[TUHS] A man easter-egg (gimme gimme gimme)

Charles Anthony charles.unix.pro at gmail.com
Wed Nov 22 08:47:54 AEST 2017

On Tue, Nov 21, 2017 at 1:03 PM, Edouard KLEIN <edouardklein at gmail.com>

> Hi all,
> An easter-egg in the version of man that is installed on the most popular
> Linux distros has recently been discovered after being there for 6 years:
> https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/405783/why-does-
> man-print-gimme-gimme-gimme-at-0030
> It is for example discussed here:
> https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15747313
> It makes man print 'gimme gimme gimme' if called at "Half past twelve", as
> in the ABBA song.
> I check on BSD, but man seems to be a shell script on FreeBSD, so it's
> immune from the easter egg:
> https://github.com/freebsd/freebsd/blob/master/usr.bin/man/man.sh
> Do you have any UNIX easter-egg stories ? Putting some in, or discovering
> one...
> Was this kind of humor tolerated in the professional settings where UNIX
> first circulated, or was it frowned upon ?
I didn't discover this one, but came across documentation of it when
researching the 3b2. (http://ferretronix.com/tech/3b2/):

The AT&T 3b2 (System V R3.2)

lboot prompts you with “Enter path name:”
> enter “magic mode”
> lboot replies “POOF!” “A hollow voice says (directory)”
> Instead of load-and-run, it loads the kernel
> and then breakpoints before entering with the message
> “You are standing inside of a large unexecuted /boot/KERNEL
> The only exit you see is at 0x108000”

It's in the source code: (/usr/src/uts/3b2/boot/lboot/subr.c)

                 * check for secret "magic mode" feature
                if (0 == strcmp(sp,"magic")) {
                    char *mp;

                    if ((mp=strtok((char*)NULL,"\r\n\t ")) == NULL || 0 !=

                    MagicMode = TRUE;

                    if ((mp=strtok((char*)NULL,"\r\n\t ")) != NULL)
                        if (*mp == '/')

                        strcat(strcpy(slash_boot,"/"), mp);

                        printf("   A hollow voice says \"%s\".",


-- Charles
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