PDU-1: Glossary

Astronomical terminology

Astronomical Unit. A unit of length equal to the mean radius of the Earth's orbit.

Computer/hacker terminology and lore

as if by magic
As yet unexplained, or too complicated to explain; compare automagically and (Arthur C.) Clarke's Third Law: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" (from The On-Line Hacker Jargon File, V. 4).
Unix copy command.
One who breaks security on a system. Coined circa 1985 by hackers in defense against the journalistic misuse of the term hacker (from The On-Line Hacker Jargon File, V. 4).
cruft together
To throw together something ugly but temporarily workable. Like /vt./ kluge up, but more pejorative. "There isn't any program now to reverse all the lines of a file, but I can probably cruft one together in about 10 minutes" (from The On-Line Hacker Jargon File, V. 4).
A database command that does as its name indicates.
Unix null device. Output written to it is discarded.
Group ID. The method the operating system uses to identify groups.
Unix groups are a mechanism that allows arbitrary collections of users to share files or other system resources.
A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and how to stretch their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary, (from The On-Line Hacker Jargon File, V. 4).
hack mode
1. What one is in when hacking, of course. 2. More specifically, a Zen-like state of total focus on The Problem that may be achieved when one is hacking (this is why every good hacker is part mystic). Ability to enter such concentration at will correlates strongly with wizardliness. Sometimes amplified as `deep hack mode'. Being yanked out of hack mode 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. Some aspects of hacker 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 (from The On-Line Hacker Jargon File, V. 4).
A clever programming trick intended to solve a particular nasty case in an expedient, if not clear, manner. Often used to repair bugs. "I've kluged this routine to get around that weird bug, but there's probably a better way" (from The On-Line Hacker Jargon File, V. 4).
Computer Operating System.
Unix command to delete one or more files.
On Unix systems, a privileged account (UID 0) with unrestricted access to all files and commands.
social engineering
Term used among crackers for cracking techniques that rely on weaknesses in wetware rather than software; the aim is to trick people into revealing passwords or other information that compromises a target system's security (from The On-Line Hacker Jargon File, V. 4).
AI problem
The synthesis of a human-level intelligence (from The On-Line Hacker Jargon File, V. 4).
On Unix systems, become root or another user. Using the command `/bin/su -' (without the quotes) will open a root shell. The privileges of this shell remain in effect until the shell terminates.
Set user ID. In Unix, SUID is used to enable unprivileged users or processes to run programs owned by a privileged user (often root) under restricted conditions. A common example of SUID access, found on all Unix systems, is the executable image of the passwd command, /bin/passwd.
Trojan horse
A malicious, security-breaking program that is disguised as something benign (from The On-Line Hacker Jargon File, V. 4).
Type Enforcement
A containment technology used in advanced military-grade firewalls that prevents the use of certain commands while the system is running its operational kernel.
User ID. The method the operating system uses to identify users.
The human nervous system, as opposed to computer hardware or software (from The On-Line Hacker Jargon File, V. 4).
write-only memory
The obvious antonym to `read-only memory'. Out of frustration with the long and seemingly useless chain of approvals required of component specifications, during which no actual checking seemed to occur, an engineer at Signetics once created a specification for a write-only memory and included it with a bunch of other specifications to be approved. This inclusion came to the attention of Signetics management only when regular customers started calling and asking for pricing information. Signetics published a corrected edition of the data book and requested the return of the `erroneous' ones. Later, around 1974, Signetics bought a double-page spread in the April issue of Electronics magazine and used the spec as an April Fools' Day joke (from The On-Line Hacker Jargon File, V. 4).

PDU-1 terminology

The Donda name for the unique mental state of a warrior while in telepathic communication with her diak.
An individual who has ubiquitous net/device access, both public and commercial, through their credit ID bracelet, and therefore has the rights of a Class C or higher citizen.
Portable, wireless, high-security net access device with a verbal user interface.
credit ID bracelet
Bracelet containing both credit and ID information unique to its owner, which permits net/device access to both public and commercial networks, depending on credit and/or security authorizations. Only issued to Class C or higher citizens.
The Donda name for the withdrawal symptoms that result when an'tala is broken.
Donda war animal. An evolutionary offshoot of the cat family that grew large enough so warriors could ride them, female diak cubs, when obtained prior to weaning, will imprint with certain female humans, establishing a strong telepathic relationship. This relationship, over time, creates a physical addiction on both sides, and when broken by either distance (around twenty kilometers) or death serious withdrawal symptoms result. These withdrawal symptoms can be blocked by a drug found in the roots of the desert plant sy'ahta, at least temporarily, but tolerance begins to build if used for extended periods. The only long-term remedy is, if separated by distance, to rejoin one's partner; if separated by death, for the warrior to find a new cub to bond with. An adult diak whose warrior has died will usually refuse all help, and go into the desert to die in solitude.
The female warrior clan that controls the land between the Da'Kal River and the Unexplored Region, often called the Central Desert.
Donda throwing daggers
The Donda have long favored weapons that employed skill over brute strength such as the bow, and throwing daggers (whose use they have developed into an art form). Their daggers, beautifully balanced and exquisitely made out of steel with a simple riveted wooden hilt, can be, and often are, used in the manner of traditional daggers, as well as for hunting and other tasks. Usually worn in sets of two to a side in molded quick-draw sheaths, they are the Donda weapon of choice in close quarters or hand-to-hand combat.
A material used on Earth after the riots of 2632 to protect important government installations, power plants, corporate office buildings, and military aircraft. It was also used in space for the outer surface of HQ and PDU-1 as a protection against radiation, space debris, and terrorist attacks. A one decimeter thickness is capable, once its field has been energized, of withstanding direct exposure to a five-megaton nuclear device.
First Moon
The site of planetary and corporate government. An artificial satellite 815 kilometers in diameter stationed sixty degrees in front of Earth's natural moon. Also known as HQ.
See First Moon.
Hereditary ruler of Port Da'Kal.
A native woman (Indian or Innuit) in the northern part of NA Sector. Considered highly derogatory.
An individual who does not have ubiquitous net/device access, either public or commercial, through a credit ID bracelet, and therefore lacks the rights of a Class C or higher citizen.
A somewhat indefinite measure of distance, generally considered how far one can travel by tahn in one day.
See diak.
A long-necked, foul-tempered desert animal with a large hump on its back, used by merchants for pulling wagons or carrying merchandise, and by the soldiers of Eos and Port Da'Kal for riding. In the Central Desert, large herds of wild tahn roamed, constantly migrating from one area to another in search of food as the seasons changed.
Head Priest of Eos.
A large, herbivorous, marsupial animal with a small head, large ears, long, powerful hind legs, small forelegs, and a long thick tail with a hard, horny plate on its end used both as a weapon, and for balance while in motion. Tonga travel in packs and can move rapidly by both running and hopping on their hind legs when threatened. Because of their two heavy claw-like nails on each hind foot, along with the power of their hind legs and tail, they can be dangerous fighters in close quarters and are, even by the diaks, treated with respect. Tonga, along with tahn, are the primary dietary staples of both the warriors and diaks of the Central Desert, and, because tonga compete for the same food sources as do tahn, can often be found in the same areas. Their hide is widely admired for its lightness, flexibility, and toughness, and finds many uses among both the Donda and, when they can get it, the leather craftsmen of Torac.
The female warrior clan that controls the land between the Da'Kal River and the Endos Mountains.

SGML terminology

Document Type Definition.
Standard Generalized Markup Language. A powerful technology for structuring documents. Popular members of the SGML family include both HTML and XML.
Inclusions/exclusions are allowed exceptions to an element's content model. A powerful feature of certain Industrial-Grade DTDs such as ISO 12083:1994, they are generally considered too difficult for use by nonspecialists.


Sage, female. Administration, employee of RJR. Rank unknown.
Slave dealer in Torac, male.
Merchant and owner of a fleet of ships based in A'Lan, male
Sage, male. Hardware, employee of Boeing's Defense & Space Group.
Hereditary ruler of Port Da'Kal.
Javelina, female.
Diak, female. Ryahda's war partner.
Junior programmer, male. Software, employee of Sun Microsystems.
Sage, male. Software, employee of Sun Microsystems. Lead programmer, PDU-1 project.
See Admin.
Sage, male. Software, employee of Sun Microsystems.
Donda warrior, female.
Donda warrior, female. Leader of the Donda.
Junior programmer, male. Software, employee of Sun Microsystems.
Javelina, male.
Head Priest of Eos, male.
Sage, male. Administration, employee of RJR. Project head.
Sage, male. Administration, employee of RJR. Project historian.
Sage, female. Biometrics, employee of Consolidated Pharmaceuticals, Special Projects division.
Y'Tan of Eos
Musician, male. Composer for the Court of Eos.

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