981: Porn Folder

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Porn Folder
Eww, gross, you modified link()? How could you enjoy abusing a filesystem like that?
Title text: Eww, gross, you modified link()? How could you enjoy abusing a filesystem like that?


Cueball seems to have found a porn folder. However, it contains a directory loop, set up by a person off-screen. It is possible to actually do this, but it is widely regarded as a very bad idea, as it can break the system in not-so-obvious ways (mostly by causing seemingly-trivial operations to infinite loop). The implication is that the folder does not need to contain pornographic images because the folder is the porn—its violation of the taboo against looping is something the off-screen character finds erotic.

link() is the Linux system call to create a hard link. In an unmodified Linux kernel, it will not allow directory hard links for this exact reason; the person who set up the porn folder apparently "forced" Linux to comply, with all of the sexual analogies that suggests.


[Cueball sits at a desk, looking at a laptop screen with one hand on his chin.]
Cueball: So I thought I found your porn folder, in calendar/backup/PORN/
Friend (off screen): Don't open that!
[A wider shot of the person looking at the laptop.]
Cueball: But it contains a bunch more folders, filled with more folders, and then... after 20 levels, somehow I'm back at the main folder?
Friend (off screen): It's, uh, well hidden.
[Cueball has turned around in the chair, now with the laptop in his lap.]
Cueball: I think there's no actual porn here.
Cueball: You're just turned on by filesystems.
Friend (off screen): It's a hardlinked directory loop - so taboo!
Cueball: Now I feel dirty sharing a drive with you.

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Its not difficult to do that. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

What? Apply subjective motivations to subjects?

It may easy but you would soon learn not to. I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 12:19, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

Xcopy would be a killer. Jakee308 (talk) 10:59, 16 June 2015 (UTC)

I did this. Way, way back, in version 7 (I said way, way back), the convention of directory entries "." and ".." was only a convention, not enforced. It was possible, and I did, make a directory where ".." did NOT go to the parent directory, but went to a hidden directory. Only I could find the files there.

This ended when system 3's fsck found that directory, and put it in lost+found.

--Keybounce (talk) 07:38, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

You can just make an alias of a file and copy that into itself.

I think this explanation misses the fact that the comic plays on the meaning of the phrase "porn folder," where the usual usage suggests it is the "folder where porn is kept" but the comedic usage is, "the folder itself is porn." It touches on the subversion of expectations, but it is also a play on words.

Just looked back at this and thought of Right Click. Psychoticpotato (talk) 13:22, 16 May 2024 (UTC)