Linked by Amjith Ramanujam on Sat 2nd Aug 2008 14:28 UTC
Humor "Once upon a time there was a printer who lived in the woods. He was a lonely printer, because nobody knew how to configure him. He hoped and hoped for someone to play with." That is an excerpt from the Readme file for gnome-cups-manager. There are more snippets from different programs that might pique your interest.
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Comment by moleskine
by moleskine on Sat 2nd Aug 2008 15:28 UTC
moleskine
Member since:
2005-11-05

I rather like this, Geoffrey Chaucer's take on a README. I don't think he wrote "Ye Nerde's Tale", so this couldn't really be a README.Debian. But it's as true today as it was then and would make a good intro to Scribus, LaTex, etc.

Go, little book, go, little myn tragedye,
Ther God thy makere yet, er that he dye,
So sende might to make in some comedye!
But little book, no making thou n'envie,
But subgit be to alle poesye;
And kiss the steppes, whereas thou seest pace
Virgile, Ovide, Omer, Lucan, Stace.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by moleskine
by null_pointer_us on Sat 2nd Aug 2008 17:23 UTC in reply to "Comment by moleskine"
null_pointer_us Member since:
2005-08-19

FWIW, it could also be used to make a compelling case against people who consider good spelling a luxury. :p

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by moleskine
by sbergman27 on Sat 2nd Aug 2008 17:29 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by moleskine"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

FWIW, it could also be used to make a compelling case against people who consider good spelling a luxury. :p

As Middle-English goes, that was actually pretty readable.

Three cheers for Heroic Couplets and Iambic Pentameter.

Edited 2008-08-02 17:35 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by moleskine
by null_pointer_us on Sat 2nd Aug 2008 20:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by moleskine"
null_pointer_us Member since:
2005-08-19

Yes, I'm aware of that quotation's age.

I wasn't poking fun at Middle English; I was poking fun at modern people who do not care about proper spelling with all the references we have.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Comment by moleskine
by sbergman27 on Sun 3rd Aug 2008 03:20 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by moleskine"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

I was poking fun at modern people who do not care about proper spelling with all the references we have.

I'm a big believer in a shift towards phonetic spelling. While I am still pedantic enough to type the word "losing", "loosing" actually makes more sense as a correct spelling. As English becomes even more international, I suspect that we are going to see some normalization and sensibility slapped into it, as people from disparate backgrounds make perfectly reasonable assumptions about how to say or spell this or that. The intuitive way should (normally) be the correct way.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Comment by moleskine
by MamiyaOtaru on Sun 3rd Aug 2008 05:37 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by moleskine"
MamiyaOtaru Member since:
2005-11-11

Follow that through and spell the opposite of "win" as "loos". Or "looz" perhaps since "loos" would end with an s sound. Or maybe I am biased about that last point since I am aware of the existence of the word "loose" (opposite of tight).

Anyway, if we let the internet guide spelling reform, we can expect rapid introduction of "turrent" (turret), "retarted", "genious", "hampster" and so forth. Somehow that seems a more terrifying possibility than that presented in "Meihem in ce Klasrum"* or it's more recent relative "Ze drem vil finali kum tru"** ;)

* http://members.aol.com/VoxVideus/meihem.html
** http://ashvital.freeservers.com/ze_dream.htm

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: Comment by moleskine
by sbergman27 on Sun 3rd Aug 2008 06:29 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by moleskine"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Follow that through and spell the opposite of "win" as "loos". Or "looz"

Too much ambiguity throughout our language. From the character set, through the spelling, through the pronunciation.

Anyway, if we let the internet guide spelling reform, we can expect...

Some sort of standardizing body is certainly necessary. I believe that we need to be more concerned about consistency. We need to stop correcting people when they say "radiuses" when we, too pedantically, think they should say radii. Some people will actually try to correct one for saying "octopuses" saying that the correct form is octopi. And, of course they (as smart as they think they are) are "wrong" too. The standard form is "octopods". Go figure. As far as I am concerned, we should settle upon "octopuses". Out with the old and in with the new. Consistency would benefit our de facto world language greatly. Let us not pedantically cling to the past in some vain effort to demonstrate how well educated we are.

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Comment by moleskine
by sorpigal on Mon 4th Aug 2008 12:58 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by moleskine"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

Pluralization in English is a true art. Sometimes it matters; say Gooses all you like when you mean Geese, who will fail to understand? But if you try Persons when you mean People you may introduce some confusion.

Some sort of standardizing body is certainly necessary. I believe that we need to be more concerned about consistency.


Unfortunately standardizing languages is impossible. Languages, living languages anyway, are always what the speakers say they are--literally--and more specifically what the speakers agree on. You'd be hard pressed to force standard usage on enough people to make a difference.

Dictionaries have helped a lot by constraining the variations in spelling. This is both good and bad: Good because the problem didn't get worse, bad because it didn't get much better. Some words which might have evolved into spellings much more phonetic and logical now don't because it would be 'incorrect'--people have this idea that the dictionary describes the truth, not realizing that it merely documents what the rest of us are doing.

It might be possible to convene some kind of international standards organization to codify some kind of "standard English" and it might be possible to see it *formally* adopted in some places. I am extremely dubious about the probability that it would actually be *used*--think about Esperanto here. Even if officially required in some places I dare say few average people would use the standard form for at least a generation unless forced to do so.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Comment by moleskine
by MamiyaOtaru on Wed 6th Aug 2008 18:06 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by moleskine"
MamiyaOtaru Member since:
2005-11-11

We need to stop correcting people when they say "radiuses" when we, too pedantically, think they should say radii. Some people will actually try to correct one for saying "octopuses" saying that the correct form is octopi. And, of course they (as smart as they think they are) are "wrong" too. The standard form is "octopods". Go figure

You are illustrating your point brilliantly. It would be "octopodes" ;) But I'm in partial agreement with your thoughts on pluralizing. I'm all for octopuses, viruses (in latin, there was no plural for "virus") etc. If people don't know Latin (I don't) it should always be safe and acceptable to pluralize something the English way.

On the other hand I don't mind people using radii, geese, moose, fish etc and see no reason nor possibility for things like that to be mandated away.

Also, English is hardly alone with confusing plurals (try figuring out plurals in German for instance http://german.about.com/library/blplural01.htm ), so it's a little unreasonable to expect English to be perfectly sensible when it comes to plurals. Of course, if your point is that English, as a second language for so many people, should do better and be more accommodating, I can't object too strongly.

For the most part I'm happy to let strange native English plurals fade slowly, but like you I'd much prefer non-English words be pluralized the English way (with an "s") than be pluralized incorrectly in any language. And certainly there should be no stigma attached to pluralizing things with an "s". If the language changes that way by itself, so be it. And in the end, that's what will happen and it will take far better than it would if it was somehow legislated.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by moleskine
by tyrione on Sun 3rd Aug 2008 06:17 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by moleskine"
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

I'd go with lewzing if we're going strictly on sound.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by moleskine
by righard on Sun 3rd Aug 2008 11:29 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by moleskine"
righard Member since:
2007-12-26

But yoo can't make a fonettic spelling with inglish beecås evreebadee pronaunces wirds differntlee.

Bat yoo cän't maka a fonettic spelling wit inglish bcoss evreebodee prenaunses whirds diffrntlee.

Edited 2008-08-03 11:31 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: Comment by moleskine
by helf on Sun 3rd Aug 2008 22:51 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by moleskine"
helf Member since:
2005-07-06

lol. Nice.

"Hooked on Phonics" is what has destroyed English ;) My brother used it growing up and can't spell for shit.

And, as you so elegantly demonstrated, a completely phonetic language doesn't work when you have local variants in enunciations. Everyone pronounces words differently. If you started off phonetic, it'd eventually evolve into separate, but related, languages. It's a circle. This is exactly what has happened time and time again... throughout history.

heck, I can barely make out what people are saying in the valley below me, as it is...

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by moleskine
by sorpigal on Mon 4th Aug 2008 12:45 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by moleskine"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

It's tempting to say that loose will become more correct over time, as it is more intuitive, but the flaws in English are too extensive for simple corrections like that. A better alternative would be loos, to avoid hitting an existing word, or, better, luz, as this eliminates the double-letter problem (namely, sometimes--bot not always--we pronounce letters differently when they are next to other letters).

The major flaw in English is simple to describe and hard to fix: too many sounds and not enough letters!

At the moment to pronounce a word in English you must know (at a minimum) the general rules of pronunciation, the variations on those rules and the language of origin for the word or word root. Additionally you need to simply memorize several insane letter formations which are exceptions to any rule or rule variations. It's enough to drive even a native speaker mad.

Resolving this problem deliberately breaks the language and makes it virtually unrecognizable without retraining. Fixing it evolutionarily by slow mutations like lose->loose (as in your example) will never completely solve the problem and will mostly just serve to increase overall confusion, especially when speakers of the new English try to read old documents.

The problem really cannot be solved without giving up something somewhere. It's just a question of what we loos and where we luz it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by moleskine
by Soulbender on Mon 4th Aug 2008 15:13 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by moleskine"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

U r sux!

Reply Score: 2

hmm...
by hobgoblin on Sat 2nd Aug 2008 15:52 UTC
hobgoblin
Member since:
2005-07-06

are there not a haiku hiding in the linux source comments?

Reply Score: 1

RE: hmm...
by chemical_scum on Sat 2nd Aug 2008 23:45 UTC in reply to "hmm..."
chemical_scum Member since:
2005-11-02

are there not a haiku hiding in the Haiku source comments?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: hmm...
by hobgoblin on Sun 3rd Aug 2008 00:36 UTC in reply to "RE: hmm..."
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

that i would not know. but if so, and if its about haiku, would that make it a recursive haiku?

the mind boggles...

Edited 2008-08-03 00:47 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Comment by ShadesFox
by ShadesFox on Sat 2nd Aug 2008 16:02 UTC
ShadesFox
Member since:
2006-10-01

The WindowMaker readme has a little Dave Berry bit at the top.

http://fts.ifac.cnr.it/cgi-bin/dwww?type=file&location=/usr/share/d...

Reply Score: 3

NetBSD
by strim on Sat 2nd Aug 2008 16:26 UTC
strim
Member since:
2008-07-01

NetBSD manuals sometimes are funny. For example:

"crime does not pay"
from sgimips/crime(4)

"You can tune a file system, but you can't tune a fish." from tunefs(8)

"Data loss is possible on busy systems with baud rates greater than 300." from amiga/ser(4)

"Bugs? You crazy, man?!?" from robots(6), BUGS section

"Currently it does not support running X. It can however coexist well enough with grf0 to make possible running X the old way, but be warned, you cannot switch screens while in X and when quitting it, it seems to hang. Switching a screen then will bring up the text console. As always, we apologise for the inconvenience." from amiga/amidisplaycc(4)

There is certainly more, but I don't remember them now...

Reply Score: 5

RE: NetBSD
by hobgoblin on Sun 3rd Aug 2008 00:46 UTC in reply to "NetBSD"
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

heh, stuff like this always makes me think of that classical unix printer error: "printer on fire".

its a very old error message in computing terms, from when printers used ink ribbons and write heads.

basically the heads where sometimes cleaned in alcohol or something similar.

so, if you take a newly cleaned write head, stick it next to a ream of paper, and then have the printer jam.

this would then all heat up, and one could very well guess what would happen next.

so the programmers put in code that would put those very words on screen if the printer port sent a signal that would indicate a jammed paper.

then it was up to the sysadmin if he would grab the fire extinguisher, or some frozen hot dogs for the bonfire ;)

that, and order up a new printer...

Edited 2008-08-03 00:46 UTC

Reply Score: 4

wannabe geek
Member since:
2006-09-27

This reminds me of the best acknowledgements section in a manual I've ever read:

http://www.scsh.net/docu/html/man.html

;)

Reply Score: 9

VenomousGecko Member since:
2005-07-06

Oh man. Thank you for that link. I laughed out loud through that whole thing. Priceless.

Reply Score: 1

just got to ask..
by Boldie on Sat 2nd Aug 2008 21:52 UTC
Boldie
Member since:
2007-03-26

...."Have you mooed today?"...

Reply Score: 2

Rip a hole in the universe
by Moredhas on Sun 3rd Aug 2008 02:48 UTC
Moredhas
Member since:
2008-04-10

I once bought a battery charger that said, in it's little fold-out manual, something along the lines of "do not insert batteries upside down, as this will create a reverse polarity field which will rip a hole in the space-time continuum and destroy the universe". A funny bit of unscientific crap, but it did make me think twice about which way I'd put the batteries ;)

Reply Score: 2