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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
bang path
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1. communications An old-style UUCP electronic-mailaddress naming a sequence of hosts through which a message
must pass to get from some assumed-reachable location to the
addressee (a "source route"). So called because each hop
is signified by a bang sign (exclamation mark). Thus, for
example, the path
directs people to route their mail to computer bigsite
(presumably a well-known location accessible to everybody) and
from there through the computer foovax to the account of user
me on barbox.
Before autorouting mailers became commonplace, people often
published compound bang addresses using the convention
(see glob) to give paths from *several* big computers, in
the hope that one's correspondent might be able to get mail to
one of them reliably. e.g.
...!seismo, ut-sally, ihnp4!rice!beta!gamma!me
Bang paths of 8 to 10 hops were not uncommon in 1981.
Late-night dial-up UUCP links would cause week-long
transmission times. Bang paths were often selected by both
transmission time and reliability, as messages would often get