Monday, April 18, 2005

The Origins of FooBar in Coding!

There came a day when Aldrin was pretty much sure we programmers were F***** up badly, when he saw Sundar practicing Java coding with classes like Foo and methods like makeBar().
As we all programmers now foo and bar are jargons used in coding literature for quite unknown time. Even technical specs like RFC's use them. Approximately 212 RFCs so far, starting with RFC 269, contain the
terms `foo', `bar', or `foobar' as metasyntactic variables.. Their explanation for that!
He was pretty much sure FooBar was German for F***** up!
Now we programmers aren't going to take that insult hands down!
So I started searching through online dictionaries and the WIKIPEDIA! for the roots of this word. It seems FooBar has a tangled history!
The word was originally used seperately as "Foo" and "Bar" in comics dating back to 1930. They were used in context to mean "nonsense". Like "Foomobile".
It is also used in electronics jargon as something called as the inverted foo signal, which is represented by putting a horizontal bar over the signal label.
The german word which people link it to is actually "furchtbar" which in German means horrible,terrible or awful.
So where do this link to F***** up come, well in World WarII the allied troops heard the german "furchtbar" and coined the funny acronym FUBAR meaning [F***** Up Beyond All Repair(or)Recognition].
So this hacker slang of foobar, where does it originate from "Foo and Bar" of the comics of old days meaning "nonsense" or did it mean "furchtbar" or "awful".
The general opinion on this it started by meaning the electronic version, but got popular among some hackers by their references to the meaning of "FOOBAR"!
Reference: Jargon File
Well that was an interesting dig into the origins of foobar! The verdict is what kinda perspective u look at it?
R u a good hacker or a bad one?


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