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Understanding the terminology is important in any field of endeavor. First so you can understand what others are saying (so you can learn), and later so you can communicate (well) with others.

Computer terminology is interesting in this respect — although the computer field started out as the province of dedicated professionals, and still is that way to some extent and in some areas, much of computer technology is becoming ubiquitous, and more and more terminology that was once the language of dedicated professionals is becoming, and will continue to become, language that everyone must deal with.

There are many terms already defined on WikiLearn, and many more that could / should be. On the other hand, if there are already good definitions of those terms easily accessible on the web, I should consider using those rather than creating my own. So %SECTION{summary}%this page will:

  • mention some other sources on the Web that I've found (or think I will find) useful for obtaining definitions of computer related terms
  • list some other pages (or categories of pages) on WikiLearn that contain definitions of terms
  • possibly include random musings and rants related to computer terminology (although I expect one of my bigger rants / musings will be over on host.

I will make a special (negative) mention of the #Drawbacks of the Jargon File.



Useful (I Hope) Resources on WikiLearn

Useful Resources Elsewhere on the Web

The notation "more recent" vs. "older" (below) is not intended to denigrate the older resources, but only to indicate my access to the resources — older references were on the order of a year ago, recent were today (19 Feb 2004). (And I'm still not comfortable with my choice of date notation — I should look up which is (are) the ISO notation(s) or similar.)

more recent:



<checkpoint save>

Rants and Raves

Language Lawyering

I sometimes like to do it, but don't like it to be done to me (or at least, I don't like to be policed).

William Safire: "its", or better "an" vs. "a" for words that start with vowel vs. consonant sounds (rather than start with vowels vs. consonants (i.e., the letters of the alphabet)). (Then, for example, the acronyms that are pronounced different ways by different people (some with a vowel sound, some with a consonant sound). Can I remember an example?? Not MCC (emm cee cee), ???

Drawbacks of the Jargon File

My Misunderstanding / Being Misled

Somehow I encountered the hype on the jargon file shortly after (or at least once, long before) I started to make my transition to Linux. For whatever reason, I thought reading through it (which I did a lot of) would be of significant help in learning Linux.

In retrospect, it was not, or not as helpful as I hoped. (I'm sure I picked up some useful information, not sure I remember what it is, and, as mentioned below, there was some information that I sorely missed.) Here are some of the reasons I'd cite for it not being helpful:

  • Doesn't define the word that probably has been most troublesome for me — host.
  • It is focused more on the hacker / cracker / nerd / geek community than the mainstream computer user (whatever any of those terms (including "mainstream computer user") mean.

Credit for the Jargon File

Aside: Every time I've noticed a reference to the Jargon File (add disclaimer about "every time" wink ), it has been associated with ESR. I don't think that's fair or appropriate, see the following for a more balanced crediting.

To be fair to ESR, similar proper accreditations are elsewhere, like in the Jargon File Revision History (also available elsewhere on the Internet).

My Credentials

Aside: I need a disclaimer about me creating my own definitions which aren't guaranteed to be 100% correct. But, if you are more of a newbie (define?) than I am, maybe my definitions, flawed as they might be, might be helpful.

Dictionary, Glossary, Lexicon??

Trying to decide what word (if any) is most applicable to a complilation of definitions of words and phrases:

from Merriam Webster Dictionary:

Main Entry: 3gloss Function: noun Etymology: alteration of gloze, from Middle English glose, from Middle French, from Medieval Latin glosa, glossa, from Greek glOssa, glOtta tongue, language, obscure word; akin to Greek glOchis projecting point 1 a : a brief explanation (as in the margin or between the lines of a text) of a difficult or obscure word or expression b : a false and often willfully misleading interpretation (as of a text) 2 a : GLOSSARY b : an interlinear translation c : a continuous commentary accompanying a text 3 : COMMENTARY, INTERPRETATION

Main Entry: lex·i·con Pronunciation: 'lek-s&-"kän also -k&n Function: noun Inflected Form(s): plural lex·i·ca /-k&/; or lexicons Etymology: Late Greek lexikon, from neuter of lexikos of words, from Greek lexis word, speech, from legein to say -- more at LEGEND 1 : a book containing an alphabetical arrangement of the words in a language and their definitions : DICTIONARY 2 a : the vocabulary of a language, an individual speaker or group of speakers, or a subject b : the total stock of morphemes in a language 3 : REPERTOIRE, INVENTORY


  • () RandyKramer - 19 Feb 2004
  • If you edit this page: add your name here; move this to the next line; and if you've used a comment marker (your initials in parenthesis), include it before your WikiName.

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