT-AI for many years, before being published by Guy Steele and others as the Hacker’s Dictionary. Many years after the original book went out of print, Eric Raymond picked it up, updated it and republished it as the New Hacker’s Dictionary. Unfortunately, in the process, he essentially destroyed what held it together, in various ways: first, by changing its emphasis from Lisp-based to UNIX-based (blithely ignoring the distinctly anti-UNIX aspects of the LISP culture celebrated in the original); second, by watering down what was otherwise the fairly undiluted record of a single cultural group through this kind of mixing; and third, by adding in all sorts of terms which are “jargon” only in the sense that they’re technical. This page, however, is pretty much the original, snarfed from MIT-AI around 1988.

Evidently this edition is not able to address Dourish’s criticisms as such, but thanks to the flexibility and small size of text in electronic formats, a copy of this version of jargon.txt is incorporated as Appendix E.

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