h [from SF fandom] infix. A method of `marking' common words, i.e., calling attention to the fact that they are being used in a nonstandard, ironic, or humorous way. Originated in the fannish catchphrase "Bheer is the One True Ghod!" from decades ago. H-infix marking of `Ghod' and other words spread into the 1960s counterculture via underground comix, and into early hackerdom either from the counterculture or from SF fandom (the three overlapped heavily at the time). More recently, the h infix has become an expected feature of benchmark names (Dhrystone, Rhealstone, etc.); this is prob. patterning on the original Whetstone (the name of a laboratory) but influenced by the fannish/counterculture h infix.
ha ha only serious [from SF fandom, orig. as mutation of HHOK, `Ha Ha Only Kidding'] A phrase (often seen abbreviated as HHOS) that aptly captures the flavor of much hacker discourse. Applied especially to parodies, absurdities, and ironic jokes that are both intended and perceived to contain a possibly disquieting amount of truth, or truths that are constructed on in-joke and self-parody. This lexicon contains many examples of ha-ha-only-serious in both form and content. Indeed, the entirety of hacker culture is often perceived as ha-ha-only-serious by hackers themselves; to take it either too lightly or too seriously marks a person as an outsider, a wannabee, or in larval stage. For further enlightenment on this subject, consult any Zen master. See also Humor, Hacker, and AI Koans.
Constructions on this term abound. They include `happy hacking' (a farewell), `how's hacking?' (a friendly greeting among hackers) and `hack, hack' (a fairly content-free but friendly comment, often used as a temporary farewell). For more on this totipotent term see "The Meaning Of `Hack'". See also neat hack, real hack.
hack attack [poss. by analogy with `Big Mac Attack' from ads for the McDonald's fast-food chain; the variant `big hack attack' is reported] n. Nearly synonymous with hacking run, though the latter more strongly implies an all-nighter.
hack mode n.
Being yanked out of hack mode (see priority interrupt) may be experienced as a physical shock, and the sensation of being in hack mode is more than a little habituating. The intensity of this experience is probably by itself sufficient explanation for the existence of hackers, and explains why many resist being promoted out of positions where they can code. See also cyberspace (sense 2).
Some aspects of hackish etiquette will appear quite odd to an observer unaware of the high value placed on hack mode. For example, if someone appears at your door, it is perfectly okay to hold up a hand (without turning one's eyes away from the screen) to avoid being interrupted. One may read, type, and interact with the computer for quite some time before further acknowledging the other's presence (of course, he or she is reciprocally free to leave without a word). The understanding is that you might be in hack mode with a lot of delicate state (sense 2) in your head, and you dare not swap that context out until you have reached a good point to pause. See also juggling eggs.
hack on vt. To hack; implies that the subject is some pre-existing hunk of code that one is evolving, as opposed to something one might hack up.
hack together vt. To throw something together so it will work. Unlike `kluge together' or cruft together, this does not necessarily have negative connotations.
hack up vt. To hack, but generally implies that the result is a hack in sense 1 (a quick hack). Contrast this with hack on. To `hack up on' implies a quick-and-dirty modification to an existing system. Contrast hacked up; compare kluge up, monkey up, cruft together.
hack value n. Often adduced as the reason or motivation for expending effort toward a seemingly useless goal, the point being that the accomplished goal is a hack. For example, MacLISP had features for reading and printing Roman numerals, which were installed purely for hack value. See display hack for one method of computing hack value, but this cannot really be explained, only experienced. As Louis Armstrong once said when asked to explain jazz: "Man, if you gotta ask you'll never know." (Feminists please note Fats Waller's explanation of rhythm: "Lady, if you got to ask you ain't got it.")
hacked off [analogous to `pissed off'] adj. Said of system administrators who have become annoyed, upset, or touchy owing to suspicions that their sites have been or are going to be victimized by crackers, or used for inappropriate, technically illegal, or even overtly criminal activities. For example, having unreadable files in your home directory called `worm', `lockpick', or `goroot' would probably be an effective (as well as impressively obvious and stupid) way to get your sysadmin hacked off at you.
hacked up adj. Sufficiently patched, kluged, and tweaked that the surgical scars are beginning to crowd out normal tissue (compare critical mass). Not all programs that are hacked become `hacked up'; if modifications are done with some eye to coherence and continued maintainability, the software may emerge better for the experience. Contrast hack up.
hacker [originally, someone who makes furniture with an axe] n.
The term `hacker' also tends to connote membership in the global community defined by the net (see network, the and Internet Address). It also implies that the person described is seen to subscribe to some version of the hacker ethic (see hacker ethic, the.
It is better to be described as a hacker by others than to describe oneself that way. Hackers consider themselves something of an elite (a meritocracy based on ability), though one to which new members are gladly welcome. There is thus a certain ego satisfaction to be had in identifying yourself as a hacker (but if you claim to be one and are not, you'll quickly be labeled bogus). See also wannabee.
hacker ethic, the n.
Both of these normative ethical principles are widely, but by no means universally, accepted among hackers. Most hackers subscribe to the hacker ethic in sense 1, and many act on it by writing and giving away free software. A few go further and assert that *all* information should be free and *any* proprietary control of it is bad; this is the philosophy behind the GNU project.
Sense 2 is more controversial: some people consider the act of cracking itself to be unethical, like breaking and entering. But the belief that `ethical' cracking excludes destruction at least moderates the behavior of people who see themselves as `benign' crackers (see also samurai). On this view, it may be one of the highest forms of hackerly courtesy to (a) break into a system, and then (b) explain to the sysop, preferably by email from a superuser account, exactly how it was done and how the hole can be plugged --- acting as an unpaid (and unsolicited) tiger team.
The most reliable manifestation of either version of the hacker ethic is that almost all hackers are actively willing to share technical tricks, software, and (where possible) computing resources with other hackers. Huge cooperative networks such as USENET, FidoNet and Internet (see Internet Address) can function without central control because of this trait; they both rely on and reinforce a sense of community that may be hackerdom's most valuable intangible asset.
hacking run [analogy with `bombing run' or `speed run'] n. A hack session extended long outside normal working times, especially one longer than 12 hours. May cause you to `change phase the hard way' (see phase).
Hacking X for Y [ITS] n. Ritual phrasing of part of the information which ITS made publicly available about each user. This information (the INQUIR record) was a sort of form in which the user could fill out various fields. On display, two of these fields were always combined into a project description of the form "Hacking X for Y" (e.g., `"Hacking perceptrons for Minsky"'). This form of description became traditional and has since been carried over to other systems with more general facilities for self-advertisement (such as UNIX plan files).
hackish /hak'ish/ adj. (also hackishness n.)
hackishness n. The quality of being or involving a hack. This term is considered mildly silly. Syn. hackitude.
hackitude n. Syn. hackishness; this word is considered sillier.
hair [back-formation from hairy] n. The complications that make something hairy. "Decoding TECO commands requires a certain amount of hair." Often seen in the phrase `infinite hair', which connotes extreme complexity. Also in `hairiferous' (tending to promote hair growth): "GNUMACS elisp encourages lusers to write complex editing modes." "Yeah, it's pretty hairiferous all right." (or just: "Hair squared!")
A well-known result in topology called the Brouwer Fixed-Point Theorem states that any continuous transformation of a surface into itself has at least one fixed point. Mathematically literate hackers tend to associate the term `hairy' with the informal version of this theorem; "You can't comb a hairy ball smooth."
The adjective `long-haired' is well-attested to have been in slang use among scientists and engineers during the early 1950s; it was equivalent to modern `hairy' senses 1 and 2, and was very likely ancestral to the hackish use. In fact the noun `long-hair' was at the time used to describe a person satisfying sense 3. Both senses probably passed out of use when long hair was adopted as a signature trait by the 1960s counterculture, leaving hackish `hairy' as a sort of stunted mutant relic.
HAKMEM /hak'mem/ n. MIT AI Memo 239 (February 1972). A legendary collection of neat mathematical and programming hacks contributed by many people at MIT and elsewhere. (The title of the memo really is "HAKMEM", which is a 6-letterism for `hacks memo'.) Some of them are very useful techniques, powerful theorems, or interesting unsolved problems, but most fall into the category of mathematical and computer trivia. Here is a sampling of the entries (with authors), slightly paraphrased:
Item 41 (Gene Salamin): There are exactly 23,000 prime numbers less than 2^18.
Item 46 (Rich Schroeppel): The most *probable* suit distribution in bridge hands is 4-4-3-2, as compared to 4-3-3-3, which is the most *evenly* distributed. This is because the world likes to have unequal numbers: a thermodynamic effect saying things will not be in the state of lowest energy, but in the state of lowest disordered energy.
Item 81 (Rich Schroeppel): Count the magic squares of order 5 (that is, all the 5-by-5 arrangements of the numbers from 1 to 25 such that all rows, columns, and diagonals add up to the same number). There are about 320 million, not counting those that differ only by rotation and reflection.
Item 154 (Bill Gosper): The myth that any given programming language is machine independent is easily exploded by computing the sum of powers of 2. If the result loops with period = 1 with sign +, you are on a sign-magnitude machine. If the result loops with period = 1 at -1, you are on a twos-complement machine. If the result loops with period greater than 1, including the beginning, you are on a ones-complement machine. If the result loops with period greater than 1, not including the beginning, your machine isn't binary --- the pattern should tell you the base. If you run out of memory, you are on a string or bignum system. If arithmetic overflow is a fatal error, some fascist pig with a read-only mind is trying to enforce machine independence. But the very ability to trap overflow is machine dependent. By this strategy, consider the universe, or, more precisely, algebra: Let X = the sum of many powers of 2 = ...111111 (base 2). Now add X to itself: X + X = ...111110. Thus, 2X = X - 1, so X = -1. Therefore algebra is run on a machine (the universe) that is two's-complement.
Item 174 (Bill Gosper and Stuart Nelson): 21963283741 is the only number such that if you represent it on the PDP-10 as both an integer and a floating-point number, the bit patterns of the two representations are identical.
Item 176 (Gosper): The "banana phenomenon" was encountered when processing a character string by taking the last 3 letters typed out, searching for a random occurrence of that sequence in the text, taking the letter following that occurrence, typing it out, and iterating. This ensures that every 4-letter string output occurs in the original. The program typed BANANANANANANANA.... We note an ambiguity in the phrase, "the Nth occurrence of." In one sense, there are five 00's in 0000000000; in another, there are nine. The editing program TECO finds five. Thus it finds only the first ANA in BANANA, and is thus obligated to type N next. By Murphy's Law, there is but one NAN, thus forcing A, and thus a loop. An option to find overlapped instances would be useful, although it would require backing up N - 1 characters before seeking the next N-character string.
Note: This last item refers to a Dissociated Press implementation. See also banana problem. HAKMEM also contains some rather more complicated mathematical and technical items, but these examples show some of its fun flavor.
hakspek /hak'speek/ n. A shorthand method of spelling found on many British academic bulletin boards and talker systems. Syllables and whole words in a sentence are replaced by single ASCII characters the names of which are phonetically similar or equivalent, while multiple letters are usually dropped. Hence, `for' becomes `4'; `two', `too', and `to' become `2'; `ck' becomes `k'. "Before I see you tomorrow" becomes "b4 i c u 2moro". First appeared in London about 1986, and was probably caused by the slowness of available talker systems, which operated on archaic machines with outdated operating systems and no standard methods of communication. Has become rarer since. See also talk mode.
hammer vt. Commonwealth hackish syn. for bang on.
hand cruft [pun on `hand craft'] vt. See cruft, sense 3.
hand-roll [from obs. mainstream slang `hand-rolled' in opposition to `ready-made', referring to cigarettes] v. To perform a normally automated software installation or configuration process by hand; implies that the normal process failed due to bugs in the configurator or was defeated by something exceptional in the local environment. "The worst thing about being a gateway between four different nets is having to hand-roll a new sendmail configuration every time any of them upgrades."
handshaking n. Hardware or software activity designed to start or keep two machines or programs in synchronization as they do protocol. Often applied to human activity; thus, a hacker might watch two people in conversation nodding their heads to indicate that they have heard each others' points and say "Oh, they're handshaking!". See also protocol.
handwave [poss. from gestures characteristic of stage magicians]
If someone starts a sentence with "Clearly..." or "Obviously..." or "It is self-evident that...", it is a good bet he is about to handwave (alternatively, use of these constructions in a sarcastic tone before a paraphrase of someone else's argument suggests that it is a handwave). The theory behind this term is that if you wave your hands at the right moment, the listener may be sufficiently distracted to not notice that what you have said is bogus. Failing that, if a listener does object, you might try to dismiss the objection with a wave of your hand.
The use of this word is often accompanied by gestures: both hands up, palms forward, swinging the hands in a vertical plane pivoting at the elbows and/or shoulders (depending on the magnitude of the handwave); alternatively, holding the forearms in one position while rotating the hands at the wrist to make them flutter. In context, the gestures alone can suffice as a remark; if a speaker makes an outrageously unsupported assumption, you might simply wave your hands in this way, as an accusation, far more eloquent than words could express, that his logic is faulty.
Hanlon'S Razor prov. A corollary of Finagle'S Law, similar to Occam's Razor, that reads "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity." The derivation of the common title Hanlon's Razor is unknown; a similar epigram has been attributed to William James. Quoted here because it seems to be a particular favorite of hackers, often showing up in sig blocks, fortune cookie files and the login banners of BBS systems and commercial networks. This probably reflects the hacker's daily experience of environments created by well-intentioned but short-sighted people. Compare Sturgeon'S Law.
happily adv. Of software, used to emphasize that a program is unaware of some important fact about its environment, either because it has been fooled into believing a lie, or because it doesn't care. The sense of `happy' here is not that of elation, but rather that of blissful ignorance. "The program continues to run, happily unaware that its output is going to /dev/null."
haque /hak/ [USENET] n. Variant spelling of hack, used only for the noun form and connoting an elegant hack. that is a hack in sense 2.
hard boot n. See boot.
hardwarily /hard-weir'*-lee/ adv. In a way pertaining to hardware. "The system is hardwarily unreliable." The adjective `hardwary' is *not* traditionally used, though it has recently been reported from the U.K. See softwarily.
has the X nature [seems to derive from Zen Buddhist koans of the form "Does an X have the Buddha-nature?"] adj. Common hacker construction for `is an X', used for humorous emphasis. "Anyone who can't even use a program with on-screen help embedded in it truly has the loser nature!" See also The X That Can Be Y Is Not The True X.
hash bucket n. A notional receptacle, a set of which might be used to apportion data items for sorting or lookup purposes. When you look up a name in the phone book (for example), you typically hash it by extracting its first letter; the hash buckets are the alphabetically ordered letter sections. This term is used as techspeak with respect to code that uses actual hash functions; in jargon, it is used for human associative memory as well. Thus, two things `in the same hash bucket' are more difficult to discriminate, and may be confused. "If you hash English words only by length, you get too many common grammar words in the first couple of hash buckets." Compare hash collision.
hash collision [from the technical usage] n. (var. `hash clash') When used of people, signifies a confusion in associative memory or imagination, especially a persistent one (see thinko). True story: One of us [ESR] was once on the phone with a friend about to move out to Berkeley. When asked what he expected Berkeley to be like, the friend replied: "Well, I have this mental picture of naked women throwing Molotov cocktails, but I think that's just a collision in my hash tables." Compare hash bucket.
hat n. Common (spoken) name for the circumflex (`^', ASCII 1011110) character. See ASCII for other synonyms.
HCF /H-C-F/ n. Mnemonic for `Halt and Catch Fire', any of several undocumented and semi-mythical machine instructions with destructive side-effects, supposedly included for test purposes on several well-known architectures going as far back as the IBM 360. The MC6800 microprocessor was the first for which an HCF opcode became widely known. This instruction caused the processor to toggle a subset of the bus lines as rapidly as it could; in some configurations this could actually cause lines to burn up.
heads down [Sun] adj. Concentrating, usually so heavily and for so long that everything outside the focus area is missed. See also hack mode and larval stage, although this mode is hardly confined to fledgling hackers.
heatseeker [IBM] n. A customer who can be relied upon to buy, without fail, the latest version of an existing product (not quite the same as a member of the lunatic fringe). A 1993 example of a heatseeker is someone who, owning a 286 PC and Windows 3.0, goes out and buys Windows 3.1 (which offers no worthwhile benefits unless you have a 386). If all customers were heatseekers, vast amounts of money could be made by just fixing the bugs in each release (n) and selling it to them as release (n+1).
heavy metal [Cambridge] n. Syn. big iron.
heavy wizardry n. Code or designs that trade on a particularly intimate knowledge or experience of a particular operating system or language or complex application interface. Distinguished from deep magic, which trades more on arcane *theoretical* knowledge. Writing device drivers is heavy wizardry; so is interfacing to X (sense 2) without a toolkit. Esp. found in source-code comments of the form "Heavy wizardry begins here". Compare voodoo programming.
heavyweight adj. High-overhead; baroque; code-intensive; featureful, but costly. Esp. used of communication protocols, language designs, and any sort of implementation in which maximum generality and/or ease of implementation has been pushed at the expense of mundane considerations such as speed, memory utilization, and startup time. EMACS is a heavyweight editor; X is an *extremely* heavyweight window system. This term isn't pejorative, but one hacker's heavyweight is another's elephantine and a third's monstrosity. Oppose `lightweight'. Usage: now borders on techspeak, especially in the compound `heavyweight process'.
heisenbug /hi:'zen-buhg/ [from Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle in quantum physics] n. A bug that disappears or alters its behavior when one attempts to probe or isolate it. (This usage is not even particularly fanciful; the use of a debugger sometimes alters a program's operating environment significantly enough that buggy code, such as that which relies on the values of uninitialized memory, behaves quite differently.) Antonym of Bohr Bug; see also mandelbug, schroedinbug. In C, nine out of ten heisenbugs result from uninitialized auto variables, fandango on core phenomena (esp. lossage related to corruption of the malloc arena) or errors that smash the stack.
Helen Keller mode n.
hello, sailor! interj. Occasional West Coast equivalent of hello, world; seems to have originated at SAIL, later associated with the game Zork (which also included "hello, aviator" and "hello, implementor"). Originally from the traditional hooker's greeting to a swabbie fresh off the boat, of course.
hello, wall! excl. See wall.
hello, world interj.
hexadecimal n. Base 16. Coined in the early 1960s to replace earlier `sexadecimal', which was too racy and amusing for stuffy IBM, and later adopted by the rest of the industry.
hexit /hek'sit/ n. A hexadecimal digit (0--9, and A--F or a--f). Used by people who claim that there are only *ten* digits, dammit; sixteen-fingered human beings are rather rare, despite what some keyboard designs might seem to imply (see space-cadet keyboard).
HHOK See ha ha only serious.
HHOS See ha ha only serious.
hidden flag [scientific computation] n. An extra option added to a routine without changing the calling sequence. For example, instead of adding an explicit input variable to instruct a routine to give extra diagnostic output, the programmer might just add a test for some otherwise meaningless feature of the existing inputs, such as a negative mass. The use of hidden flags can make a program very hard to debug and understand, but is all too common wherever programs are hacked on in a hurry.
high bit [from `high-order bit'] n.
high moby /hi:' mohb'ee/ n. The high half of a 512K PDP-10's physical address space; the other half was of course the low moby. This usage has been generalized in a way that has outlasted the PDP-10; for example, at the 1990 Washington D.C. Area Science Fiction Conclave (Disclave), when a miscommunication resulted in two separate wakes being held in commemoration of the shutdown of MIT's last ITS machines, the one on the upper floor was dubbed the `high moby' and the other the `low moby'. All parties involved grokked this instantly. See moby.
highly [scientific computation] adv. The preferred modifier for overstating an understatement. As in: `highly nonoptimal', the worst possible way to do something; `highly nontrivial', either impossible or requiring a major research project; `highly nonlinear', completely erratic and unpredictable; `highly nontechnical', drivel written for lusers, oversimplified to the point of being misleading or incorrect (compare drool-proof paper). In other computing cultures, postfixing of in the extreme might be preferred.
hing // [IRC] n. Fortuitous typo for `hint', now in wide intentional use among players of initgame. Compare newsfroup, filk.
hirsute adj. Occasionally used humorously as a synonym for hairy.
HLL /H-L-L/ n. [High-Level Language (as opposed to assembler)] Found primarily in email and news rather than speech. Rarely, the variants `VHLL' and `MLL' are found. VHLL stands for `Very-High-Level Language' and is used to describe a bondage-and-discipline language that the speaker happens to like; Prolog and Backus's FP are often called VHLLs. `MLL' stands for `Medium-Level Language' and is sometimes used half-jokingly to describe C, alluding to its `structured-assembler' image. See also languages of choice.
holy wars [from USENET, but may predate it] n. flame wars over religious issues. The paper by Danny Cohen that popularized the terms big-endian and little-endian in connection with the LSB-first/MSB-first controversy was entitled "On Holy Wars and a Plea for Peace". Other perennial Holy Wars have included EMACS vs. vi, my personal computer vs. everyone else's personal computer, ITS vs. UNIX, UNIX vs. VMS, BSD UNIX vs. USG UNIX, C vs. Pascal, C vs. FORTRAN, etc., ad nauseam. The characteristic that distinguishes holy wars from normal technical disputes is that in a holy wars most of the participants spend their time trying to pass off personal value choices and cultural attachments as objective technical evaluations. See also theology.
home box n. A hacker's personal machine, especially one he or she owns. "Yeah? Well, *my* home box runs a full 4.2 BSD, so there!"
home machine n.
hook n. A software or hardware feature included in order to simplify later additions or changes by a user. For example, a simple program that prints numbers might always print them in base 10, but a more flexible version would let a variable determine what base to use; setting the variable to 5 would make the program print numbers in base 5. The variable is a simple hook. An even more flexible program might examine the variable and treat a value of 16 or less as the base to use, but treat any other number as the address of a user-supplied routine for printing a number. This is a hairy but powerful hook; one can then write a routine to print numbers as Roman numerals, say, or as Hebrew characters, and plug it into the program through the hook. Often the difference between a good program and a superb one is that the latter has useful hooks in judiciously chosen places. Both may do the original job about equally well, but the one with the hooks is much more flexible for future expansion of capabilities (EMACS, for example, is *all* hooks). The term `user exit' is synonymous but much more formal and less hackish.
hosed adj. Same as down. Used primarily by UNIX hackers. Humorous: also implies a condition thought to be relatively easy to reverse. Probably derived from the Canadian slang `hoser' popularized by the Bob and Doug Mackenzie skits on SCTV, but this usage predated SCTV by years in hackerdom (it was certainly already live at CMU in the 1970s). See hose. It is also widely used of people in the mainstream sense of `in an extremely unfortunate situation'.
Once upon a time, a Cray that had been experiencing periodic difficulties crashed, and it was announced to have been hosed. It was discovered that the crash was due to the disconnection of some coolant hoses. The problem was corrected, and users were then assured that everything was OK because the system had been rehosed. See also dehose.
hot spot n.
house wizard [prob. from ad-agency tradetalk, `house freak'] n. A hacker occupying a technical-specialist, R&D, or systems position at a commercial shop. A really effective house wizard can have influence out of all proportion to his/her ostensible rank and still not have to wear a suit. Used esp. of UNIX wizards. The term `house guru' is equivalent.
HP-SUX /H-P suhks/ n. Unflattering hackerism for HP-UX, Hewlett-Packard's UNIX port, which features some truly unique bogosities in the filesystem internals and elsewhere (these occasionally create portability problems). HP-UX is often referred to as `hockey-pux' inside HP, and one respondent claims that the proper pronunciation is /H-P ukkkhhhh/ as though one were about to spit. Another such alternate spelling and pronunciation is "H-PUX" /H-puhks/. Hackers at HP/Apollo (the former Apollo Computers which was swallowed by HP in 1989) have been heard to complain that Mr. Packard should have pushed to have his name first, if for no other reason than the greater eloquence of the resulting acronym. Compare AIDX, buglix. See also Nominal Semidestructor, Telerat, Open DeathTrap, ScumOS, sun-stools.
huff v. To compress data using a Huffman code. Various programs that use such methods have been called `HUFF' or some variant thereof. Oppose puff. Compare crunch, compress.
humma // excl. A filler word used on various `chat' and `talk' programs when you had nothing to say but felt that it was important to say something. The word apparently originated (at least with this definition) on the MECC Timeshare System (MTS, a now-defunct educational time-sharing system running in Minnesota during the 1970s and the early 1980s) but was later sighted on early UNIX systems.
Humor, Hacker n. A distinctive style of shared intellectual humor found among hackers, having the following marked characteristics:
See also filk, retrocomputing, and Appendix B. If you have an itchy feeling that all 6 of these traits are really aspects of one thing that is incredibly difficult to talk about exactly, you are (a) correct and (b) responding like a hacker. These traits are also recognizable (though in a less marked form) throughout science-fiction fandom.
hung [from `hung up'] adj. Equivalent to wedged, but more common at UNIX/C sites. Not generally used of people. Syn. with locked up, wedged; compare hosed. See also hang. A hung state is distinguished from crashed or down, where the program or system is also unusable but because it is not running rather than because it is waiting for something. However, the recovery from both situations is often the same.
hungry puppy n. Syn. slopsucker.
hungus /huhng'g*s/ [perhaps related to slang `humongous'] adj. Large, unwieldy, usually unmanageable. "TCP is a hungus piece of code." "This is a hungus set of modifications."
hyperspace /hi:'per-spays/ n. A memory location that is *far* away from where the program counter should be pointing, often inaccessible because it is not even mapped in. "Another core dump --- looks like the program jumped off to hyperspace somehow." (Compare jump off into never-never land.) This usage is from the SF notion of a spaceship jumping `into hyperspace', that is, taking a shortcut through higher-dimensional space --- in other words, bypassing this universe. The variant `east hyperspace' is recorded among CMU and Bliss hackers.
hysterical reasons (also `hysterical raisins') n. A variant on the stock phrase "for historical reasons", indicating specifically that something must be done in some stupid way for backwards compatibility, and moreover that the feature it must be compatible with was the result of a bad design in the first place. "All IBM PC video adapters have to support MDA text mode for hysterical reasons." Compare bug-for-bug compatible.