Jargon File

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The Jargon File is a glossary of hacker slang. The original Jargon File was a collection of hacker slang from technical cultures such as the MIT AI Lab, the Stanford AI Lab (SAIL), and others of the old ARPANET AI/LISP/PDP-10 communities, including Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Carnegie Mellon University, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.


1975 to 1983

The Jargon File (hereinafter referred to as "jargon-1" or "the File") was made by Raphael Finkel at Stanford in 1975. From this time until the plug was finally pulled on the SAIL computer in 1991, the File was named "AIWORD.RFUP" or "AIWORD.RFDOC". Some terms, such as frob and some senses of moby, are believed to date back to the early 1960s from the Tech Model Railroad Club at MIT.[citation needed] The revisions of jargon-1 were all unnumbered and may be collectively considered "version 1".

In 1976, Mark Crispin, having seen an announcement about the File on the SAIL computer, FTPed a copy of the File to MIT. He noticed that it was hardly restricted to "AI words" and so stored the file on his directory, named as "AI:MRC;SAIL JARGON". However, jargon is a misnomer; the editors of the file have always tried to avoid the inclusion of strict computer jargon (i.e., technical terms), favoring instead slang used by hackers.[citation needed]

The file was quickly renamed "JARGON >" (the '>' suffix triggered versioning under ITS), because a flurry of enhancements were made by Mark Crispin and Guy Steele, who generated multiple revisions. In the late 1970s, definitions were added by members of the dynamic modeling group at MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science. Contributors included Marc Blank, Dave Lebling, and Tim Anderson (the original authors of Zork).

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