Welcome to the Jargon File

This is the Jargon File, a comprehensive compendium of hacker slang illuminating many aspects of hackish tradition, folklore, and humor.

This document (the Jargon File) is in the public domain, to be freely used, shared, and modified. There are (by intention) no legal restraints on what you can do with it, but there are traditions about its proper use to which many hackers are quite strongly attached. Please extend the courtesy of proper citation when you quote the File, ideally with a version number, as it will change and grow over time. (Examples of appropriate citation form: Jargon File 4.4.7 or The on-line hacker Jargon File, version 4.4.7, 29 Dec 2003 .)

The Jargon File is a common heritage of the hacker culture. Over the years a number of individuals have volunteered considerable time to maintaining the File and been recognized by the net at large as editors of it. Editorial responsibilities include: to collate contributions and suggestions from others; to seek out corroborating information; to cross-reference related entries; to keep the file in a consistent format; and to announce and distribute updated versions periodically. Current volunteer editors include:

Eric Raymond

Although there is no requirement that you do so, it is considered good form to check with an editor before quoting the File in a published work or commercial product. We may have additional information that would be helpful to you and can assist you in framing your quote to reflect not only the letter of the File but its spirit as well.

All contributions and suggestions about this file sent to a volunteer editor are gratefully received and will be regarded, unless otherwise labelled, as freely given donations for possible use as part of this public-domain file.

From time to time a snapshot of this file has been polished, edited, and formatted for commercial publication with the cooperation of the volunteer editors and the hacker community at large. If you wish to have a bound paper copy of this file, you may find it convenient to purchase one of these. They often contain additional material not found in on-line versions. The three authorized editions so far are described in the Revision History section; there may be more in the future.

The Jargon File's online rendition uses an unusually large number of special characters. This test page lists them so you can check what your browser does with each one.

greek character alpha
greek character kappa
greek character lambda
greek character Lambda
greek character nu
greek character omicron
greek character pi
pound sterling
left angle bracket
right angle bracket
ae ligature
German sharp-s sign
similarity sign
empty set (used for APL null)
micro quantifier sign
right arrow
horizontal double arrow
trademark symbol
registered-trademark symbol
acute accent
medial dot

We normally test with the latest build of Mozilla. If some of the special characters above look wrong, your browser has bugs in its standards-conformance and you should replace it.