mv, mf, Ubuntu’s “did you mean?”

Some time ago I found about Ubuntu’s “did you mean” thingy on console. It’s very cool. Of course, I found it after makeing a typo on the console, I wrote mf instead of mv. Ubuntu suggested I was trying to use “mv”, but I could install “mf”, if I wanted to. I was a little bored, so I researched a little bit what mf is.

Turns out mf is metafont, a programming language to define vector based fonts (!), kind of like postscript. It’s written by Donald Knuth, and there are three bits of trivia which make this post somewhat meaningful:

  • The program’s version number asymptoticaly aproaches e, right now it’s on version 2.718281
  • rtfm! The section on comments says: Warning: Type design can be hazardous to your other interests. Once you get hooked, you will develop intense feelings about letterforms; the medium will intrude on the messages that you read. And you will perpetually be thinking of improvements to the fonts that you see everywhere, especially those of your own design.”
  • And lastly, on the bugs section: On January 4, 1986 the “final” bug in Metafont was discovered and removed. If an error still lurks in the code, Donald E. Knuth promises to pay a finder’s fee which doubles every year to the first person who finds it. Happy hunting.

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