Subject: errno(2) codes

The following was sent to me by a friend who was working at HP during the summer. I am posting it here for the people who missed the USENIX conference and who don't get the HP newsgroups.

At the USENIX Association conference in Atlanta recently a contest was held to invent the most humorous/bizarre/etc UN*X error message of the errno(2) ‘EERROR’ type. This contest had been tried at an earlier European Users Group meeting, where the winning entry was:

ENOTOBACCO Read on an empty pipe

You get the idea. A partial [alphabetized] list of ‘top(?)’ entries from Atlanta [and from several readers of hp.unix] follows; if your pun/wierdness tolerance is low, you may want to abandon ship:

EBEFOREI Invalid syntax
ECHERNOBYL Core dumped
ECRAY Program exited before being run
EDINGDONG The daemon is dead
EFLAT System needs tuning
EGEEK Program written by inept Frat member
EIEIO Here-a-bug, there-a-bug, …
EIUD Missing period
ELECTROLUX Your code could stand to be cleaned up
EMILYPOST Wrong fork
END.ARMS.CONTROL Silo overflow
ENOHORSE Mount failed
ENONSEQUETOR C program not derived from main(){printf("Hello, world");}
EWATERGATE Extended tape gap
EWOK Aliens sighted
EWOK Your code appears to have been stir-fried
EWOULDBNICE The feature you want has not been implemented yet

And finally, a sort-of ‘period piece’:

EMR.ED A host is a host,
From coast to coast
And nobody talks to a host that's close,
Unless the host that isn't close
Is busy, hung, or dead.

I would also like this new signal to be supported:

SIGNUKE Nuclear event occurred (cannot be caught or ignored :-)

--Naim Abdullah
  Dept. of EECS,
  Northwestern University,

This joke is also available in plain text.

Paul Hardy who was at the conference remembered these entries:

EEEEK Mouse on floor
EIEBGENER Wrong operating system
ENODICE Error in rand
ECREAT Missing vowel

Other humor in the GNU Humor Collection.


The joke shared by Naim Abdullah was obtained from the FSF's email archives of the GNU Project.

The Free Software Foundation claims no copyright on this joke.