casting the runes
= C =
cat [from `catenate' via Unix cat(1)] vt.
1. [techspeak] To spew an entire file to the screen or some other
output sink without pause (syn. blast). 2. By extension, to
dump large amounts of data at an unprepared target or with no
intention of browsing it carefully. Usage: considered silly. Rare
outside Unix sites. See also dd, BLT.
Among Unix fans, cat(1) is considered an excellent example
of user-interface design, because it delivers the file contents
without such verbosity as spacing or headers between the files, and
because it does not require the files to consist of lines of text,
but works with any sort of data.
Among Unix haters, cat(1) is considered the canonical
example of bad user-interface design, because of its
woefully unobvious name. It is far more often used to blast a
file to standard output than to concatenate two files. The name
cat for the former operation is just as unintuitive as, say,
Of such oppositions are holy wars made.... See also UUOC.
--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.