<humour, programming> (UTSL) (A pun on Obi-Wan Kenobi's "Use the Force, Luke!" in "Star Wars") A more polite version of RTFS. This is a common way of suggesting that someone would be better off reading the source code that supports whatever feature is causing confusion, rather than making yet another futile pass through the manuals, or broadcasting questions on Usenet that haven't attracted wizards to answer them.
Once upon a time in Elder Days, everyone running Unix had source. After 1978, AT&T's policy tightened up, so this objurgation was in theory appropriately directed only at associates of some outfit with a Unix source licence. In practice, bootlegs of Unix source code (made precisely for reference purposes) were so ubiquitous that one could utter it at almost anyone on the network without concern.
Nowadays, free Unix clones are becoming common enough that almost anyone can read source legally. The most widely distributed is probably Linux. FreeBSD, NetBSD, 386BSD, jolix also have their followers. Cheap commercial Unix implementations with source such as BSD/OS from BSDI are accelerating this trend.
Last updated: 1996-01-02
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Nearby terms: User Network Interface « user-obsequious « user-unctuous « Use the Source Luke » USG Unix » usim » USL