Jason (jcreed) wrote,

A brief story, in which I am eventually, incrementally more enlightened about unix:

Sometimes, I read "reddit". I sometimes like to think of myself someone who is above reading, say, slashdot and fark*, but let's be honest, reddit is pretty much the same thing with fewer pictures**, a shorter attention span, and — this is the important bit — a different name.


In order to go to http://reddit.com/, like any other website I go to regularly, I just hit control-L, type in the first few characters, tab-complete, hit enter. Usually all in one smooth motion. This one time my mouse happened to not be over firefox itself, but rather the xterm in which I had started firefox, so it didn't go. No big deal, moved the mouse back, typed it again, and I was soon contentedly reading dumb news stories for a little while.

Later, I decided enough was enough and closed the browser. But:

No bash prompt. That's funny. Hit control-C. I see:






Wait Wait I Know This One, says the parts of my basal nervous system that are devoted to Computer Facts. I type q.


Okay, great, I figured it out. But what the eff, who put me in ed in the first place? Oh... wait.

bash-2.05b$ man red

And it turns out, red is some crazy restricted version of ed meant for scripting or something. Which had accidentally got buffered as a command when I had tried to go to reddit. Why do we still have these things? I do not know.

(*translation: someone who used to regularly and shamelessly read both of them. **Pictures on the acutal site. This is not counting the pictures linked to as ostensible "news" "stories", which constitute about 30% of stuff on the main page, the other 70% being videos. Or stories about Ron Paul. Or videos about Ron Paul discussing how the most recent XKCD proves that giuliani sucks.)
Tags: computers

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