= R =
1. An inexplicable misfeature; gratuitous
inelegance. 2. A hack or crock that depends on a complex
combination of coincidences (or, possibly, the combination upon
which the crock depends for its accidental failure to malfunction).
"This hack can output characters 40-57 by putting the character
in the four-bit accumulator field of an XCT and then extracting six
bits -- the low 2 bits of the XCT opcode are the right thing."
"What randomness!" 3. Of people, synonymous with `flakiness'.
The connotation is that the person so described is behaving
weirdly, incompetently, or inappropriately for reasons which are
(a) too tiresome to bother inquiring into, (b) are probably as
inscrutable as quantum phenomena anyway, and (c) are likely to pass
with time. "Maybe he has a real complaint, or maybe it's just
randomness. See if he calls back."
Despite the negative connotations jargon uses of this term have, it
is worth noting that randomness can actually be a valuable
resource, very useful for applications in cryptography and
elsewhere. Computers are so thoroughly deterministic that they
have a hard time generating high-quality randomess, so hackers have
sometimes felt the need to built special-purpose contraptions for
this purpose alone. One well-known website offers random bits
generated by radioactive decay. Another derives random bits from
images of Lava Lite lamps.
(Hackers invariably find the latter hilarious. If you have to ask
why, you'll never get it.)
--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.