historical 'nix errors

i like this sort of thing, related; thedailywtf.com (Worse than failure)

man cvs; -snip- No instrument plays itself or writes its own music, you are the piper and the composer. -snip-

mozilla source when first released in 1998
 * nesting deeper and deeper, harder and harder, go, go, oh, OH, OHHHH!!
 * Sorry, got carried away there.
struct lo_FormElementOptionData_struct {
You don't exist. Go away.
Sounds like the computer is having a personal issue. Comes from programs like write, talk, and wall, if your invoking UID doesn't correspond to a valid user (probably due to /etc/passwd being corrupted), or if the session (pseudoterminal, specifically) you're using isn't properly registered in the utmp file (probably because you invoked it in a funny way). One of the few errors here I personally have managed to cause.
lp1 on fire
this is a joke/traditional error message indicating that some sort of error is being reported by your printer, but that the error status isn't a valid one. It may be that you have some kind of i/o or irq conflict - like your printer being off.

in newer kernels, this message reads, "lp1 reported invalid error status (on fire, eh?)"

from Dennis Ritchie: http://cm.bell-labs.com/cm/cs/who/dmr/
In Sixth Edition Unix, the mv command could produce this diagnostic:
values of  will give rise to dom!
It was of course obvious that the typist had interrupted a printout (generating the "!" from the ed editor) and moved up the paper, and that the context must have been something like "varying values of beta will give rise to domain wall movement" or some other fragment of a physically plausible patent application.

Sixth Edition Unix (ca. 1975)
/* You are not expected to understand this */
Was supposed to mean; you will not be tested on this. In fact, it only worked on the PDP11 because its compiler always used the same context-save mechanism; with the interdata compiler, the procedure return code differed depending on which registers were saved.

         * Switch to stack of the new process and set up
         * his segmentation registers.
         * If the new process paused because it was
         * swapped out, set the stack level to the last call
         * to savu(u_ssav).  This means that the return
         * which is executed immediately after the call to aretu
         * actually returns from the last routine which did
         * the savu.
         * You are not expected to understand this.
        if(rp->p_flag&SSWAP) {
                rp->p_flag =& ~SSWAP;
         * The value returned here has many subtle implications.
         * See the newproc comments.

From "The Canonical List of Error Messages" http://www.oraclehumor.com/TextIndex/HumorText/errors.txt

      $ make :== $ sys$system:teco32 make
      $ make love
      Not war?

 *  linux/kernel/fork.c
 *  Copyright (C) 1991, 1992  Linus Torvalds
 * 'fork.c' contains the help-routines for the 'fork' system call
 * (see also system_call.s).
 * Fork is rather simple, once you get the hang of it, but the memory
 * management can be a bitch. See 'mm/mm.c': 'copy_page_tables()'

/* ne.c: A general non-shared-memory NS8390 ethernet driver for linux. */
/* Written 1992-94 by Donald Becker. */
Line 77: /* Ack! People are making PCI ne2000 clones! Oh the horror, the horror... */
Line 94: /* A list of bad clones that we none-the-less recognize. */
Line 298: /* Reset card. Who knows what dain-bramaged state it was left in. */
Line 590: /* This *shouldn't* happen. If it does, it's the last thing you'll see */
Line 658: /* Round the count up for word writes. Do we need to do this?  What effect will an odd byte count 
have on the 8390?  I should check someday. */

Here are some that I found in reading the string-pool from Knuth's TeX:
(That makes 100 errors; please try again.)

You can now delete more, or insert, or whatever.

Sorry, I don't know how to help in this situation. Maybe you should try asking a human?

Sorry, I already gave what help I could...

An error might have occurred before I noticed any problems.

"If all else fails, read the instructions."

This can't happen.

I'm broken. Please show this to someone who can fix.

I can't go on meeting you like this.

One of your faux pas seems to have wounded me deeply...
in fact, I'm barely conscious. Please fix it and try again.

You rang?

A funny symbol that I can't read has just been input.
Continue, and I'll forget that it ever happened.

I suspect you've forgotten a `}', causing me to apply this
control sequence to too much text. How can we recover?
My plan is to forget the whole thing and hope for the best.

I dddon't go any higher than filll.

Dimensions can be in units of em, ex, in, pt, pc,
cm, mm, dd, cc, bp, or sp; but yours is a new one!
I'll assume that you meant to say pt, for printer's points.

If things go amiss in Interactive Data Language, as they frequently do, you get :
   Something Rotten in Denmark, Interp Stack Not ALigned
just before the core dumps.

My own favorite, from one of DEC's less successful versions of the RT11 linker:
<Assorted DEC ID fruitcake> ILLEGAL ERROR
The early versions of TeX had this classic, people at Stanford had printed on T-shirts:
        You can't do that in horizontal mode.
while hacking graphics routines into the Z80 portion of Radio Shack's (Microsoft's) TRS-80 Model 16 M68000 Xenix. The Z80 handled all the of the IO in the machine, somewhere embedded in the code:
    "Shut her down, Scotty, she's sucking mud again!"
VMS, if you attempt to send out e-mail with an invalid header, it will respond with
   "You are a charlatan."
Honeywell's customer service department once got a very concerned message from a confused customer whose MULTICS system had printed:
                 Hodie natus est radici frater
before giving up the ghost. Transalation:
                 Today unto the root is born a brother.
This is a hack on "Hodie natus est filius nobis", or "Today unto us is born a son" from Handel's Messiah.

Bernie Greenberg (Multics hacker) at MIT had inserted the liturgical allusion when it detected the "impossible event" of the filesystem deciding it had two roots.

Larry Wall - from the perl source code ( It's the Magic that counts. )

   break; /* don't do magic till later */ 

   /* And you'll never guess what the dog had */
   /*   in its mouth... */

   stab_val(stab)->str_nok = 1; /* what a wonderful hack! */ 


   /* dbmrefcnt--; */ 
   /* doesn't work, rats */ 


   signal(i, SIG_DFL); /* crunch, crunch, crunch */ 


   #define SIGILL 6 /* blech */ 

   if (rsfp = mypopen("/bin/mail root","w")) { /* heh, heh */ 


   double value; /* or your money back! */ 
   short changed; /* so triple your money back! */

   /* now make a new head in the exact same spot */ 

in the configure script:

   Congratulations. You aren't running Eunice.

   Hmmm...you don't have Berkeley networking in libc.a...
   but the Wollongong group seems to have hacked it in.

   ICK, NOTHING WORKED!!! You may have to diddle the includes.

   $package has manual pages available in source form.
   However, you don't have nroff, so they're probably useless to you.

   Your stdio isn't very std.

  [End of diatribe. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming...] 

on s/foo/bar/eieio : I think it's a new feature. Don't tell anyone it was an accident. :-)

Linux comments

/lib/vsprintf.c:9: * Wirzenius wrote this portably, Torvalds fucked it up :-)

ben handley 

I was playing around with the gen-prime command, and when i got to 10,000
bits i got:
> gpg: Ohhhh jeeee: ... this is a bug (random.c:274:read_pool)


Richard Cunday:
Back in my mainframe development days - after submitting a batch job incorrectly, the following message:

What killed the monkey in "Raiders of the Lost Ark?"

The answer did not appear on the screen but in the source code comments. 
Correct Answer - Bad Date

Norton's Programming Windows book. It was in the default windows procedure, DefWindowProc. 
The author used a goto and the target label was :


Unattributed comments:

    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< WARNING!! >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Fudge mountain ahead.

    * DISCLAIMER: *I* didn't make it this way - I'm just trying to
    * cope with it... :-P
    /* 17Jun95 - Put your finger in the dike and stop
       the leakage */
In Comms code...
    /* The arrogant pig-dog host thinks we will clear the screen */
    /* whenever it tells us to! Ha! */

      * Apparently a call to this functions is a "good" idea.  I
      * don't really understand why...
a comment from the infamous "Hackermann" - probably responsible for
more globals in the code than the rest of the company put together
      * Please do not go around setting  *
      * global varialbles as you please, This caused *
      * the lasst take in an ad list to be set to the *
      * take selected. Resulting in corruption and   *
      * death. The Gods may forgive you but I never will *

This is a cretinous hack (and yes, that makes me a cretin, I guess)

I freely admit I don't know _what_ is going on here...

Favourite bad pointer values in hex:

    * 0xbaadf00d
    * 0xBeefBabe
    * 0xfeedface
    * 0xdeadc0de
    * 0xdeadbeef