Skip to comments.Microsoft's ill-chosen magic constants [BARF ALERT]
Posted on 07/13/2012 8:26:28 PM PDT by re_nortex
Paolo Bonzini noticed something a little awkward in the Linux kernel support code for Microsoft's HyperV virtualisation environment - specifically, that the magic constant passed through to the hypervisor was "0xB16B00B5", or, in English, "BIG BOOBS". It turns out that this isn't an exception - when the code was originally submitted it also contained "0x0B00B135". That one got removed when the Xen support code was ripped out.
At the most basic level it's just straightforward childish humour, and the use of vaguely-English strings in magic hex constants is hardly uncommon. But it's also specifically male childish humour. Puerile sniggering at breasts contributes to the continuing impression that software development is a boys club where girls aren't welcome. It's especially irritating in this case because Azure may depend on this constant, so changing it will break things.
So, full marks, Microsoft. You've managed to make the kernel more offensive to half the population and you've made it awkward for us to rectify it.
Better than the 0xDEADBEEF we used to use when debugging.
Um, the disparity between male and female coders has nothing to do with “sexism.” It has everything to do with the fact that men’s and women’s brains are wired differently.
Are there some great female coders? Sure. But they’re rare. And many of the top male coders have ODD senses of (yes, juvenile) humor.
This is just reality - something we’re apparently not supposed to pay attention to anymore, at least if it offends the PC (not as in personal computer) gods.
OK, time for a nerd test: who here knows what F3GUM was?
Omg are you serious, or??
Honestly man, you are taking a lib position on this one.
It is any companies right or coders right to use perfectly legitimate numbers in sequence.
To the philosophical and factual point of it, the implication is only in YOUR head. It is completely irrelevant if the coder had it in HIS head at one point.
I had to look it up but was not familiar with it offhand. I do recall that 0xABADCAFE (or was it 0xCAFEBABE) is a magic string for a Java class bytecode. And, of course, the MZ signature was used to introduce the program segment in Microsoft executables.
And shame on my bad grammar on that post; sorry on the phone web.
I had a Model II with two 8 inch flopies
You’re probably a little bit too easily offended to work in a male dominated occupation like coding.
You should probably specialize in coding talking baby dolls to ensure such offenses don’t come across your eyes.
Yawn. Somebody suffers from boob envy.
My posting of the article should have been accompanied by the requisite [BARF ALERT] tag and I've asked the Admin Moderator to append that to the title.
I hope we're all right now and that there are no hard feelings. I'm a 70-year old Unix geek from way back (the days of K&R as well as "ken") and, believe me, I hate political correctness in all forms.
Thanks for the post.
"make the kernel more offensive to half the population"?
Most people don't read source code of any kind. Please drop the faux-offended male feminist pretense, and get real. (BTW, my wife just read your post and thinks B00B5 are funny.)
That site needs some FReeping! :-)
Trash talk. ;)
“Boob” has more than one meaning. One of them is “simpleton.” The gals can quite properly razz those gutter minded laddies by calling them boobs.
The CCI mini computer boot monitor would return cafebabe on successful completion of the board diagnostic. It was the name of a nearby coffee shop.
I have a working Model 16A with 512KB on memory on the 68000 CPU board. My board actually has the 68010 CPU. My Xenix OS has a port of the Korn shell from the 1986 source. Microsoft ditched support before adding demand page virtual memory to the 68k kernel.
Just do a recursive grep though the Linux kernel source tree sometime for the seven naughty words. Here's but one example (cleaned up for FR standards):
/* Only Sun can take such nice parts and f**k up the programming interface * like this. Good job guys... */
0xBI6BOOB5 is pretty tame stuff by comparison.
Not me. I've got my own.
Well, OK, TECHNICALLY they're moobs, but I do got 'em...
Offensive? Maybe, to the easily offended. I have known and currently know some very sharp ladies in programming. They have just as irreverent of a sense of humor as their male counterparts.
I was at a “Google employed programmers only” meeting at Google NYC once (and I wasn’t a Google employee! Oh no!). Out of about 250 programmers, I could find only one female. She looked like a garter snake in heat with thirty or so geeks following her around. I suspect there were more females, but they didn’t trigger my “look, it’s a female” brain cells.
We've been at it for about the same time. So we oldtimers will enjoy some musings from the late Dennis Richie, Odd Comments and Strange Doings in Unix. Among other things, he explains the backstory on Stephen Bourne's (he of the Bourne Shell) famous comment in his code:
Grin. I’ve done some things in assembly (meant to be called from C) that are, um “counter-intuitive”... As well as some things with make files or templates in C++ that no-one else understands. Not bragging (ok, maybe a little), not intended as a just-because-I-can display of prowess. Clever hacks were done out of necessity, and involved much study and learning on my part.
Lol, that’s kinda funny. My trash talk comment was in reference to the TRS (trash)80 though. That’s where F3gum comes from, or where I know it from at least, if it existed earlier.
Re_nortex, no worries.
My reaction wasn’t much beyond the rolling of eyes. I didn’t know that you’re position wasn’t in support of it. I just assumed you were making a majority out of a minor. :)
This piece was found on Usenet. This is fiction, not reality. Always remember that this is not true. It's really a joke, right? -- Editor
In an announcement that has stunned the computer industry, Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie and Brian Kernighan admitted that the Unix operating system and C programming language created by them is an elaborate prank kept alive for over 20 years. Speaking at the recent UnixWorld Software Development Forum, Thompson revealed the following:
"In 1969, AT&T had just terminated their work with the GE/Honeywell/AT&T Multics project. Brian and I had started work with an early release of Pascal from Professor Niklaus Wirth's ETH Labs in Switzerland and we were impressed with its elegant simplicity and power. Dennis had just finished reading 'Bored of the Rings', a National Lampoon parody of the Tolkien's 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy. As a lark, we decided to do parodies of the Multics environment and Pascal. Dennis and I were responsible for the operating environment. We looked at Multics and designed the new OS to be as complex and cryptic as possible to maximize casual users' frustration levels, calling it Unix as a parody of Multics, as well as other more risque! allusions. We sold the terse command language to novitiates by telling them that it saved them typing.
Then Dennis and Brian worked on a warped version of Pascal, called 'A'. 'A' looked a lot like Pascal, but elevated the notion of the direct memory address (which Wirth had banished) to the central concept of the "pointer" as an innocuous sounding name for a truly malevolent construct. Brian must be credited with the idea of having absolutely no standard I/O specification: this ensured that at least 50% of the typical commercial program would have to be re-coded when changing hardware platforms.
Brian was also responsible for pitching this lack of I/O as a feature: it allowed us to describe the language as "truly portable". When we found others were actually creating real programs with A, we removed compulsory type-checking on function arguments. Later, we added a notion we called "casting": this allowed the programmer to treat an integer as though it were a 50kb user-defined structure. When we found that some programmers were simply not using pointers, we eliminated the ability to pass structures to functions, enforcing their use in even the simplest applications. We sold this, and many other features, as enhancements to the efficiency of the language. In this way, our prank evolved into B, BCPL, and finally C.
We stopped when we got a clean compile on the following syntax:
At one time, we joked about selling this to the Soviets to set their computer science progress back 20 or more years.
Unfortunately, AT&T and other US corporations actually began using Unix and C. We decided we'd better keep mum, assuming it was just a passing phase. In fact, it's taken US companies over 20 years to develop enough expertise to generate useful applications using this 1960's technological parody. We are impressed with the tenacity of the general Unix and C programmer. In fact, Brian, Dennis and I have never ourselves attempted to write a commercial application in this environment.
We feel really guilty about the chaos, confusion and truly awesome programming projects that have resulted from our silly prank so long ago."
Dennis Ritchie said: "What really tore it (just when ADA was catching on), was that Bjarne Stroustrup caught onto our joke. He extended it to further parody Smalltalk. Like us, he was caught by surprise when nobody laughed. So he added multiple inheritance, virtual base classes, and later ...templates. All to no avail. So we now have compilers that can compile 100,000 lines per second, but need to process header files for 25 minutes before they get to the meat of "Hello, World".
Major Unix and C vendors and customers, including AT&T, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, GTE, NCR, and DEC have refused comment at this time.
Borland International, a leading vendor of object-oriented tools, including the popular Turbo Pascal and Borland C++, stated they had suspected for Windows was originally written in C++. Philippe Kahn said: "After two and a half years programming, and massive programmer burn-outs, we re-coded the whole thing in Turbo Pascal in three months. I think it's fair to say that Turbo Pascal saved our bacon". Another Borland spokesman said that they would continue to enhance their Pascal products and halt further efforts to develop C/C++.
Professor Wirth of the ETH Institute and father of the Pascal, Modula 2, and Oberon structured languages, cryptically said "P.T. Barnum was right." He had no further comments.
All names are Registered Trademarks of their respective companies. This article was found on the USENET - its author could not be determined.
Of course! I figured as much =).
RE: Master/Slave.... I’ve never heard a lib try to bring that argument up, but man if I did they would get such a tongue lashing from me.
Here's the article from Reuters relayed via CNN about PC run amok in Los Angeles: 'Master' and 'slave' computer labels unacceptable, officials say.
Los Angeles officials have asked that manufacturers, suppliers and contractors stop using the terms "master" and "slave" on computer equipment, saying such terms are unacceptable and offensive.
The request -- which has some suppliers furious and others busy re-labeling components -- came after an unidentified worker spotted a videotape machine carrying devices labeled "master" and "slave" and filed a discrimination complaint with the county's Office of Affirmative Action.
Utterly absurd to say the least!