GNU Terry Pratchett

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Terry Pratchett sadly passed away in March 2015. The phrase 'GNU Terry Pratchett' has become a term among fans to mourn and also to try to help memorialise Terry Pratchett. The phrase has been used in website and server coding in order to pay tribute to Terry Pratchett in reference to Going Postal.

Origin

The acronym GNU comes from the Discworld novel Going Postal. In the context of the novel GNU translated on the clacks system to:

  • G: Send the message onto the next Clacks Tower.
  • N: Do not log the message.
  • U: At the end of the line, return the message.

The most prominent use of this in Going Postal is the phrase 'GNU John Dearheart,' the phrase was created by his father Robert Dearheart after his sons death to continuously be sent up and down the sequence of clacks towers as a tribute and keep his name being spoken in a kind of immortality.

In a post on the website Reddit, under the subreddit r/discworld, several fans came up with the idea to create a website plugin or text that could be hidden in the code or headers of websites. One of the most prominent examples of this would be the 'X-Clacks-Overhead Header.'

Several websites such as GNUTerryPratchett.com and XClacksOverhead.org list the myriad of plugins and methods to add this message to various websites, servers and scripts.

Other

The videogame Minecraft features a splash text on the games title screen that reads 'GNU Terry Pratchett.' This is listed as Splash 340; it was added in the update to Java Edition 1.8.5.

External Links

Original Reddit Post

Article in the Guardian Newspaper

GNUTerryPratchett.com

xclacksoverhead.org

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