= B =
bells whistles and gongs
bells and whistles n.
[common] Features added to a
program or system to make it more flavorful from a hacker's
point of view, without necessarily adding to its utility for its
primary function. Distinguished from chrome, which is
intended to attract users. "Now that we've got the basic program
working, let's go back and add some bells and whistles." No one
seems to know what distinguishes a bell from a whistle. The
recognized emphatic form is "bells, whistles, and gongs".
It used to be thought that this term derived from the toyboxes on
theater organs. However, the "and gongs" strongly suggests a
different origin, at sea. Before powered horns, ships routinely
used bells, whistles, and gongs to signal each other over longer
distances than voice can carry.
--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.