FORTUNE(6)                   UNIX Reference Manual                  FORTUNE(6)


       fortune - print a random, hopefully interesting, adage


       fortune [-aefilosw] [-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.

       The options are as follows:

       -a     Choose from all lists of maxims.

       -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.

       -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.

       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
       inclusive, followed by a %.  If it is, there will be a n percent proba-
       bility that an adage will be picked from that file or directory. If the
       percentages  do  not  sum  to 100, and there are specifications without
       percentages, the remaining percent will apply  to  those  files  and/or
       directories,  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 division of fortunes into offensive and non-offensive by directory,
       rather than via the `-o' file infix, is not 100% compatible with origi-
       nal BSD fortune. Although the `-o' infix is recognised as referring  to
       an offensive database, the offensive database files still need to be in
       a seperate directory.  The workaround, of course, is to move  the  `-o'
       files  into  the offensive directory (with or without renaming), and to
       use the -a option.

       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
       repititiousness.   This  has  not been a complete success.  In the pro-
       cess, 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.


       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 inadvertantly 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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