- DeathStation 9000
The DeathStation 9000 (often abbreviated DS9K) is a hypothetical computer architecture often used as part of a discussion about the portability of computer code (often C code). It is imagined to be as obstructive and unhelpful as possible, whilst still conforming to any relevant standards, deliberately acting unexpectedly whenever possible. For instance, the
strcmpfunction in C compares strings and indicates the string that comes first alphabetically under most systems; however, this is not guaranteed by the
C99 standard, and on a C99-conforming DS9K it would do little more useful than a check whether strings are equal or not (because it sorts strings by character code, and nothing compels a DS9K's character codes to be in alphabetical order, though digits are required to be in order).
A common, more dramatic example concerns
undefined behavior, which is allowed to have any effect. With many C compilers, the statement
i = i++;where
iis an integer variable will either increment
iwith the same value when run (the behavior is undefined). On a DS9K, it is possible (even probable) that executing that statement will cause demons to fly out of the user's nose. [ [http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/N/nasal-demons.html Nasal demons in the Jargon file] ]
The DS9K is a concept that seems to have developed on
Usenet, specifically on the groups comp.lang.cand (to a lesser extent) comp.lang.c++and comp.std.c.
A website about the DS9K was created, probably as an
April Fool's Dayjoke. [ [http://dialspace.dial.pipex.com/prod/dialspace/town/green/gfd34/art/ Armed Response Technologies] , the DS9K website]
DeathStation 9000 or DS9K is sometimes also used as an adjective, as in "a DS9K
endianness", meaning an endianness which is neither big-endiannor little-endian, like the American date format MM/DD/YYYY.
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