whack

According to arch-hacker James Gosling, to "...modify a program with no idea whatsoever how it works." (See whacker.) It is actually possible to do this in nontrivial circumstances if the change is small and well-defined and you are very good at glarking things from context. As a trivial example, it is relatively easy to change all "stderr" writes to "stdout" writes in a piece of C filter code which remains otherwise mysterious.

[Jargon File]

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whacker

[University of Maryland: from hacker] 1. A person, similar to a hacker, who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and how to stretch their capabilities. Whereas a hacker tends to produce great hacks, a whacker only ends up whacking the system or program in question. Whackers are often quite egotistical and eager to claim wizard status, regardless of the views of their peers. 2. A person who is good at programming quickly, though rather poorly and ineptly.

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whales

like kicking dead whales down the beach

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whalesong

The peculiar clicking and whooshing sounds made by a PEP modem such as the Telebit Trailblazer as it tries to synchronise with another PEP modem for their special high-speed mode. This sound isn't anything like the normal two-tone handshake between conventional modems and is instantly recognizable to anyone who has heard it more than once. It sounds, in fact, very much like whale songs. This noise is also called "the moose call" or "moose tones".

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whatis

<tool>

1. A Unix command which searches for a given string in the headings of all man pages.

2. A command which searches the archie Software Description Database for a given string, with case being ignored.

Last updated: 1995-11-12

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What's a spline?

[XEROX PARC] This phrase expands to: "You have just used a term that I've heard for a year and a half, and I feel I should know, but don't. My curiosity has finally overcome my guilt." The PARC lexicon adds "Moral: don't hesitate to ask questions, even if they seem obvious."

[Jargon File]

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What You Get Is What You Never Thought You Had

<jargon>

(WYGIWYNTYH) A jibe at WYSIWYG systems that fail in their stated aim by rendering documents differently on screen and on paper.

Last updated: 1999-06-15

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What You Get Is What You Never Thought You HadWhat You See Is All You Get

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What You See Is All You Get

<jargon>

(WYSIAYG) /wiz'ee-ayg/ Describes a user interface under which "What You See Is *All* You Get"; an unhappy variant of WYSIWYG. Visual, "point-and-drool interfaces" are easy to learn but often lack depth; they often frustrate advanced users who would be better served by a command-style interface. When this happens, the frustrated user has a WYSIAYG problem.

This term is most often used of editors, word processors, and document formatting programs. WYSIWYG "desktop publishing" programs, for example, are a clear win for creating small documents with lots of fonts and graphics in them, especially things like newsletters and presentation slides. When typesetting book-length manuscripts, on the other hand, scale changes the nature of the task; one quickly runs into WYSIAYG limitations, and the increased power and flexibility of a command-driven formatter like TeX or Unix's troff becomes not just desirable but a necessity.

Compare YAFIYGI.

Last updated: 1999-03-03

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What You See Is What You Get

<jargon>

(WYSIWYG) /wiz'ee-wig/ Describes a user interface for a document preparation system under which changes are represented by displaying a more-or-less accurate image of the way the document will finally appear, e.g. when printed. This is in contrast to one that uses more-or-less obscure commands that do not result in immediate visual feedback.

True WYSIWYG in environments supporting multiple fonts or graphics is rarely-attained; there are variants of this term to express real-world manifestations including WYSIAWYG (What You See Is *Almost* What You Get) and WYSIMOLWYG (What You See Is More or Less What You Get). All these can be mildly derogatory, as they are often used to refer to dumbed-down user-friendly interfaces targeted at non-programmers; a hacker has no fear of obscure commands (compare WYSIAYG). On the other hand, Emacs was one of the very first WYSIWYG editors, replacing (actually, at first overlaying) the extremely obscure, command-based TECO.

See also WIMP.

Last updated: 1999-03-03

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wheel

[slang "big wheel" for a powerful person] A person who has an active wheel bit. "We need to find a wheel to unwedge the hung tape drives." (See wedged).

[Jargon File]

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wheel bit

A privilege bit that allows the possessor to perform some restricted operation on a time-sharing system, such as read or write any file on the system regardless of protections, change or look at any address in the running monitor, crash or reload the system, and kill or create jobs and user accounts. The term was invented on the TENEX operating system, and carried over to TOPS-20, XEROX-IFS, and others. The state of being in a privileged logon is sometimes called "wheel mode". This term entered the Unix culture from TWENEX in the mid-1980s and has been gaining popularity there (especially at university sites). See also root.

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wheel wars

[Stanford University] A period in larval stage during which student hackers hassle each other by attempting to log each other out of the system, delete each other's files, and otherwise wreak havoc, usually at the expense of the lesser users.

[Jargon File]

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When It's Done

<jargon>

A manufacturer's non-answer to questions about product availability. This answer allows the manufacturer to pretend to communicate with their customers without setting themselves any deadlines or revealing how behind schedule the product really is. It also sounds slightly better than "We don't know".

Last updated: 1999-08-22

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Whetstone

<benchmark>

The first major synthetic benchmark program, intended to be representative for numerical (floating-point intensive) programming. It is based on statistics gathered by Brian Wichmann at the National Physical Laboratory in England, using an Algol 60 compiler which translated Algol into instructions for the imaginary Whetstone machine. The compilation system was named after the small town of Whetstone outside the City of Leicester, England, where it was designed.

The later dhrystone benchmark was a pun on Whetstone.

Source code: C, single precision Fortran, double precision Fortran.

["A Synthetic Benchmark", H.J. Curnow and B.A. Wichmann, The Computer Journal, 19,1 (1976), pp. 43-49].

Last updated: 1994-11-14

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Which Stands For Nothing

<language>

(WSFN) A beginner's language with emphasis on graphics produced by Atari in 1983 for Atari home computers. There is also Advanced WSFN.

Last updated: 1996-06-12

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while

while loop

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while loop

<programming>

The loop construct, found in nearly all procedural languages, that executes one or more instructions (the "loop body") repeatedly so long as some condition evaluates to true. In contrast to a repeat loop, the loop body will not be executed at all if the condition is false on entry to the while.

For example, in C, a while loop is written

	while (<expr>) <statement>;

where <expr> is any expression and <statement> is any statement, including a compound statement within braces "..".

A for loop, e.g. in the C language, extends the while loop syntax to collect pre-loop initialisation and loop-end logic into the beginning of the statement.

Perl provides the "until" loop that loops until the loop condition is true.

Last updated: 2009-10-07

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Whirlwind

<computer>

An early computer from the MIT Research Laboratory for Electronics.

Whirlwind used electrostatic memory and ran Laning and Zierler (1953); and ALGEBRAIC, COMPREHENSIVE and SUMMER SESSION (all 1959).

[Details, reference?]

Last updated: 2002-06-03

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White Book

<language, publication>

K&R.

<language, publication, file format>

The fourth book in Adobe Systems, Inc.'s PostScript series, describing the previously-secret format of Type 1 fonts. The other three official guides are known as the Blue Book, the Green Book, and the Red Book.

["Adobe Type 1 Font Format, version 1.1", Addison-Wesley, 1990 (ISBN 0-201-57044-0)].

<hardware, standard>

White book CD-ROM.

[Jargon File]

Last updated: 1996-12-03

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White book CD-ROM

<hardware, standard>

A more open CD-ROM standard than Green Book CD-ROM. All films mastered on CD-ROM after March 1994 use White Book. Like Green Book, it is ISO 9660 compliant, uses mode 2 form 2 addressing and can only be played on a CD-ROM drive which is XA (Extended Architecture) compatible. White book CDs are labelled "Video CD".

Last updated: 1994-11-02

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white box testing

<programming>

(Or "clear", "glass", "open") Software testing approaches that examine the program structure and derive test data from the program logic.

Structural testing is sometimes referred to as clear-box testing since white boxes are considered opaque and do not really permit visibility into the code.

Last updated: 1996-05-10

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White pages

A directory service for locating individuals by name (by analogy with the telephone directory). The Internet supports several databases that contain basic information about users, such as electronic mail addresses, telephone numbers and postal addresses. These databases can be searched to get information about particular individuals. See Knowbot, Netfind, whois, X.500, finger.

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white paper

<publication>

A short treatise whose purpose is to educate industry customers. See, e.g., Architecture Neutral Distribution Format.

Last updated: 1997-10-24

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white box testingWhite pageswhite paperwhite pointwhitespace

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white point

<graphics>

A set of three colour coordinates that define the colour white in image processing applications.

Last updated: 2008-03-10

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White pageswhite paperwhite pointwhitespacewhite trashWHNF

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whitespace

<character>

(From the colour it produces on white paper) Any contiguous sequence of spaces, tabs, carriage returns, and/or line feeds. Whitespace might also possibly include form feed characters. The term is common on Unix.

See also non-printing character.

Last updated: 1996-09-04

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white trash

<abuse, hardware>

A pejorative term for Intel-based microcomputers, used by NeXT users at UK law firm Linklaters & Paines to contrast these machines with their black NeXT boxes.

Last updated: 1996-09-04

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white paperwhite pointwhitespacewhite trashWHNFwhoiswhole number

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WHNF

weak head normal form

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whois

An Internet directory service for looking up names of people on a remote server. Many servers respond to TCP queries on port 43, in a manner roughly analogous to the DDN NIC whois service described in RFC 954. Other sites provide this directory service via the finger protocol or accept queries by electronic mail for directory information. On Unix the client command is

	whois -h server_name person_name

You can also type "telnet server_name 43" and then type the person's name on a separate line. For a list of whois servers, FTP/Gopher: sipb.mit.edu. Or

	whois -h sipb.mit.edu whois-servers

As the above command demonstrates, whois can find information about things other than users, e.g. domains, networks and hosts.

See also finger, X.500, white pages.

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whitespacewhite trashWHNFwhoiswhole numberWhopperWHQL

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whole number

integer

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whitespacewhite trashWHNFwhoiswhole numberWhopperWHQLWIBNIWIC

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Whopper

WarGames

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WHNFwhoiswhole numberWhopperWHQLWIBNIWICWide Area Information Servers

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WHQL

Windows Hardware Quality Labs

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whole numberWhopperWHQLWIBNIWICWide Area Information Servers

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