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FORTUNE(6)		     UNIX Reference Manual		    FORTUNE(6)

       fortune - print a random, hopefully interesting, adage

       fortune [-acefilosuw] [-n length] [ -m pattern] [[n%] file/dir/all]

       When  fortune  is run with no arguments it prints out a random epigram.
       Epigrams are divided into several categories, where  each  category  is
       sub-divided  into those which are potentially offensive and those which
       are not.

       The options are as follows:

       -a     Choose from all lists of maxims, both offensive and  not.	  (See
	      the -o option for more information on offensive fortunes.)

       -c     Show the cookie file from which the fortune came.

       -e     Consider	all  fortune files to be of equal size (see discussion
	      below on multiple files).

       -f     Print out the list of files which would be searched,  but	 don't
	      print a fortune.

       -l     Long  dictums  only.   See -n on how ``long'' is defined in this

       -m pattern
	      Print out all fortunes which match the basic regular  expression
	      pattern.	 The  syntax  of these expressions depends on how your
	      system defines re_comp(3) or regcomp(3), but it should neverthe‐
	      less be similar to the syntax used in grep(1).

	      The  fortunes  are output to standard output, while the names of
	      the file from which each fortune comes are printed  to  standard
	      error.   Either or both can be redirected; if standard output is
	      redirected to a file, the result is a  valid  fortunes  database
	      file.   If  standard  error is also redirected to this file, the
	      result is still valid, but there	will  be  ``bogus''  fortunes,
	      i.e. the filenames themselves, in parentheses.  This can be use‐
	      ful if you wish to remove the gathered matches from their origi‐
	      nal  files,  since each filename-record will precede the records
	      from the file it names.

       -n length
	      Set the longest fortune length (in characters) considered to  be
	      ``short''	 (the  default is 160).	 All fortunes longer than this
	      are considered ``long''.	Be careful!  If you set the length too
	      short  and  ask for short fortunes, or too long and ask for long
	      ones, fortune goes into a never-ending thrash loop.

       -o     Choose only from potentially offensive aphorisms.	 The -o option
	      is ignored if a fortune directory is specified.

	      Please,  please,	please request a potentially offensive fortune
	      if and only if you believe, deep in your	heart,	that  you  are
	      willing  to  be  offended.  (And	that you'll just quit using -o
	      rather than give us grief about it, okay?)

	      ... let us keep in mind the basic governing  philosophy  of  The
	      Brotherhood, as handsomely summarized in these words: we believe
	      in healthy, hearty laughter -- at the expense of the whole human
	      race, if needs be.  Needs be.
		     --H. Allen Smith, "Rude Jokes"

       -s     Short  apothegms	only.  See -n on which fortunes are considered

       -i     Ignore case for -m patterns.

       -w     Wait before termination for an amount of	time  calculated  from
	      the  number  of characters in the message.  This is useful if it
	      is executed as part of the logout procedure  to  guarantee  that
	      the message can be read before the screen is cleared.

       -u     Don't  translate	UTF-8 fortunes to the locale when searching or

       The user may specify alternate sayings.	You  can  specify  a  specific
       file, a directory which contains one or more files, or the special word
       all which says to use all the standard databases.  Any of these may  be
       preceded	 by a percentage, which is a number n between 0 and 100 inclu‐
       sive, followed by a %.  If it is, there will be a n percent probability
       that  an	 adage will be picked from that file or directory. If the per‐
       centages do not sum to 100, and there are specifications	 without  per‐
       centages, the remaining percent will apply to those files and/or direc‐
       tories, in which case the probability of selecting  from	 one  of  them
       will be based on their relative sizes.

       As  an  example,	 given	two  databases funny and not-funny, with funny
       twice as big (in number of fortunes, not raw file size), saying

	      fortune funny not-funny

       will get you fortunes out of funny two-thirds of the time.  The command

	      fortune 90% funny 10% not-funny

       will pick out 90% of its fortunes from funny (the ``10% not-funny''  is
       unnecessary, since 10% is all that's left).

       The -e option says to consider all files equal; thus

	      fortune -e funny not-funny

       is equivalent to

	      fortune 50% funny 50% not-funny

       Note: these are the defaults as defined at compile time.

	      Directory for innoffensive fortunes.
	      Directory for offensive fortunes.

       If  a  particular set of fortunes is particularly unwanted, there is an
       easy solution: delete the associated .dat file.	This leaves  the  data
       intact,	should	the  file later be wanted, but since fortune no longer
       finds the pointers file, it ignores the text file.

       The supplied fortune databases have been attacked, in order to  correct
       orthographical  and  grammatical	 errors,  and  particularly  to reduce
       redundancy and repetition and redundancy.  But especially to avoid rep‐
       etitiousness.   This  has not been a complete success.  In the process,
       some fortunes may also have been lost.

       The fortune databases are now divided into a larger number  of  smaller
       files, some organized by format (poetry, definitions), and some by con‐
       tent (religion, politics).  There are parallel files in the main direc‐
       tory  and  in the offensive files directory (e.g., fortunes/definitions
       and fortunes/off/definitions).  Not all the potentially offensive  for‐
       tunes  are in the offensive fortunes files, nor are all the fortunes in
       the offensive files potentially offensive, probably,  though  a	strong
       attempt	has  been made to achieve greater consistency.	Also, a better
       division might be made.

       When passing files to fortune, directories must be specified  by	 abso‐
       lute  pathnames,	 and  filenames	 starting with a dot are ignored. See:

       This version of fortune is based on the NetBSD fortune 1.4, but with  a
       number of bug fixes and enhancements.

       The  original  fortune/strfile  format used a single file; strfile read
       the text file and converted it to null-delimited	 strings,  which  were
       stored after the table of pointers in the .dat file.  By NetBSD fortune
       1.4, this had changed to two separate files: the .dat file was only the
       header (the table of pointers, plus flags; see strfile.h), and the text
       strings were left in their own file.  The potential problem  with  this
       is  that text file and header file may get out of synch, but the advan‐
       tage is that the text files can be easily edited without	 resorting  to
       unstr,  and  there is a potential savings in disk space (on the assump‐
       tion that the sysadmin kept both .dat file with strings	and  the  text

       Many  of	 the enhancements made over the NetBSD version assumed a Linux
       system, and thus caused it to fail  under  other	 platforms,  including
       BSD.   The  source code has since been made more generic, and currently
       works on SunOS 4.x as well as Linux, with support  for  more  platforms
       expected in the future.	Note that some bugs were inadvertently discov‐
       ered and fixed during this process.

       At a guess, a great many people have worked on this program, many with‐
       out leaving attributions.

       re_comp(3), regcomp(3), strfile(1), unstr(1)

BSD Experimental	     19 April 94 [May. 97]		    FORTUNE(6)

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