Dictionary of Computer Terms


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Free On-line Dictionary of Computing . FOLDOC is a searchable dictionary of acronyms, jargon, programming languages, tools, architecture, operating systems, networking, theory, conventions, standards, mathematics, telecoms, electronics, institutions, companies, projects, products, history, in fact anything to do with computing. Copyright 1993 by Denis Howe Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, Front- or Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "{GNU Free Documentation License}". Please refer to the dictionary as "The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, http://www.foldoc.org/, Editor Denis Howe" or similar. The dictionary has been growing since 1985 and now contains over 13000 definitions totalling nearly five megabytes of text. Entries are cross-referenced to each other and to related resources elsewhere on the net. Where {LaTeX} commands for certain non-{ASCII} symbols are mentioned, they are described in their own entries. """ is also used to represent the Greek lower-case lambda used in {lambda-calculus}. Cross-references to other entries look {like this}. Note that not all cross-references actually lead anywhere yet, but if you find one that leads to something inappropriate, please {let me know (feedback.html)}. Dates after entries indicate when that entry was last updated. They do not imply that it was up-to-date at that time. You can search the latest version of the dictionary by {WWW} (URL http://www.foldoc.org/). If you find an entry that is wrong or inadequate please let me know. See {Pronunciation} for how to interpret the pronunciation given for some entries. (2000-05-18)
finn . To pull rank on somebody based on the amount of time one has spent on {IRC}. The term derives from the fact that IRC was originally written in Finland in 1987. [{Jargon File}] (2000-08-05)
FIPS . {Federal Information Processing Standards}
FIR . 1. {Finite Impulse Response} (filter). 2. Fast Infrared. {Infrared} standard from {IrDA}, part of {IrDA Data}. FIR supports {synchronous} communications at 4 Mbps (and 1.115 Mbps?), at a distance of up to 1 metre. (1999-10-14)
firebottle . {electron tube}
firefighting . 1. What sysadmins have to do to correct sudden operational problems. An opposite of hacking. "Been hacking your new newsreader?" "No, a power glitch hosed the network and I spent the whole afternoon fighting fires." 2. The act of throwing lots of manpower and late nights at a project, especially to get it out before deadline. See also {gang bang}, {Mongolian Hordes technique}; however, the term "firefighting" connotes that the effort is going into chasing bugs rather than adding features. (1994-12-01)
Firefox . A complete {free}, {open-source} {web browser} from the {Mozilla Foundation} and therefore a true code descendent of {Netscape Navigator}. The first non-{beta release} was in late 2004. {Firefox Home (http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox)}. (2005-01-26)
firehose syndrome . In mainstream folklore it is observed that trying to drink from a firehose can be a good way to rip your lips off. On computer networks, the absence or failure of flow control mechanisms can lead to situations in which the sending system sprays a massive flood of packets at an unfortunate receiving system, more than it can handle. Compare {overrun}, {buffer overflow}. [{Jargon File}]
firewall . 1. {firewall code}. 2. {firewall machine}.
firewall code . 1. The code you put in a system (say, a telephone switch) to make sure that the users can't do any damage. Since users always want to be able to do everything but never want to suffer for any mistakes, the construction of a firewall is a question not only of defensive coding but also of interface presentation, so that users don't even get curious about those corners of a system where they can burn themselves. 2. Any sanity check inserted to catch a {can't happen} error. Wise programmers often change code to fix a bug twice: once to fix the bug, and once to insert a firewall which would have arrested the bug before it did quite as much damage. [{Jargon File}]
Based on The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, Editor Denis Howe - © Denis Howe 1993
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