Talk:1692: Man Page

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search

I do not entirely understand how wikis work; however, I have attempted to add a transcript. I apologize if anything breaks. I also apologize if this is not how I should be apologizing.

In time, perhaps with counseling, I feel confident we will learn to forgive you. -- Brettpeirce (talk) 14:19, 27 June 2016 (UTC) 04:27, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

The Pope flag is referencing the time of the Avignon Papacy -- 04:56, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

Would have frickin' loved Randall if he inserted a reference to Pope of Dope here. :D Todor (talk) 08:17, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

OK, -e -h -v doesn't seem to work, it keeps halting at an input line!

Also, -p "AVIGNON" only works if I specify -D -I, -O, or -jk.

Why isn't -x documented on this man page? -x seems to do something but I'm not sure what the value of it is.

-y just returns "CHROMOSOME MISMATCH".

-a -e -f -n -o -r -S works if I specify -g, but -R starts to return CloudFlare errors after the first few million sites.

-v -d seems to make debug.exe speak out loud, but eventually it just starts spouting seemingly random numbers, unless I use -q. Is this desired behavior, or a bug? (talk)  (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

(-jk | off) 20:19, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

The horrible thing about this comic is that somebody is sure to have implemented this program by the end of the day... (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Found one on Github: . It has a man page file, but the program itself just outputs "bleep blerp" and doesn't implement any of the flags (yet?). 08:05, 10 June 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for linking my repo! I quickly drafted up the man page when the comic was released, and decided to use this project as an opportunity to become more familiar with Rust. I'll be gradually adding functionality to meet the "spec" of the man page. 06:38, 14 June 2016 (UTC)

"Behavior Not Defined" might be a reference to undefined behavior, where a program is allowed to do anything including make demons fly out your nose: 06:48, 10 June 2016 (UTC) 06:58, 10 June 2016 (UTC) Søren Mors

I thought Ansel was a deliberate misspelling of ANSI, the most common 8 bit codepage. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

The commit "Revision as of 07:08, 10 June 2016" reverted an IMO good explanation for the debug option with a bad one. Consider changing it back. Todor (talk) 07:20, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

I agree. The bad explanation also mixed up piping with redirection -- 07:41, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

I don't think `blerp -a -d -t -p "AVIGNON"` is a valid call to blerp, because the syntax line syntax is utterly off. For example, the first line has an unclosed open [, whereas the second line – in addition to having the corresponding unmatched ] – plays with the fact that even though {} is usually used to list a set of required items, {} is also how `find` (which might do something similar to blerp, and is in fact mentioned in -v) denotes its results when passed to an exec. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Command line options do not normally use n-dashes; they use hyphens. Another problem with this option is that n-dashes and m-dashes cannot usually be displayed properly in the fixed-width fonts commonly used for command line terminals. The usual custom is to use two hyphens to represent a dash (which for proportional font display will often be converted to either an n-dash or m-dash).

In groff (GNU troff, the language in which man pages are written) the code for an m-dash is \(em. It will display as either two hyphens "--" or as an actual m-dash "" depending on the character set specified in the locale environment variables. Locoluis (talk) 17:17, 10 June 2016 (UTC)
Many commands use a double dash "--" to specify the end of the options. In "ls -a" the "-a" is an option. In "ls -- -a" the "-a" is the name of the file.-- 16:00, 11 June 2016 (UTC)

While "check whether input halts" clearly alludes to the halting problem, it may not actually be impossible, depending on what blerp actually does and what sort of input it accepts. (It says nothing about actually reporting the result, and it makes no guarantees that it will itself halt.)

PhantomLimbic (talk) 07:30, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

Indeed. Turing's proof for the halting theorem says that there is no algorithm that allows a Turing machine to determine whether any possible program/input combination will halt. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that it's impossible to develop an algorithm that determines whether a particular, fixed program will halt on an arbitrary input. 08:14, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

Currently, there is no mention of the unmatched square brackets in the synopsis, or unmatched parenthesis in the title text. Presumably a reference to XKCD comic 859. 07:51, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

Attack Mode might be a reference to the Yu-Gi-Oh Trading Card Game 08:23, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

Attack mode could also be a pun on "Attract Mode", a demo mode of arcade machines which is meant to attract players. 09:39, 15 June 2016 (UTC)

In the description of -b the computer (Named "Hex") from discworld uses ants not bees. Ref: 09:13, 10 June 2016 (UTC)Bluewhelk

Hmm. Reading the wiki article further Hex uses a beehive for long term storage! My bad 09:20, 10 June 2016 (UTC)Bluewhelk

"Or best offer" doesn't need to reference a financial offer, it may also mean that anyone offering to reuse the article with an alternative license is allowed to do so. Attack Mode and Stealth Mode seem to me to be references to computer viruses. Stealth Mode is also an option in some applications that can hide their presence when run, often because of malicious behavior, such as remote access tools, keyloggers, etc. Piping is not only used in Unix, it is also common in MS-DOS. Opposite Day has a good explanation on Wikipedia. Literal quote from Wikipedia: "Once Opposite Day is declared, statements mean the opposite of what they usually mean.". -- 11:17, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

Is there any evidence that Opposite Day may refer to Cyanide & Happiness? Opposite Day is a fairly well-known concept (at least from what I know growing up in the U.S.), and I don't see any direct connections to the specific C&H video short. I think that speculation should be removed. Sayno2quat (talk) 14:33, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

I could be wrong, but I think the program is also "simulating" a man (a play with the words because it's a man page). If you think like that a lot more commands makes sense (especially, -D, -e, -f, -g, -jk, -R, -u). Just a penny for a thought. -- 11:52, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

If someone wants a history of the useragent string (possibly a reference for that "citation needed"), then might be of interest. --Draco18s (talk) 16:12, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

The -n option might be a reference to echo, where it is an option often used but which does not work on all systems.
Am I the only one to see the “k” capitalized in -jK?
Ltrlg (talk) 18:55, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

I interpreted "CHECK WHETHER INPUT HALTS" as simply determining whether the input was a finite string. (while at the same time referencing the halting problem) -- 20:22, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

I think that "suppress bees" probably indicates a smoke situation, a situation where the magic smoke is let out of the computer, such as halt-catch-fire. Smoke is the way to suppress bees. 20:24, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

What does "BSD 4(2)" mean? -- 20:54, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

blerp -v | blerp -ha Mikemk (talk) 21:28, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

The word "bug" doesn't actually come from an insect; see the Etymology section of 04:37, 11 June 2016 (UTC)

Some remarks to the current explanation:

- I think the description is more specific than suggested. It is true that command-line programs regularly read stdin and output something to stdout, but I would categorize only some of them grep/sed/awk/sort/... as filter in the narrower sense. Also that it can access remote files (URL syntax) is a clue
- In the syntax we have args, option, options, and flags
- the environment variables are never described
- attack mode could refer to a network attack, e.g. trying to break into protected servers, or not just filtering the information, but also using it in a damaging way
- suppress bees hints that for normal operation bees are used, something you would not expect from a typical command line program
- the em dashes are probably used from there on on the command line (right of this option)
- piping output to the MS-DOS debug.exe can be used for entering small assembly programs (including saving them typically as .com command), changing memory contents or accessing I/O ports. Normally it is used interactively. In a pipe setup it enhances the abilities of a text processing filter to do some enhanced actions on the target computer
- execute something, similar to the find program which can execute an external program per match; could also mean a specified algorithm and refer to halting check; in any case "something" is quite vague for a man page
- use google: either for input (e.g. read URLs by searching for ARG and getting the first found webpage) or some special Google API; possibly Google is so powerful, it can replace some of the functionality of the program. Just use Google
- Check whether input halts hints that the input processing including algorithm execution is so complex that it can run into an infinite loop, but easy enough to be not yet Turing complete or it is and -h is the joke; or some input never halts, e.g. /dev/random, or it refers to the robot theory, e.g. whether the attacked victim halts
- ignore case probably refers to the actual input files instead of to the command line
- overwrite would be funny with speech output
- the true pope is seemingly important fir filtering. Could refer to important faith settings for other programs, e.g. which editor to use vim/emacs or it us important for knowledge processing
- randomize arguments is good for some test procedures
- as mentioned in the explanation the copyright refers to the man page, not the program, here the explanation is inconsistent in the current revision

Sebastian -- 08:55, 11 June 2016 (UTC)

With reference to the See Also, the multiple blerps are due to different sections, see 13:08, 11 June 2016 (UTC)

Could "supress bees" reference to "debian-main"? 19:20, 11 June 2016 (UTC)

Does the unclosed paren in the title text bother anyone else? 06:02, 12 June 2016 (UTC)

Not me, but someone somewhere... - 08:41, 12 June 2016 (UTC)

Is the newspaper on this What-If [1] relevant? - 08:41, 12 June 2016 (UTC)

I've never put anything on this site, but I feel it's worth mentioning that lerp (which stands for linear interpolation) is a thing and it sounds like blerp. 02:31, 13 June 2016 (UTC)

1. The NAME section is missing the one-line description that is necessary for the whatis and apropos commands. 2. "Set version number" could be used to set the version number in the output files or provide compatibility output. 02:38, 13 June 2016 (UTC)

I thought one of the main features of licences like the GPL and BSD was that they weren't revocable (unless you break the licence terms)? Oh, and someone else already mentioned it, but computer bugs aren't called "bugs" because of insects flying into them. The reason there's that famous bug in a logbook? That's because "bug" already existed as a term for a malfunction, and the operator who kept that logbook found it funny that a bug was caused by an actual bug. 00:42, 14 June 2016 (UTC)

The explanation about ANSEL is largely incorrect. ANSEL is backward compatible with 7-bit ASCII, which would make the "blerp" default compatible with most english-language inputs. Sysin (talk) 11:00, 15 June 2016 (UTC)

The capital flags D, I, O, R, S, U, V, have exactly one English anagram found: "DO VIRUS". (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Missing a Velociraptor option. -VR maybe? 01:03, 16 June 2016 (UTC)

Personal tools


It seems you are using noscript, which is stopping our project wonderful ads from working. Explain xkcd uses ads to pay for bandwidth, and we manually approve all our advertisers, and our ads are restricted to unobtrusive images and slow animated GIFs. If you found this site helpful, please consider whitelisting us.

Want to advertise with us, or donate to us with Paypal?