You know you are a unix programmer when…

…writing prose, you type the word “creat” and are surprised when the spell checker underlines it in red.

H. Peter Anvin January 23, 2014 10:13

I don’t think I’ve ever actually used creat().  Even when I first read about it I was like “that’s just a subset of open()…”

Steve Baker January 23, 2014 10:42

Mmmm - same here.  I’ve been a UNIX programmer since 1976 and I don’t think I’ve ever used it!  The example I’d have come up with is using the verb ‘grep’ to mean any kind of exhaustive, painful. search (eg “I’ve got to grep the couch cushions for the TV remote”) - which is becoming overtaken by ‘google’.  Grep is just a word in my vocabulary - I’ve almost forgotten that it’s the name of a command line tool - rather than the tool being (rather logically) named for the activity it performs!  Nearly everyone has forgotten why it’s called that.  It comes from a string of characters that you’d type into the ancient ‘ed’ text editor to do that job - “Globally search for a Regular Expression and Print”.

Michael K Johnson January 23, 2014 10:50

I don’t use “creat()” either. But I’ve seen it enough for it to start feeling normal for whatever reason. (My typo was from my finger slipping on the “e”, not because I actually intentionally type “creat” for “create” even when coding.)

But mostly I was trying to be funny.

Steve Baker January 23, 2014 10:57


% man creat



        This interface is made obsolete by: open(2).


BSD         June 2, 1993      BSD

So it was obsolete in 1993!  It must be really old-school.   I wonder where you’ve started seeing it?

Steve Baker January 23, 2014 11:05

(ob: spell-check story)

When I first used unix (v6 - on a PDP-11), I was writing up some coursework and decided to use ‘spell’, which was a radically amazing program for the time!   Sadly, it decided that every occurrence of the word “UNIX” should be replaced by “unisex”,  I couldn’t believe that nobody bothered to put the name of the operating system into it’s dictionary.  For the next 18 months until graduation, my entire class was calling it “the unisex operating system(tm)”.

Michael K Johnson January 23, 2014 11:35

I’ve spent years responsible for applying (often backporting) security patches. These aren’t always to the best-written code. But really, the post was meant as a joke. Don’t take it too seriously!

H. Peter Anvin January 23, 2014 16:16

Neither were our comments. :)

H. Peter Anvin January 23, 2014 16:16

And I realize I have actually used creat() … in non-Unix operating systems I have written myself.

H. Peter Anvin January 23, 2014 16:17

I think it is scary when one loses track of how many operating systems one has written…

Pete Zaitcev January 23, 2014 16:58

On the other hand, you know the story how someone asked Ritchie, what it he could change just one thing in UNIX?

Michael K Johnson January 23, 2014 16:59

Yes, that’s why I posted this. :-)

Andy Grimm January 27, 2014 20:45

FWIW, I read this and assumed it was a reference to O_CREAT . The joke still works.

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