In the field of computer science, the Jargon File is the official founding document of the multi-billion-dollar computer-hacking industry (c. 1987 AD). The original text of the file (approx. 950 ASCII characters), with all of its original misspellings intact, is currently preserved in pristine condition on a 37-inch floppy disk (using 83% of its full capacity) in a very small abandoned warehouse under carefully uncontrolled environmental conditions.
During the earliest stages of the development of today's modern computer technology, it was accidentally discovered that shrouding the suspicious activity of electronic vandals with scads of witty and humorous terminologicalisms was conducive to the continual perpetration of unremitting evil in its starkest form. In particular, the usage of seemingly harmless allusions to great works of contemporary comedic art was the perfect cover for infiltrating the private and public homes of the below-average American nuclear family.
- 1 Origins of the Jargon File
- 2 Outline of the Jargon File
- 3 Preservation for posterity
Origins of the Jargon File
A precursory Stab at Greatness, which went bust overnight
1981 was a banner year for the fledgling computer industry, what with the arrival of MSI (Mediocre-Scale Integration), BASIC, teletype terminals, and the overthrow of the repressive Carter administration. The great Founding Corporations (IBM, Cray, Motorola, etc.) of our postmodern electronic utopia hand-typed for themselves (entirely by hand) massive reams of guidelines and protocols and ethical procedures for the management of the great unexplored electronic frontier and went bust overnight. In their abundantly over-optimistic enthusiasm, they entirely failed to understand thing one about how great empires are properly forged, the ignorant clods.
Forging a more perfect axis of evil
And thus, in 1987, the Founding Corporations herded up hundreds of their worst-dressed and brightest representatives and locked them in a 6 by 9 television-free room until they came up with something far more entertaining than typical '80s sitcoms (which wasn't terribly difficult, at that). Fifteen minutes later, the newly-crafted meme, chock-full of juvenile sarcastic humor and tedious pop culture references, was ready to propagate over the US Military ARPANET to the world's basement-dwelling elite for eventual ratification. Dozens of freely-distributed copies of the electronic file would serve as the ultimate expression of (and last court-of-appeal for) leetish hackerdom.
Outline of the Jargon File
Over the long dusty ages, the original Jargon File has managed to collect an enormous number of amendments, accretions, attachments, appendixes, and other additional additions which have little or nothing to do with the original intentions of the original writers (much like Uncyclopedia or something). Suffice it to say that the current text (as of 2021) of today's up-to-date version of the Jargon File (mark 4.dot.4.dot.7) is much much too unwieldy to bother fooling around with excruciating copy-and-paste operations; plus the fact that we could get sued to smithereens for plagiarism. Thus follows an entirely inadequate outline of the entire file.
The first Article constitutes a brief lexionary of code-words, buzzwords, euphemisms, hackronyms, and other convoluted word-playing, complete with definitions and antomologies and proper real-world applications, designed to make the average hacker feel at ease and in touch with his truest and deepest feelings whilst infiltrating CIA computer records and pillaging innocent credit card accounts.
Article II of the Jargon File describes the delegated powers of (which are many) and limitations of (which are few and far inbetween) the world's ruling body of ethically-challenged software engineers.
There is no article III (accidentally deleted by an unanticipated encounter with a stray magnet).
The concluding and final part of the original file sets out the detailed procedures for official acceptance by the individual hacker sub-communities; and guidelines for submitting additional text which may (or may not) be ratified for merging into the text by at least a largish minority of hackerdom, provided such additions are both (1) sufficiently funny, and (2) sufficiently incomprehensible to Joe the Plumber.
Additional stuff (articles 5 to 1,027,809)
Preservation for posterity
Today's nearly-indecipherable Jargon File is kept (mostly intact) at http://www.catb.org/~esr/jargon/html/index.html in an extremely large abandoned warehouse under carefully uncontrolled environmental conditions.