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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
plan file
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operating system On Unix systems that support finger,
the ".plan" file in a user's home directory is displayed
when the user is fingered. This feature was originally
intended to be used to keep potential fingerers apprised of
one's location and near-future plans, but has been turned
almost universally to humorous and self-expressive purposes
(like a sig block). See also Hacking X for Y.
A later innovation in plan files was the introduction of
"scrolling plan files" which are one-dimensional animations
made using only the printable ASCII character set, carriagereturn and line feed, avoiding terminal specific escapesequences, since the finger command will (for security
reasons; see letterbomb) not pass the escape character.
Scrolling .plan files have become art forms in miniature, and
some sites have started competitions to find who can create
the longest running, funniest, and most original animations.
A compiler (ASP) is available on Usenet for producing them.
Typical animation components include: