a random, hopefully interesting, adage
is run with no arguments it prints out
a random epigram. Epigrams are divided into several categories, where each
category is subdivided into those which are potentially offensive and those
which are not. The options are as follows:
- Choose from all lists of maxims, both offensive and not.
(See the -o option for more information on
- Consider all fortune files to be of equal size (see
discussion below on multiple files).
- Print out the list of files which would be searched, but
don't print a fortune.
- Ignore case for -m
- Long dictums only.
- Print out all fortunes which match the regular expression
re_format(7) for a
description of patterns.
- Choose only from potentially offensive aphorisms.
please, please request a potentially offensive fortune if and only if you
believe, deep down in your heart, that you are willing to be offended.
(And that if you are, you'll just quit using
-o rather than give us grief about it,
... let us keep in mind the basic governing philosophy
of The Brotherhood, as handsomely summarized in these words:
we believe in healthy, hearty laughter -- at the expense of
the whole human race, if needs be. Needs be.
--H. Allen Smith, "Rude Jokes"
- Short apothegms only.
- Wait before termination for an amount of time calculated
from the number of characters in the message. This is useful if it is
executed as part of the logout procedure to guarantee that the message can
be read before the screen is cleared.
The user may specify alternate sayings. You can specify a specific
which contains one or more files,
or the special word all
, which says to use all
the standard databases. Any of these may be preceded by a percentage, which is
a number N
between 0 and 100 inclusive,
followed by a ‘%’ character. If it is, there will be an
percent probability that an adage will be
picked from that file
. If the percentages do not sum to
100, and there are specifications without percentages, the remaining percent
will apply to those files and/or directories, in which case the probability of
selecting from one of them will be based on their relative sizes.
As an example, given two databases funny
twice as big, saying
$ fortune funny not-funny
will get you fortunes out of funny
the time. The command
$ fortune 90% funny 10% not-funny
will pick out 90% of its fortunes from funny
“10%” is unnecessary, since 10% is all that's left). The
option says to consider all files equal; thus
is equivalent to
$ fortune 50% funny 50% not-funny
Datafiles for fortune
are created by a utility
. Although not installed by
default, the source code and a manual page for this utility can be found in
, if it exists.
- The character encoding
locale(1). If unset or set
to “C”, “POSIX”, or an unsupported value,
bytes that are not printable ASCII characters are replaced with question
marks in the output.
- Fortune files.