back to article Developers: Behold the bug NOBODY can fix

A developer going by the name Spydon has done something very silly: the tattoo he requested of some code contains an error. Spydon details his problem here at Stack Overflow, where he explains “A few months ago I tattooed a fork bomb on my arm and I skipped the whitespace because I think it looks nicer without it. But to my …

COMMENTS

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  1. cyborg
    Coat

    You can fix that bug...

    But it requires changing the shell, not the script

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You can fix that bug...

      I suppose it's better than the mis-spelt Arabic tattoos or the Chinese scripts that fail to translate that some people have done. At least he is aware of the mistake but he is still a plonker.

      1. Tom Samplonius

        Re: You can fix that bug...

        "...Chinese scripts that fail to translate that some people have done" I think you mean MOST have done. When people get Chinese tatoos, they seem to just choose two to four words, but in chinese this comes across as gibberish. Chinese people find the use of chinese characters in tattoos by Caucasians quite puzzling.

        1. Def Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: You can fix that bug...

          Chinese people find the use of chinese characters in tattoos by Caucasians quite puzzling.

          So do most Caucasians.

        2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

          Re: You can fix that bug...

          No more puzzling than the habit of Japanese businesses to choose a random English word and print it all over their products in big letters.

          1. S4qFBxkFFg

            Re: You can fix that bug...

            ...or what happens when latin script meets cotton in Asia:

            http://www.incrediblethings.com/web/t-shirts-lost-in-translation/

            http://www.bootstrappin.com/2008/07/engrish-t-shirts-in-japan/

            http://www.joshjacobson.net/pics/tshirts.php

          2. TheOtherHobbes

            Re: You can fix that bug...

            >No more puzzling than the habit of Japanese businesses to choose a random English word and print it all over their products in big letters.

            You mean like 'Apple', 'Amazon' or 'Natty Narwhal'?

            1. Haku

              Re: You can fix that bug...

              http://www.engrish.com

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: You can fix that bug...

            "No more puzzling than the habit of Japanese businesses to choose a random English word and print it all over their products in big letters."

            Or the habit of Japanese musicians to include random English words or phrases in their songs!

            As an example; Angela Aki's 'This Love', which was used as one of the ending themes to the Anime Blood+.

            I believe that, in some cases at least, some of this stems from laziness... when theres a perfectly good word or phrase available in English for an item or concept, they just adopt that rather than making up their own.

            1. disgruntled yank Silver badge

              Re: You can fix that bug...

              "Or the habit of Japanese musicians to include random English words or phrases in their songs!"

              What can I say, but "Yeah, yeah, yeah." (Or maybe "hey nonny, nonny.")

              1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                Re: You can fix that bug...

                What can I say, but "Yeah, yeah, yeah."

                Pfft. I said a na. Na na na na. Na na na na, na na na, na na na. Na na, na na!

                Come on, y'all.

                1. Not That Andrew
                  Coat

                  Re: You can fix that bug...

                  What can I say, but "Yeah, yeah, yeah."

                  Pfft. I said a na. Na na na na. Na na na na, na na na, na na na. Na na, na na!

                  Come on, y'all.

                  yip yip yip yip yip yip bum bum bum bum,

                  perhaps?

                  Maybe I should just get a job

            2. FrankAlphaXII

              Re: You can fix that bug...

              >>Or the habit of Japanese musicians to include random English words or phrases in their songs!

              Which is true, and riotously funny when its done poorly.

              I don't know if you've ever seen the anime Soul Eater, but the 2nd opening song, "Paper Moon" by Tomoko Kawase has a line that goes "Don't Scary". First time I heard it I was like Huh? WTF? Maybe the subtitles are wrong, but upon listening closer, that's exactly what she's singing.

              Apparently the Japanese use English phrases that don't make much sense (if any) in their music, in their advertising and in the gamut of their designs, from clothes to shop windows, purely for stylistic purposes. So next time you Brits want to get on the US for mangling the English language (which admittedly, we do. Frequently.) keep in mind there's a culture twenty times worse about it.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: You can fix that bug...

            > No more puzzling than the habit of Japanese businesses to choose a random English word and print it all over their products in big letters.

            Or name their products after them. I used to have a "Golden Cock"™ alarm clock.

            1. Vociferous

              Re: You can fix that bug...

              > I used to have a "Golden Cock"™ alarm clock.

              I have an "ARSE" camera (bought in Thailand, so maybe it wasn't a mistake, maybe they just knew their customers).

              1. eldakka Silver badge
                Coat

                Re: You can fix that bug...

                Maybe the "Golden Cock" and the "ARSE" camera are designed to go together...

        3. Arthur 1

          Re: You can fix that bug...

          It's also incorrect to say that the Chinese character tattoos are a Caucasian thing.

          Not only do I never see them in the Caucus mountains, but I see them very often on Chinese people.

      2. 's water music Silver badge

        Re: You can fix that bug...

        > I suppose it's better than the mis-spelt Arabic tattoos or the Chinese scripts that fail to translate

        I dunno, at what point does having 'round-eyed white cunt' as a tramp stamp in a non-roman script cross the line twice and become ironic

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You can fix that bug...

      > But it requires changing the shell, not the script

      Oh well, I was going to take this as an opportunity to extol the virtues of Free and Open Source Software, but you got here first. :(

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. WraithCadmus

      When you figure them out, will you get some comments tattooed on nearby?

  3. wolfetone Silver badge

    Security issue

    It's clearly run under super user conditions. If anyone was to get hold of his arm, the security consequences are unthinkable.

  4. Tom_

    Surely he can patch it.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      It's already etched into the firmware.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Shows why you shouldn't have business logic in the presentation layer.

  5. Carpetsmoker

    There's another error, : (colon) is a special shell builtin, you can't override them with a function.

    See: http://pubs.opengroup.org/onlinepubs/9699919799/utilities/V3_chap02.html#tag_18_09_01_01

    FreeBSD's /bin/sh even gives an error:

    $ :() { }

    Syntax error: Cannot override a special builtin with a function

    Sorry :-(

    1. Sam Liddicott

      bash lets you

      Bash lets you override built-ins. How about:

      warn_() {

      test -n "$1" && shift

      test -n "$1" && printf "%s\n" "$*" >&2

      }

      exit() {

      warn_ "$*"

      builtin exit $1

      }

      exit 5 "Could not do something"

      Make bash into the scripting language you want. Forth and Scheme users would like it.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's worse - nerd tattoos or significant whitespace in a programming language?

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      Technically white spaces are significant in any and all programming language I've met. Their level of significance, on the other hand, does vary. Depending on where they are they can be quite the bummer in Python for example, and not so much in Lisp.This has the interesting side-effects of making almost any python script instantly human-readable on anything able to display plain text, while your average C program requires a specialised piece of software for humans to make sense out of it (a bit like that last sentence, then...).

      It's also great for spacebar vendors.

      1. dajames Silver badge
        Coat

        Technically white spaces are significant in any and all programming language I've met.

        Perhaps you've never met Algol68? I think I'm right in saying that no whitespace (not spaces, not tabs, not newlines) is significant in Algol68 sourcecode unless it is within a quoted string or character literal or a format literal.

        Mine's the one with the Revised Report in the pocket ... I'll learn to read it some day!

        1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

          > I think I'm righ

          AFAICT you still need spaces to separate words don't you? The real test is, can you either strip all white spaces or randomly add some, without modifying the way the program runs? It is far from impossible to define a language in which whitespaces are insignificant; there may be one or several out there, too. I just haven't met one yet. AFAIK even the likes of BrainFuck and SegFaultProg will usually dislike the "random insertion" test.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            AFAIK even the likes of BrainFuck and SegFaultProg will usually dislike the "random insertion" test.

            ETA comes closer; the only whitespace that's significant is EOL. Spaces, tabs, etc are completely ignored.

            I believe all whitespace of whatever sort is irrelevant in Unlambda, unless you use whitespace characters to name functions via the dot operator. Since Unlambda dispenses with baroque excesses like keywords and multiple-character names, it doesn't need to worry about word delimiters.

            When all you have is unary application and combinators, everything looks like a Curried function...

        2. Pigeon

          I worked on an Algol68C compiler long ago, and have a disturbing memory of a single awkward situation where a space was needed. I hope I am wrong. It was so long ago...

          By the way, FORTRAN was supposed to be simple too, but I wrote a helloworld type program with one character per card (using continuation flag thingy), and it didn't compile with a particular compiler. How dumb is that?

      2. Eddy Ito Silver badge
        Coat

        "It's also great for spacebar vendors."

        OMG! I just realized my right thumb is a spacebar tender.

        1. Anonymous C0ward

          Does it serve Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters?

    2. Sir Sham Cad

      Re: what's worse

      Nerd tatoos of a programming language that uses significant whitespace, obv, but of the options you give, I'm a sucker for nerd T-Shirts so I'm comfortable with the idea of being daubed in witty geek slogans or jokes that require a knowledge of higher maths to understand, that make everyone who isn't a nerd hate me on sight.

      Programming languages with shitty syntax, however, can fuck right off.

  7. JimmyPage Silver badge
    FAIL

    OT:RSA algorithm ...

    do I recall dimly that when the US ban on exporting encryption *software* was in place, you weren't allowed to export disks, but paper was fine ? So the guys who developed PGP just printed out the code, and scanned it in the other end ?

  8. grammarpolice
    Devil

    Deploy, then test. No, wait, was that right?

  9. Velv Silver badge

    Sheldon: Why do you have the Chinese character for "soup" tattooed on your right buttock?

    Penny: It's not "soup," it's "courage."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My brother and some acquaintances went for a Chinese meal in Soho, London a few years back. During the meal the waiting staff took it in turns to come and look at one of my brother's acquaintances and then rapidly depart sniggering. Eventually even the kitchen staff had come to look and laugh. The subject of their amusement asked a waiter what the hell was so funny, and was asked if he knew what the Chinese characters tattooed on his arm meant. He replied that it was supposed to say "strength and courage", but the waiter informed him that the nearest English translation was "nunnery".

      Turns out that the tattoo had been done in a place run by an ex-school friend of mine who is now a biker (and once worked as a security contractor in Iraq which he openly admits was for the opportunity to shoot at people). When my brother's acquaintance went to complain he was directed to a sign that said they took no responsibility for mistakes in tattoos containing non-English text. Knowing my ex-school friend I'd suspect he knew exactly what he was writing on the schmuck.

      1. Anonymous C0ward

        Couldn't people look up the correct words on Google Translate before they get inked? Or is that exactly what they're doing?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          > Couldn't people look up the correct words on Google Translate

          Yeah, what could possibly go wrong?

        2. Vociferous

          > Couldn't people look up the correct words on Google Translate before they get inked?

          Pretty sure Chinese doesn't work that way, seems to me as if context changes meaning. Also Chinese is clearly difficult to read even for the Chinese; try getting a native Chinese speaker to translate something for you some time. I've once seen two native Chinese PhD's argue about what a Chinese newspaper article actually read, they couldn't even broadly agree on the general gist of the article.

  10. null pointer

    Whitespace issue

    You can fix the whitespace just need to powerwank furiously with that arm everyday

  11. The elephant in the room
    Happy

    What's a fork bomb?

    Sounsd like something Q would make.

    Looking at the picture I thought it was supposed to be a row of smileys.

    1. cyborg
      Pirate

      Re: What's a fork bomb?

      Quite simply you can fork a process in *nix with a simple command to create two new processes. Have a script like that and it'll fork itself until pids run out and you crash or just stop anything doing any real work.

      1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

        Re: What's a fork bomb?

        Why the **** didn't someone write that before the ****** who put that stuff about doge memes put that stuff about doge memes on and stole most of my bloody morning?

        OH shit. And half my afternoon!

        And I haven't got time to copy the damn thing now!

        Shit shit shit!!!!!

        Oh hang on. That's like a bomb like too, innit?

        OK that'll do.

        Ta!

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: What's a fork bomb?

        Have a script like that and it'll fork itself until

        it hits the usage limit on processes for that user, which of course you set, since you're not a complete idiot, and you're familiar with the ulimit and setrusage man pages.

        FTFY.

  12. DropBear Silver badge

    This can be fixed yet!

    ...it just needs to continue with ^H^H^H^H^H...

  13. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Happy

    It makes perfect sense

    It's an auto-alias script and replaces 'Nerd' with 'Dork'.

  14. wub

    Who's permission for photos?

    Um, I think you have a minor error in the last paragraph, here:

    "if we get some good 'uns – and the wearers agree to publication –".

    Wasn't there recently a court decision that the creator of the ink, not the wearer, owns the "intellectual" property rights? Some actor cheese-ball with a pseudo-Maori tattoo on his face lost the case? Has to get the creator's permission for product tie-ins to the tattoo? Oh well, I don't think anyone responsible for a real howler would want to claim their rights, anyway...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      copyright

      Not quite the same situation here is it, where's the tie-in, where's the marketing angle? Actually it's the photographer who would own the copyright on the tattoo images in question. While there are exceptions for usage in reporting news and the like, it's just common decency to get somebody's permission before splattering her or his photo all over the web. It seems reasonable that they'd seek the wearer's permission. The question as to whether they should seek the photographer's permission is apposite, but the consent of the original tattoo artist is neither here nor there.

    2. Z80
      Headmaster

      Re: Who's permission for photos?

      Whose permission

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What if someone tattooed something very sensitive (commercially or secrecy wise) on their body, would the government hack it off?

    1. Vociferous

      Only one way to find out. Don't forget to post the video.

  16. Andus McCoatover

    Alright, folks. I know my limitations...

    ...but what does the script actually DO? (the corrected version, natch)

    1. Vociferous

      Re: Alright, folks. I know my limitations...

      It's a fork bomb.

      1. Andus McCoatover

        Re: Alright, folks. I know my limitations...

        Thanks, Vocifeous.

        Needless to say, I tried it on the pub's Linux computer. Very effective!!!!

        (Now, get my copy of "The Rute" out and find out how it works.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Alright, folks. I know my limitations...

          find out how it works

          You'll have to excuse the formatting, as the Reg still can't tell its ass from its elbow when it comes to preformatted text. Good thing no one ever wants to post code in the comments here, on an IT site.

          :(){:|:&};:

          becomes:

          :(){...}

          Define a shell function named ":", with the body inside the curly brackets.

          :|:

          Fork two instances of the shell, each running ":". The first instance's stdout is input side of a pipe, and output side of that pipe is second instance's stdin, but this is largely irrelevant.

          &

          Start those two instances in the background.

          ;

          Another command follows.

          :

          Execute the shell function we just defined.

          So the final ":" tells the current shell to execute the function. The function tells the shell to fork twice, each child shell executing the function. In the child processes, the function tells the shell to fork twice...

          Replace ":" throughout with a meaningful name, such as "forkbomb", and it is clearer.

          I haven't bothered trying it, but it seems on casual inspection that putting the pipeline in the background is unnecessary. Perhaps I'm missing something.

  17. Sherrie Ludwig

    Somebody needs to explain to the unmarked WHY a person would need to write anything permanently on his or her body. One guy I worked with had his kids' names on his forearm.....seriously? Did he think he would forget? And programming languages that are amazing cutting edge one day are obsolete the next (COBOL, anyone?) C. M. Kornbluth's "The Marching Morons" is here....

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      How is COBOL obsolete? Billions of lines of code in production say you're wrong.

      Now, Autocoder, say - that's pretty much over.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a matter of degree

    His issue is purely one of the reader's level of nerdness...

    low : it is meaningless gibberish

    medium : it lacks a whitespace after the { for bash

    high : that bash script is written in a font with odd kerning

    Linus : show me the the man page for 'life'

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