<operating system> On Unix systems that support finger, the ".plan" file
in a user's home directory is displayed when the user is fingered. This feature
was originally intended to be used to keep potential fingerers apprised of one's
location and near-future plans, but has been turned almost universally to
humorous and self-expressive purposes (like a sig block). See also Hacking X for
A later innovation in plan files was the introduction of "scrolling plan files"
which are one-dimensional animations made using only the printable ASCII
character set, carriage return and line feed, avoiding terminal specific escape
sequences, since the finger command will (for security reasons; see letterbomb)
not pass the escape character.
Scrolling .plan files have become art forms in miniature, and some sites have
started competitions to find who can create the longest running, funniest, and
most original animations. A compiler (ASP) is available on Usenet for producing
them. Typical animation components include:
Andalusian Video Snail: _@/
In the mid-1990s WWW home pages largely supplanted .plan files, providing
a much richer forum for the publication of personal
minutiae and digital creativity.
See also twirling baton.
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