improvement idea of man page of strfile
zhangweiwu at realss.com
Thu Oct 30 07:47:10 PDT 2008
What can you do with this besides printing sarcastic and obscene mes-
sages to the screens of lusers at login or logout?
There are some other possibilities.
1 Include strfile.h into a news reading/posting program, to gener-
ate random signatures. Tin(1) does something similar, in a much
more complex manner.
2 Include it in a game. While strfile doesn't support 'fields' or
'records', there's no reason that the text strings can't be con-
sistent: first line, a die roll; second line, a score; third and
subsequent lines, a text message.
3 Use it to store your address book. Hell, some of the guys I
know would be as well off using it to decide who to call on Fri-
day nights (and for some, it wouldn't matter whether there were
phone numbers in it or not).
4 Use it in 'lottery' situations. If you're an ISP, write a
script to store login names and GECOS from /etc/passwd in str-
file format, write another to send 'congratulations, you've won'
to the lucky login selected. The prize might be a month's free
service, or if you're AOL, a month free on a real service
My improvement ideas:
5 Those who study a foreign language may find it useful to have
a word-bank that shows sentences you want to understand better
by reading them randomly and include in shell start script.
Maybe you can start by picking your favorite novel from
wikiquotes and convert the quotes into a format acceptable for
strfile, and enjoy one quote every time opening a terminal.
6 Tip-of-the-day for message to show when user started your
7 A website of environmental protection can show a tip how to do
things with least harm to the environment for every visitor,
which simply invoke fortune on every page request, e.g. by using
I know these things work well because I implemented all of use 5, 6 and
7. But being an infrequent participate of OSS I don't know how to
contribute this information back to the author / maintainer of the
manual (not mentioned in the manual itself). I also worry improving
something that hasn't been changed for 10 years could be difficult
because nobody wish to move them. What should I do or who should I
contact to let them decide if they include my idea in their manual as well?
In fact I think the 4th lottery idea isn't better than any of 5, 6, 7
because it is not a full use of strfile, which can produce random text
repeatedly (in case of 4, random text is only needed as many time as you
decide to give price to someone).
And is the change going to spread to other systems that uses strfile?
e.g. many Linux distributions contain the strfile manual from BSD
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