Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting. The name used by Cisco for the primary services required by a NAS product.
Application Configuration Access Protocol, a standard for accessing program configuration information from a remote server, allowing a user to use and change their configuration from any workstation by reading or writing the values on a central server. Defined in RFC 2244.
Microsoft's own take on live web content, ActiveX is propietary system for embedding controls and the underlying code into any OLE application, most commonly a web browser.
Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line
Acronym for the Andrew File System. A distributed filesystem standard for Unix and Windows NT. Originally developed at Carnegie Mellon University.
AGP Accelerated Graphics Port, a standard for 3d graphics designed by Intel for their LX chipset motherboards in response to inroads in their market dominance by clone manufacturers.
Acronym for Automatic Number Identification, a system similar to Caller-ID, used by the telephone company and some classes of subscriber for identifying the caller. Unlike Caller-ID, ANI delivery is not blocked by * (star) codes. (suess)
American National Standards Institute A private, nonprofit organization operating in the public interest to coordinate U.S. standards. Also, a common terminal control protocol for BBS communications.
Application Programming Interface, a set of public (visible to other programs) function calls allowing communication between programs, or between a program and the kernel.
A Macintosh-specific network protocol for sharing resources (files, printers, etc). Appletalk can use special hardware or run on ethernet.
Apple Remote Access, a protocol allowing network access from Macintosh systems via dialup. Now almost entirely obsolete.
A system for searching FTP site listings, it is available as a Unix command and via telnet.
See also Veronica.
'är-"KIv A single large file from which many smaller files can be extracted, Archive files are often compressed. Generally they are used to make it easier to transfer large programs and sets of files. Common archive formats include ARJ, TAR, ZIP, and ZOO.
A popular archive program available for MS-DOS and other computers.
See Also: TAR, ZIP, and ZOO.
Acronym for Address Resolution Protocol, a protocol for translating between IP addresses and MAC-layer addresses in an ethernet. Defined in RFC 826.
See Also: BOOTP, DHCP, and RARP.
Acronym for Advanced Research Project Administration NETwork. A US Department of Defense project designed as a redudant WAN capable of surviving a nuclear war. Precursor of the Internet
Autonomous System, a unique number identifying an Internet-connected network that has routing policies distinct from their upstream connection(s). Used in the BGP routing protocol.
Acronym for American Standard Code for Information Interchange, which specifies the standard 7-bit character set.
Advanced SCSI programming Interface. The software interface between operating system's device drivers and a SCSI host adapter.
A method of data transfer in which the device cannot proceed to the next block of data until it has received positive acknowledgment that the other device received the block correctly. See Also: synchronous
Asynchronous Transfer Mode. The ITU standard for a cell-relay based communications system encompassing voice, data and video traffic. ATM provides standards for 25Mbps and 155Mbps transmission speeds.
Attachment Unit Interface, the standard ethernet interface between the NIC and a 10-base5 network.
Any system by which a system attempts to validate that a user is in fact who they claim to be, generally using a simple username/password pair. Strong authentication is generally based on at least two of the three ways to prove you are approved for access-
  1. Something you know (a password)
  2. Something you have (a cardkey or other phsical token)
  3. Something you are (voiceprint, fingerprint or retina scan)
AWG American Wire Gauge, a rating of the diameter of a wire, the smaller the number, the larger the wire, and (generally) the higher the current it can carry.
AXFR In DNS, any DNS request for a complete transfer of all records for a zone.
Bandwidth is a measurement for the rate at which data can be transferred, or in non-digital systems, the range of frequencies available for transmission.
Acronym for Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code, a very simple programming language originally designed only for instructing students in rudimentary programming, but occassionally used to build actual applications.
A term referring to the speed at which (usually analog) devices communicate, it refers to the number of transitions in an electronic signal each second. Often used incorrectly to mean BPS. From the scientist J. M. E. Baudot.
An acronym for Bulletin Board System, a type of computer service where people can read and post public messages, similar to Usenet News but on a much smaller scale.
Business Continuation Volume. Used by EMC^2 for filesystem mirroring. If you understand this concept, you can find plenty of employment in consulting with EMC^2's customers. (mskalski)
Border Gateway Protocol, a standard routing protocol, used primarily for routing between large, heterogenous networks with multiple gateways. BGB is defined in RFC 1771. Peer routers exchange routes using TCP port 179. See also AS, EBGP, IBGP, EIGRP.
'bI-"ner-E A system of base-2 arithmatic, binaries numbers have only two possible values, 0 (off, or false) or 1 (on or true). The true language of all digital computers.
'bI-n&'hek-s& Acronym for BINary HEXadecimal. A standard for converting 8-bit files into a 7-bit ASCII format for transmission over non-8-bit-clean mediums such as e-mail. BinHex is commonly used on Macintosh systems.
See also: uuencode, bit.
bye-ose Acronym for Basic Input/Output System, generally the lowest level of the Operating System, defining the set of routines programs can use to interface with hardware.
Acronym for BInary digiT. The smallest unit of space in computing, a bit contains a single binary value.
See also: byte.
A twist-lock connector for coaxial cables
Shorthand for 'robot', generally used to refer to an automated program used to process data with minimal human intervention.
Acronym for bits-per-second, a measurement of bandwidth.
See also: , T1, T3.
To start a computer or other device by loading the Operating System. See also bootstrap
The protocol used to allow a machine to learn it's IP address and other configuration settings from remote server at boot time, as defined in RFC 951.
The ROM routine used to load the OS is often known as the 'bootstrap', from the old expression "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps".
A bridge is any device that connects two physically distinct network segments, usually at a lower network layer than would a router. (lawsona)
Program used for accessing web, gopher and other internet sites. The most well-known browsers are Lynx, Mosaic, and Netscape.
Acronym for British Telecom.
A set of 8 bits, usually representing a single character in English and European languages.
See also: nybble.
A cache is a system for storing frequently accessed information for faster response. Cache memory on your motherboard is extra-fast RAM that keeps a copy of the most recently requested bits from regular RAM. A 'caching proxy web server' keeps the most recently requested web documents stored locally, reducing response time from (often very slow) remote web sites.
French acronym for the international standards organization. The "International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee". Part of the United National International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
A proprietary electronic mail processing system.
Compact Disc, a standard for storing information on an optical media.
A component of network lag, chew is the percentage of packets that are 'eaten' by the network connection. Ideally no packets should be lost, but the Internet is often anything but ideal.
Caller-ID, a system by which the calling-party number (and sometimes the name and called-number) is transmitted to the called party. Similar to, but less powerful than ANI.
Classless interdomain routing, a technique supported by BGP-4 allowing routing routing between multiple independent networks, without the old notion of subnet 'classes' (e.g. Class 'C' network space).
Complex Instruction-Set Computer. A CPU designed with a thorough set of assembly calls, systems based on this philosophy have smaller binaries but generally slower execution of each individual instruction.
See also RISC.
A major network equipment vendor, the name is derived from the city of San Francisco. The company is best known for it's routers and general high quality software and hardware.
The Commercial Internet Exchange is a trade association of internet connectivity providers.
A client connects to a server, with which it exchanges information.
See also: X-window.
A cable with a single inner conductor and outer shield, used primarily for certain ethernet standards and radio frequency (audio and video) transmission.
See also: twinax.
The Component Object Model, the fundamental class of Microsoft's attempt to defuse the growth of Java platform-independent code.
A piece of data given to your browser by a web server, so that your browser will hand it back to the server with subsequent requests. First implemented by Netscape. Although there has been some furor over the privacy implications of cookies, they cannot be used to reveal anything about you to the server that you have not already explicitly revealed. (rebecca)
To make a file smaller by applying a compression algorithm, usually for the purpose of conserving space or speeding up file transfers. This can also refer to the Unix command to compress a file which appends '.Z' to the filename, '.gz' or to the free GNU enhanced version, gzip.
Customer Premise Equipment. On digital circuits provided by the telephone company, any terminating hardware owned by the user and not by the telco is generically referred to as CPE.
Central Processing Unit. The part of a computer that executes commands and interfaces between the various devices and sub-processors.
Cyclic Redundancy Check, a simple checksum used for detecting errors.
A cable or connection which reverses the transmit and receive signals, allowing the direct connection of two devices.
The study of codes, cryptography refers to the making and breaking of algorithms to conceal or otherwise encrypt information. One of the most popular internet encryption schemes is PGP.
Channel Service Unit, a hardware device used to interface between a serial port and a digital circuit, generally a device used to connect a digital circuit to a serial interface is a "CSU/DSU".
An acronym for Client-To-Client-Protocol, a feature of some IRC clients.
Deprecated. A prefix used by newbies and lamers to describe internet related topics, such as "cyberspace".
The process of removing a file from a directory listing. In most cases the data from files that have been deleted still exists until the freed space is reused, but recovery may be difficult if not impossible.
see rm.
Under Unix, a daemon is a process that runs in the background, doing automated processing. The FreeBSD Unix OS has it's own rendition.
Acronym for Direct Client-to-Client, a feature of some IRC client software, allowing users to communicate messages and files directly, bypassing a server. (zajbt)
Data Communications Equipment refers to serially connected communications devices, particularly modems.
See also DTE.
Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, a system by which IP addresses and other low-level network configuration information can be dynamically assigned each time the system loads, similar to the Internet standard bootp. DHCP is defined in RFC 983.
To initiate a connection over a circuit-switched line, either an POTS with a modem or using ISDN.
See also PPP,and SLIP
DIMM Dual Inline Memory Module. A form of memory expansion that consists of a 168-pin plug-in device.
See also SIMM.
The Unix equivalent of Macintosh or MS-Windows 'folder', all files are stored in directories. A directory can be created with the mkdir command and empty directories are removed with rmdir.
Acronym for Domain Name Service, the mechanism by which human-readable hierarchial names are translated to IP addresses, and vice-versa.
An internet 'domain' is a subsection of the internet. The primary domains of the internet are .COM, .INT, .NET, .MIL, and .ORG, which refer to Commercial, International, Network, Military, and Organization. These domains are administered by the Internic. There are also two-letter domains associated with specific countries. Each domain has a primary and secondary Domain Name Server associated with it.
Domain Name Server
Each internet domain has two domain name servers, or DNS. The primary DNS for a domain is usually located on one of the machine in that network, you can often determine the server from the output of the nslookup command.
Disk Operating System, the basic computer instruction set used to provide an interface to storage and other devices. Also, Denial Of Service, a form of attack in which the goal is to make a computing resource unavailable to legitimate users.
See also OS.
A single 64-kbps channel, usually one of the 24 channels in a T1 circuit.
Digital Subscriber Line. A method of providing connectivity at speeds up to 9Mbps using the existing POTS copper wiring.
Digital Subscriber Loop Access Multiplexer. A network device designed to multiplex many individual DSL circuits into a single high speed circuit, generally ATM to an ISP.
Digital Service Unit, a device used to connect a V.35 serial interface to a digital circuit. Generally any CPE that terminates a digital circuit is referred to as a "CSU/DSU".
Date Terminal Equipment, communications hardware such as computers, terminals, and similar equipment, as opposed to DCE such as modems.
Digital Versatile Disk, a high-density mass storage medium similar to CD-ROM, but capable of storing much larger amounts of information due to improvements in recording density and use of multiple layers per side.
An alternative keyboard layout designed for speed. See QWERTY
Deragotory name for a person with limited social and technical skills. Generally a geek wannabe.
European equivalent of a EAR
Export Administration Regulations. The rules under which United States government regulates the export of cryptography software in both binary and source form.
Exterior Border Gateway Protocol. A pair of routers under two distinct Autonomous System administrative domains which exchange routes, such as beetween two ISPs which have a peering agreement.
One of several programs in Unix used to create and modify text files, some common editors include vi, ee and, pico.
An object-oriented programming language designed to encourage reusable, correct software. Created by Bertrand Meyer, the language is named after Gustave Eiffel, the designer of the Eiffel Tower. For more information visit the Eiffel home page and newsgroup
Routing protocol. EIGRP Is IP protocol number 88. See also BGP.
See Mail.
EMC^2 is a company which produces high-capacity high-availablity storage solutions. The name is derived from the initials of the three founders. (mskalski)
The process of using cryptography to protect data from unauthorized access.
Encapsulating Security Payload. A feature of IPSEC. As defined in RFC 2406.
A standard for LAN communications, ethernet defines the hardware and communications standard for communications at 10Mbps over coax, twisted-pair or fiber. There is also a 'fast ethernet' standard for both twisted pair and fiber. Ethernet is defined in IEEE 802.3.
A private network segment providing limited connectivity between a completely non-public intranet, and outside partners or the public internet.
An Acronym for Frequently Asked Questions, these are lists of questions that occur frequently on Usenet newsgroups, they are posted at regular intervals and archived at several sites. You should always read the FAQ (if there is one) for a group before posting a message, or risk being flamed.
A Unix command that provides information about users logged in, and can also be used to retrieve the .plan and .project files from a users home directory.
A firewall is used on some networks to provide added security by blocking access to certain services in the private network from the rest of the internet, in the same way that a firewall in a building keeps fire from spreading, an internet firewall keeps hackers from spreading.
See also: intranet.
An offensive or insulting e-mail or Usenet News message, often the result of an error in netiquette.
A character set or typeface family denoting a particular size and style, either for on-screen display or printing, usually on a laser or inkjet printer.
Acronym for Fully Qualified Domain Name, an address which specifies a specific machine and it's internet domain. "foley" is not a FQDN, however "foley.ripco.com." is.
See also DNS.
Frame Relay Asynchronous Device, a hardware device that interfaces Frame Relay circuits to IP networks.
FSF The Free Software Foundation, backers of HURD and other projects.
See also: OSF.
A file transfer system similar to FTP, distinguished by the ability for servers to run on any port without requiring special privledges, and the lower system load from FSP servers than from FTP.
An Acronym for File Transfer Protocol, a method of retrieving files to your home directory or directly to your computer using SLIP/PPP. There are thousands of FTP sites on the Internet offering files and programs of all kinds.
FUD Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. A special set of tactics used by monopolies to stifle and subvert competitors by spreading the (usually false) perception that the alternative choices are unreliable, unstable, or otherwise risky.
In telecommunications, the Foreign Exchange Office, the FXO interface is the rj-11 connector provided with POTS, this is the interface on the phone itself.
In telecommunications, the Foreign Exchange Station, the FXS interface, a rj-11 connector providing standard phone signaling for POTS. This is generally the wall jack the phone plugs in to.
Deragatory term for a person with limited social skills, and usually strong technical skills. While anybody can become a nerd, geeks are born, not made. The difference between a geek and a dweeb is that dweeb has no redeeming qualities.
is an acronym for Graphic Interchange Format, developed by compuserve this is a very popular format for exchanging pictures, it is slowly being replaced by the JPG image format.
ji-g& Prefix meaning 'billion', as in gigabyte.
See also mega. (molly)
Acronym for "GNU's not Unix". The GNU project's goal is to provide freely redistributable Unix-compatible software.
An information system that predates the modern web, gopher is a text-oriented protocol, now all but obsolete.
Acronym for Global-Regular-Expression-Print, grep is a utility that allows you to search through files for specicif paterns, including regular expressions and strings. fgrep (FAST-GREP) performs a similar function without expanding special characters from a string.
See also Regular Expression. (rezidew)
Acronym for Graphical User Interface, such as the Mosaic(tm) browser and the Macintosh and MS-Windows systems.
A free compression program commonly available as a Unix command for file compression, gzip, which is also available for MS-DOS, compresses files and appends either '.z' or '.gz' to the filename.
Any machine can be a host. The machine you log into is your 'login host', the machine you read news from is a 'news host', etc.
Acronym for HyperText Markup Language, the underlying formatting for World-Wide-Web documents. A Primer explaining the format is available for beginners.
Acronym for HyperText Transport Protocol the system for requesting HTML documents from the World-Wide-Web.
Information Superhighway
Deprecated. A term often used by newbies and Al Gore to describe the Internet.
See also: cyber.
A directory or WWW page that is 'owned' by a user is often referred to as their 'home directory' or 'home page'.
A popular program for the Macintosh used to convert binary files into the 7-bit BinHex format so they can be sent as text.
See also: uuencode.
In networks (primarily ethernet) arranged with a 'star' topology (as opposed to a 'ring'), the central connecting device is usually known as the 'hub'. (temagami)
A FSF project to build a multi-server operating system based on the MACH kernel.
A system of "live" documents where a text file contains references to other documents that can be followed, thus linking documents to other related materials. The best known example is HTML.
Interior Border Gateway Protocol A pair of routers within a single Autonomous System administrative domain which exchange routes using BGP.
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the not-for-profit organization that is responsible for domain name registration, based in Marina Del Rey, California.
Internet Control Message Protocol, the standard error and control message protocol for Internet systems. Defined in RFC 792. The most well known use of ICMP messages is the Echo Request - Echo Reply sequence used by ping.
A graphical image representing a (usually easily recognized) function or control, usually reacts to being selected by performing some useful or entertaining action. A primary feature of most GUIs.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, IEEE is the world's largest technical professional society.
IEEE 802.3
The IEEE standard defining the ethernet communications standard.
The Internet Engineering Task Force, The IETF is the protocol engineering and development arm of the Internet, the IETF home page provides specific information in excruciating detail.
Internet Key Exchange.
Shorthand for In My Humble Opinion.
See also: ROTFL, and TMK.
A loose confederation of networks around the world, the networks that make up the Internet are connected through several backbone networks. The Internet grew out of the U.S. Government ARPAnet project, and is specifically designed to have no central governing authority or 'root', node.
The Internic provides the primary directory and registration services for the American part of the Internet.
A private network using standard internet protocols but with limited or no connectivity to the public internet. An intranet is often connected to the public networks via a firewall.
Internet Protocol, the standard communications scheme used for internet connected hosts, as specified in RFC 791.
Internet Protocol SECurity, a set of protocols for encryption of IP traffic. There are two IPSEC modes, 'payload' encryption where only the packet data portion is encrypted, and 'tunnel' where the original packet headers are encrypted and encapsulated in another packet. Defined in RFC 2401.
Acronym for Internet Relay Chat, a world-wide distributed live chat system.
Pronounced /eye-suh-kemp/, Internet Security Association Key Management Protocol, a authentication system for the secure exchange of encryption keys.
See also: IKE, IPSEC.
Acronym for Integrated Services Digital Network, a high-speed digital phone system that supersedes POTS.
See also: PRI and the ISDN Glossary. (lorenzen)
Acronym for Internet Service Provider, these are the companies that provide access to end users of the Internet, as opposed to NSPs. There are several lists of regional ISPs, including NetUSA.
Acronym for United National International Telecommunications Union.
Java Java is platform-independent object-oriented programming language. Originally developed as 'oak' by Sun Microsystems's Green Project in 1991, Java is superficially very similar to C++, but is unique in many ways. Java interpreters have been ported to every viable computing platform in existence.
Java Bean
A Java bean is a Java class that follows specific conventions, called a component model, making it simple to connect beans (classes) together with minimum effort. Among other advantages, beans provide a bridge between Java and ActiveX.
The language used within a particular field. Computer Jargon is compiled in the definitive Jargon File
An variable-compression image format, JPeG supports true color images and lossy compression. The name comes from Joint Pictures Expert Group.
A terminal program and file transfer protocol, kermit can be used to download files from a remote system to your home computer. Kermit is distinguished by it's ability to transfer files over telnet and other connections that would corrupt a binary transfer. It is officially available from the Columbia University Kermit software collection.
The Kernel is the set of functions that make up the operating system, used to provide an application interface between programs and the underlying virtual and physical devices.
A password, pass phrase, or other sequence used to access encrypted information, the key 'unlocks' controlled data or systems.
Key Escrow
Giving copies of your key to a third party, allowing them to decrypt messages. Key Escrow is proposed as a solution to allow businesses to review documents encrypted by their employees, and governments to intercept communications and files encrypted by their citizens, such as the 'Clipper' proposal by the United States.
A Kilobyte consists of 1,024 bytes.
See also: megabyte.
The Korn Shell is a standard Unix shell, this command-line/batch interface was written by David Korn of Bell labs, and is available as public-domain source in pdksh. (bdillon)
Acronym for Local Area Network, a LAN is a network contained within a single physical site (one or more buildings), as opposed to a WAN.
The delay in information coming across the network through telnet or other types of connections, usually caused by a slow or error-prone connection somewhere between the two communicating machines. Technically there are two causes of lag, the second being chew.
A user who behaves in a stupid or uneducated manner, a description often applied to newbies.
Network protocols consist of several layers, from the lowest physical (cable, fiber, etc) level to more abstract layers of signaling, data formats, and addressing standards. Under the OSI model there are seven layers.
Link Control Protocol. The low-level communications protocol used in PPP to negotiate and maintain the (usually serial) communications link.
Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, a standard mechanism for accessing X.500 and other directory services.
A leased-line is a dedicated (thus "leased") connection linking two or more points without going through any switching equipment.
See also: T1, T3, ISDN and the ISDN Glossary
Line Printer Daemon. The Unix standard print service daemon listens on TCP> port 515 for print service requests. Windows NT Server 4.0 includes lpd emulation as 'TCP/IP print services'. Defined in RFC 1179.
Following a newsgroup or sitting on an IRC channel and reading the messages without saying anything, as if you were 'lurking in the shadows', staying out of sight of the other users.
Unix command used to list files and directories.
Lan Work Place. A Novell product allowing both IP and IPX on the same MS/DOS machine.
Lynx A popular text-only web browser, distributed by the University of Kansas.
Metro Area Ethernet, now a generic term for any location where numerous providers "peer" (exchange traffic).
MAC Address
The low-level address assigned to a device on an ethernet, MAC addresses are translated to IP addresses via ARP. Each NIC is assigned a unique address at the factory.
An open source operating system, using by NeXT and others. See also HURD.
The Unix command for viewing the online manual pages on a Unix system.
Electronic Mail is a means of exchanging private text messages through the Internet and other networks. The most popular mail readers on Unix are Elm and Pine. It is also possible to read mail across a SLIP connection with a client program connected to a popmail server. The most popular client for home computers is Eudora.
Prefix conventionally meaning "thousand", in computers sometimes a megabyte can refer to either to 1,024 kilobytes or exactly one million bytes. Marketers usually use the 'incorrect' value of one million bytes because it inflates the total by about 5%. (molly)
A prefix meaning to provide added meaning, transcending or going beyond, however meta is nearly as abused a term as cyber. A 'meta' key is a key (shift, control, etc) that is used to change the meaning of other keys when used in combination. From the Greek, meaning 'with'. You can basically think of 'meta' as meaning 'this, but something more'. Transcendental metatation?
Management Information Base. A set of parameters used to define the information available from an SNMP-capable device.
A major operating system corporation, operated by Bill Gates.
Musical Instrument Digital Interface. Extensive documentation is provided by the MMA. (dana)
An acronym for
Acronym for Millions of Instructions Per Second, a measure of the speed of computing devices. (congournet)
The Unix command to create a new directory.
Shorthand for MODulator/DEModulator, a modem allows the transmission of digital information over an analog phone line. A modem dictionary is available that defines all the basic terms.
A graphical browser available for Unix, MS-Windows(tm) and Macintosh(tm), created by the NCSA. Often used as a generic term for any graphical browser.
Meaning 'to change forms', in computer graphics 'morphing' is an animation transforming a picture from one image to another, as in this example.
Acronym for massively parallel process(ing|er), a method of solving a equation or other problem by breaking it down into numerous smaller equations that can be solved in parallel. Often used in cryptography. (wick@mac.mei.co.jp)
Microsoft DOS, an older non-graphical operating system, predecessory to Microsoft Windows.
Acronym for Multi-User Dungeon, a type of text based adventure game accessed with telnet or a specialized client program. There are many types of MUD including Diku, MOO, and MUSE.
A Unix command, 'mv' can be used to rename a single file, or to move multiple files to a different directory. (shinchey)
Acronym for Mail eXchange. MX is a DNS record used to define the host(s) willing to accept mail for a given machine.
Acronym for Network Access Point, the major internet providers usually have peering points at one or more NAPs.
Acronym for Network Access Server, this is a terminal server designed specifically to provide remote connectivity via PPP and similar protocols.
Acronym for Network Address Translation, a system included with many routers and some operation systems where many hosts "behind" the router, or firewall host are translated to a single real IP address. Fundamentally, NAT is great for any use where the inside client opens a connection out to a remote site (web browsing), or where the two ends rendevous on a selected, random port (IRC's CTCP, FTP), but problematic where a specific port is used and more than one of the translated machines need to accept new connections in from outside, such as in web serving, online games, and other servers.
The "n" word, this term is deragatory when used by outsiders, but acceptable when used to describe a fellow nerd. While geeks must be born, nerds are made, the most famous case being Bill Gates.
The informal set of rules for using the Internet, ignoring them may result in being flamed or mail-bombed. Guidelines for usenet news can be found in news.announce.newusers.
A commercial GUI World-Wide-Web browser for X-Windows, MS-Windows and Macintosh, available from Netscape Communications.
Somebody new to the Internet, or to computers in general. If you needed to look this up, you are most likely a newbie.
A message area in the Usenet News, each newsgroup can be either 'moderated' with only postings approved by a moderator publically posted, or 'unmoderated' where all messages are distributed to the newsgroup immediately.
The Unix workstation manufactuered for several years by NeXT, designed to run the MACH operating system, NeXTSTEP.
An acronym for Network FileSystem, this is one method of sharing files across a LAN or through the internet.
See also: AFS.
An acronym for Network Interface Card or for Network Information Center, such as the Internic. Not to be confused with NOC.
Network Information Service, a data-distribution method popular on Sun workstations. Originally created as Yellow Pages (YP) until forced to change due to trademark infringement on British Telecom
Network Layer Reachability Information. Used primarily in Cisco router configurations.
Acronym for Network News Transfor Protocol, a system for reading and writing Usenet News articles across a network, this service is defined by RFC number 977.
Network Operations Center, a site used by a business or other operation for controlling and monitoring a LAN and/or WAN.
An acronym for National Science Foundation, the NSFNet became officially disconnected from the primary Internet on April 30, 1995.
An acronym for Network Service Provider, these are the companies that provide connectivity to the internet for ISPs and others requiring high speed connections between their LANs and the Internet.
A "nybble" is four bits (one-half of a byte). Nybble chips were occasionally used to conserve costs where only values from 0-15 will be stored.
ob- /ob/
abbreviation for "obligatory. An oft-neglected facet of netiquette in which the author of a usenet post includes a bit of on-topic material to justify an otherwise off-topic posting.
See also Jargon's definition
Object Linking and Embedding, Microsoft's proprietary mechanism for allowing documents and applications to access data and subroutines from within other applications. OLE is itself built on top of COE. OLE is a major component of ActiveX, and sees some minimal use in linking data (primarily video and audio clips) across applications.
Object Oriented, any programming language or other system which is based on the concept of grouping related routines and data structures together in 'objects'.
Out-Of-Band, meaning information sent outside of the normal communications stream.
Operating System, the basic instruction set used to provide a computer with the routines necessary to communicate with the user and hardware devices.
See also BIOS.
Open Software Foundation, backers of MACH and other projects.
See Also: FSF.
An internet routing protocol, this stands for Open Shortest Path First. This is a relatively new protocol with many enhancements over RIP and other older systems. Defined in RFC number 1583.
See also VLSM, Router.
On The Other Hand. Internet Chat shorthand.
A packet is a standardized unit of data. In network communications a packet generally consists of a "header" with identifying information and a "body" containing the data to be transmitted.
Palmtops are a class of personal computers (generally with PDA software) that fit in the palm of your hand. One of the most well-known palmtops is the Pilot, developed by PalmOS and marketed by US Robotics.
Parallel data communications send several bits over the connection (usually multiple physical wires) at once, as opposed to serial links which send one bit at a time. Parallel connections are generally used for printers and for some high speed data connections.
The Portable Application Standards Committee, PASC is charted by IEEE to define stardard application service interfaces, primarily for POSIX.
Private Branch Exchange. A privately-owned telephone switch, often used in large corporations to provide inside telephone connectivity and access to the PSTN.
Privacy Enhanced Mail, a standard for the transparent processing of authenticated and/or encrypted electronic mail messages.
Acronym for Personal Digital Assistant, a general term for any portable computer and software capable of tracking names, addresses, phone numbers and appointments. PDA's are generally classified according to size into palmtops, handhelds, and laptops.
Pretty Good Privacy, the world's most widely used encryption software package.
Acronym for PHonebook, a PH client program can be used to access a networked telephone book, such as QI (CCSO Nameserver) database. QI databases are generally used to store phone books, timetables, and other forms of public information for remote network access.
A small furry animal which lives in Terra del Fuego. Difficult to hunt, due to its nocturnal habit, the Pim is worth the chase. Although a full grown pim dresses out at under two ounces, a dozen make a tasty treat. Natives of Terra del Fuego often eat nothing else but pimburgers during the long cold summers in this wind swept land.
See also PDA. (ed_black)
A network program which sends UDP packets to a host, and listens for responses. Used to check if a machine on the Internet is alive and reachable, and measure the Round Trip Time (RTT) between the local and remote host.
See also traceroute.
Pixel The smallest individually controllable element of a video or printed image. A digital image is composed of an array of individual pixels, each of which is assigned a value determining the color or brightness.
The basic system on which applications execute, a platform can refer to the processor and low-level support chips, as in 'this runs on both Sparc and Intel platforms' or a complete operating system, such as the many games that will only run on the 'Microsoft Windows 95' platform.
Acronym for Post Office Protocol, an extensible protocol for retrieving mail from a remote server. Described in RFC number 1081, and extended in 1460, and 1725.
See also:
See Popmail, IMAP, and QWK
A program used to remotely read e-mail across a network, often used in conjunction with SLIP. Uses the POP protocol.
An acronym for Point-to-Point-Protocol, an advanced serial packet protocol similar to SLIP.
Originally POSICE for Portable Operating System Interface for Computer Environments, POSIX is developed under pasc. (rezidew)
Any standard for the exchange of information, a protocol defines the specific wording and control flow for communications between two or more programs, devices, or systems. (anonymous)
A proxy is somebody you delegate to do something for you, in the Internet, a 'proxy web server' is often used for hosts behind firewalls. The firewalled host sends a http request to the proxy server, which forwards it to the real web server outside, collects the response, and passes it back to the internal host.
Public Switched Telephone Network. Often used to refer to the entire national or global telephone infrastructure, this is more accurately used to refer to the local telephone service provider.
An acronym for Query Interface, The QI (generally based on the CCSO Nameserver) is a database system that can be accessed by ph client programs to retrieve and edit entries in the server. This is generally used for phonebook services, but can be used in any database application. Further information is available.
The standard english-language keyboard layout. Term comes from the first six letters below the row of numbers.
See also: DVORAK
A format for offline mail and news reader packets, originally made popular on MS-DOS BBSs.
Quine A program that generates a copy of it's own source text as it's complete output. From the logician Willard van Orman Quine. The Quine page
Remote Authentication Dial-In user Service. A standard for authentication and accounting, RADIUS is primarily used to control dial-up access to PPP and other services. The protocal was standardized in RFC 2058, the current implementation is defined in RFCs 2138 and 2139. RADIUS uses UDP packets, older servers use ports 1645 and 1646, the current standard is port 1812 for authentication and 1813 for accounting.
See also TACACS.
Acronym for Random Access Memory, a form of primary storage that allows direct read and write operations. RAM storage is generally a very high-speed medium that requires constant power to avoid data loss.
See also ROM. (rezidew)
Reverse ARP, a mechanism to match a MAC address to the corresponding IP address.
Remote Access Server. Generally used to refer to NT services, RAS is similar to NAS both terms describe specialized models of terminal server
Realtime Blackhole List. A list of open mail relays and rogue sites, maintained by Paul Vixie. Subscribers to the RBL reject all mail and/or connection attempts from RBL'd IP addresses, effectively cutting off irresponsible/incompetent domains from the rest of the Internet. Subscription is completely voluntary, details are at http://maps.vix.com/rbl/.
Regular Expression.
Regular Expressions use Meta Characters to express variable parts of a pattern to be matched. Regular Expression. (rezidew)
Acronym for Request For Comment, these a broad range of notes covering a variety of topics related to the Internet. RFCs are handled by the IETF and are archived at several sites.
Router Information Protocol, a standard mechanism for exchanging routes (paths) between routers, this protocol is slowly being replaced by OSPF. RIP is specified in RFC 1058.
Reduced Instruction Set Computer. A CPU based on a limited number of basic instructions, systems using RISC result in larger binary files but overally faster execution of each instruction.
The Unix command. to delete a file from a directory.
The Unix command. to delete a directory.
Acronym for Read-Only Memory, ROM is used for permanent storage, such as system bootstrap routines.
See also RAM. (rezidew)
1: The 'base' or bottom of a system. e.g. the 'root directory' is the lowest possible directory in a filesystem, and in X11 the 'root window' is the background on which all other windows are drawn. 2: In Unix, the user 'root' is the user that owns the system and has full superuser power.
A simple form of encryption in which the letters A-M are transposed with the letters L-Z, often used in Usenet postings of offensive jokes to prevent people from accidentally reading a disturbing message.
Shorthand for Rolling On the Floor Laughing.
See also: IMHO, TMK.
A router is a special type of internet host that gateways (transfers) packets between two or more networks.
Ruby A scripting language influenced by Perl and Eiffel. Ruby Home Page
A segment is a physically or logically distinct section of a network. Segments are used to isolate network traffic, and often have specific limitations on their physical size and number of hosts and other physical connections.
A popular Mail Transport Agent, sendmail is a popular mail processing package used primarily on older Unix systems.
A serial communications circuit sends the individual bits over the connection one by one, as opposed to a parallel communication circuit. Most home computer data communications are done over serial links.
A server provides information or other services to it's clients. Most network protocols are client-server based. While a server usually refers to an entire machine, it's can also be used to refer to a particular daemon on that machine.
Acronym for Standard Generalized Markup Language, a generic grammar used as the basis for many document formats. Additional information on SGML is available from w3.org.
One of several command line interfaces available on Unix machines, some common unix shells include Bourne, Korn, tcsh, and the Bourne Again shell (from GNU.
Acronym for Serial Line Internet Protocol, SLIP is a serial packet protocol used to connect a remote computer to the Internet using modems or direct connections, SLIP requires an Internet provider with special SLIP accounts or a shell account a SLIP emulator such as TIA(tm) or SLiRP.
An acronym for Simple Mail Transport Protocol, which defines a common mechanism for exchanging mail across a network. This protocol is described in RFC number 821. Usually SMTP is incorporated in a MTA
Snail Mail
The U.S. Postal service or other form of ground mail. As opposed to E-Mail
Simple Network Mangement Protocol, a system for configuring and monitoring devices on IP networks, as defined in RFC 1157. The protocol defines both standard and device-specific MIBs specifying what information is available and how to access it.
A popular canned meat product. Also, bulk, mass, or repeated posting or mailing of substantially identical messages. The emphasis is on the multiple sending, either many copies to one destination, or one copy to many destinations. This is a reference to the famous Monty Python Spam sketch.
Service Protocol Identifier, used in some ISDN hardware to register a particular device to the central office switch.
SQL Structured Query Language. A standard programming language for access to database systems.
A standard for cryptographic connections over a TCP connection.
The practice of hiding one piece of information inside of another. The most common example is watermarking.
Secure Telnet
The term used by newbies to descripbe exploring the Internet, usually through a World-Wide-Web browser, a metaphor from real surfing.
A leased-line specification providing for 24 frames with an aggregate bandwidth of up to 1.544Mbps.
See also E1
A leased-line specification providing for an aggregate bandwidth of 44.746Mbps.
Terminal Access Control Access Control System. An obsolete standard for authentication, TACAS was commonly used on Cisco and other terminal servers and routers. TACACS was defined in RFC 1492, and is superseded by TACACS+ and RADIUS.
Terminal Access Control Access Control System, TACACS+ adds enhanced support for challenge-response authentication and encrypted communication between the client and server.
See also AAA> and RADIUS.
A program used to create a single file archive from several files, often used to distribute programs for Unix. The Unix command has many options.
A unit of measurement of data storage capacity, a terabyte is 1,000 gigabytes, or approximately 1.0485760e12. (cole)
Any display unit or host used interactively. Generally used to refer to a serially connected text-only remote access device.
Terminal Server
A network device used to connect multiple terminals or other remote devices to a network.
See also: NAS and RAS.
Acronym for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, a Networking standard commonly used on the Internet.
A communications protocol for connecting to other computers locally or across the Internet.
Trivial File Transfer Protocol, this is a simplified version of FTP without authentication and many other basic features. Often used for booting devices over a network.
The animated download 'working' icon in the upper right corner of most graphical web browsers.
An acronym for The Internet Adapter, a program that allows pseudo- SLIP connections from a normal shell account. Also used to mean 'Thanks in Advance'. The program TIA has been discontinued, superceded by SLiRP is a free program that performs a similar function.
See also: TCP/IP, Internet.
Shorthand for To My Knowledge
See also: ROTFL, IMHO.
Similar to ping, traceroute shows the route to a selected host (note that the route to a host may differ from the route from a host) with the time required for a packet to get to each intermediate host or router.
An unswitched line between telephone or long-distance company offices, used to carry voice, data, or billing information. (suess)
Similar to coax, but with two internal conductors, Twinaxial cable is the standard for connecting IBM 3270 terminals.
Unsolicted Commercial Email, one form of SPAM.
Acronym for User Datagram Protocal, a simple connectionless TCP service.
A popular multi-user operating system, the name is a play on an even older system, MULTICS.
An acronym for Uniform Resource Locator, URL's are a standardized format for giving a pointer to information available from gopher,WWW, finger and other servers A Primer explaining the use of URL's is available. Defined in RFC 1738, they were extended to include relative (short) URLs in RFC 1808.
Usenet News
A network of systems that exchange articles using NNTP, UUCP, and other protocols to establish public message conferences on some or all of over 10,000 topics or newsgroups. There are many common news readers, some that can run on your home computer via SLIP and the Unix newsreaders, tin, trn, and nn.
Universal Serial Bus. A serial communications standard available on new Macintosh and PC systems, this is a 12Mbps bus. The USB standard provides for up to 127 devices on a single bus, there are fewer than a dozen different USB devices on the market.
An acronym for Unix to Unix CoPy, UUCP is a protocol used for the store-and-forward exchange of mail, Usenet News and other files, usually over a modem.
A popular method of exchanging binary files in Mail and via Usenet News the uuencode program converts a binary file into a (larger) file of alphanumeric characters that will not be corrupted when sent as a text file. UUEncode is available as a Unix command as well as MS-DOS and Macintosh versions. To convert the file back to the original binary form you can use the uudecode program or the popular Unix extraction program uuconvert.
The new 56k analog modem standard as defined by the Veronica
Very Easy Rodent Oriented Net-wide Index to Computerized Archives, A program to track down information from Gopher databases.
Virtual items have no direct corresponding physical equivalent, for example most computers have one or more physical hard drives, on which can be defined a number of virtual storage areas called partitions.
Van-Jacobson Compression
A form of IP header compression used for SLIP connections
Variable Length Subnet Masks are a mechanism for providing subnets of different sizes within a single IP block. Implemented in the OSPF routing protocol.
Virtual Private Network, the concept of using the internet or other 'public' carriers as transit for private network traffic, usually in encrypted form.
Virtual Reality Modeling Language, a means of specifying three-dimensional environments, primarily used for web sites. For more information, see The VRML Repository. (ignacio)
Acronym for Wide Area Network, which is generally a network connecting several physically distant locations, as opposed to a LAN. The Internet is an example of a worldwide WAN.
A newbie term for pirated computer software, generally distributed via BBS systems, Usenet News and other electronic means. (anonymous)
A hidden trademark or other identifying information embedded in a file allowing for the tracking of illegal distribution of copyrighted data.
See also: Steganography.
A type of dictionary server available at many educational sites, public servers were common until copyright concerns caused most of them to be closed to outside access.
A distributed hypertext information system that uses HTTP to retrieve text and graphics, often erroneously referred to by the name of one type of browser, Mosaic.
One of the most popular implementations of the X-Window system, X11 is supported by the Open Group X Project team.
A packet-switched data network.
A CCITT standard for mail formats.
X.400 A communications network tool. X.400 defines a message transfer protocol with advanced access control and accounting features
A directory system, X.500 is being superseded by more modern LDAP systems.
One of the earliest reliable file transfer protocols, Xmodem was written in 1977 by Ward Christiansen for use on the first BBS.
See also Ymodem and Zmodem.
A network-based GUI designed for Unix systems, there are thousands of free applications available as source code and compiled executables for X-Window compatible systems, including PC-based X-terminal emulators. X-Windowing systems are interesting in that they reverse the usual client- server metaphor.
Yellow Book The international standard defining the physical properties of a CD-ROM disk.
A file transfer protocol based on X-Modem, Y-Modem was designed by Chuck Forsberg to add batch transmission, and variable block size.
See Also Xmodem and Ymodem.
Yellow Pages, the original name for the NIS system before British Telecom asserted their trademark.
A compression and archiving format made popular on the MS-DOS/PC platform with the PKzip software, Zip offers one of the best compression ratios of the popular formats.
A file transfer protocol based on X-Modem, Y-Modem was designed by Chuck Forsberg to add batch transmission, and variable block size.
See Also Xmodem and Ymodem.
An area under a particular administrative or other control, for example a domain name is a 'zone' in the name server configuration. Generally a zone can be further divided into subzones with authority delegated to their own administrators and servers.
A compression and archiving format made popular on the Amiga system, zoo is available in public-domain executables for most major operating systems.