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Definitions of bit bucket

  1. 1. (Or "write-only memory", "WOM") The universaldata sink (originally, the mythical receptacle used to catchbits when they fall off the end of a register during ashift instruction). Discarded, lost, or destroyed data issaid to have "gone to the bit bucket". On Unix, often usedfor /dev/null. Sometimes amplified as "the Great Bit Bucketin the Sky".2. The place where all lost mail and news messages eventuallygo. The selection is performed according to Finagle's Law;important mail is much more likely to end up in the bit bucketthan junk mail, which has an almost 100% probability ofgetting delivered. Routing to the bit bucket is automaticallyperformed by mail-transfer agents, news systems, and the lowerlayers of the network.3. The ideal location for all unwanted mail responses: "Flamesabout this article to the bit bucket." Such a request isguaranteed to overflow one's mailbox with flames.4. Excuse for all mail that has not been sent. "I mailed youthose figures last week; they must have landed in the bitbucket." Compare black hole.This term is used purely in jest. It is based on the fancifulnotion that bits are objects that are not destroyed but onlymisplaced. This appears to have been a mutation of an earlierterm "bit box", about which the same legend was current;old-time hackers also report that trainees used to be toldthat when the CPU stored bits into memory it was actuallypulling them "out of the bit box".Another variant of this legend has it that, as a consequenceof the "parity preservation law", the number of 1 bits that goto the bit bucket must equal the number of 0 bits. Anyimbalance results in bits filling up the bit bucket. Aqualified computer technician can empty a full bit bucket aspart of scheduled maintenance.In contrast, a "chad box" is a real container used to catchchad. This may be related to the origin of the term "bitbucket" [Comments ?]. foldoc_fs
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