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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary (also found in English - Vietnamese, English - English (Wordnet), )
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character /awlt/ 1. The alt modifier key on many
keyboards, including the IBM PC. On some keyboards and
operating systems, (but not the IBM PC) the alt key sets bit
7 of the character generated.
2. The "clover" or "Command" key on a Macintosh; use of
this term usually reveals that the speaker hacked PCs before
coming to the Mac (see also feature key). Some Mac hackers,
confusingly, reserve "alt" for the Option key (and it is so
labelled on some Mac II keyboards).
3. (Obsolete PDP-10; often "ALT") An alternate name for the
ASCII ESC character (Escape, ASCII 27), after the keycap
labelling on some older terminals; also "altmode"
(/awlt'mohd/). This character was almost never pronounced
"escape" on an ITS system, in TECO or under TOPS-10,
always alt, as in "Type alt alt to end a TECO command" or
"alt-U onto the system" (for "log onto the [ITS] system").
This usage probably arose because alt is easier to say.
4. messaging One of the Usenet newsgroup hierarchies.
It was founded by John Gilmore and Brian Reid. The alt
hierarchy is special in that anyone can create new groups here
without going though the normal voting proceduers, hence the
regular appearence of new groups with names such as