Skip to content

Instantly share code, notes, and snippets.

Last active March 21, 2024 18:04
Show Gist options
  • Save lenards/3739917 to your computer and use it in GitHub Desktop.
Save lenards/3739917 to your computer and use it in GitHub Desktop.
Greybeard Definition
An aging [unix hacker] type with an impressive [unix beard] that has now turned grey. Originally a young [neckbeard], these [Gandalf] resembling [curmudgeons] are renowned for their knowledge of theoretical computer science, arcane unix and complete inability to use a remotely contemporary computer.
Typically employed in academia, they are a dying breed from an antediluvian age of 8" [floppies], magnetic tape and timeshared computing. Despite having invented multiuser OSes and the internet, Greybeards prefer to live in the past, where they consider [Fortran] to be a high level programming language. Typical Greybeard computers are dated [Sun workstations] or old PCs running a command line only [BSD] variant, Greybeards shun GUIs, unless they're horrible and dated, like CDE or [Amiga] Workbench.
Some, like Edsger Dijkstra do most of their computer science as entirely theoretical exercises on paper and haven't programmed a computer since 1972.
Contacting a greybeard can be dificult, due to their anti-social and neo-luddite nature. Your best bet is to give up on texting, facebook or the phone and instead try the unix finger command or [HAM radio].
Famous greybeards include: Dennis Ritchie, Brian Kernighan, Ken Thompson, Richard M. Stallman, Edsger Dijkstra.
Note: an actual beard can be optional, as demonstrated by Donald Knuth and Clifford Stoll.
Example: The professor for my CS 320 class is a total greybeard! All his handouts are typset in LaTeX, he uses the chalkboard instead showing slides and the computer in his office is a Sun workstation! He only accepts classwork in Lisp and checks his email once a week!
Copy link

lenards commented May 25, 2022

I'm surprised no one mentioned that there was a typo in the spelling of Dennis Ritchie's name.

Copy link

twome commented Aug 5, 2023

lmao, love this. really gets right at the core of the phenomenon

Sign up for free to join this conversation on GitHub. Already have an account? Sign in to comment