user /n./ 1. Someone doing `real work' with the computer,
using it as a means rather than an end. Someone who pays to use a
computer. See real user. 2. A programmer who will believe
anything you tell him. One who asks silly questions. [GLS
observes: This is slightly unfair. It is true that users ask
questions (of necessity). Sometimes they are thoughtful or deep.
Very often they are annoying or downright stupid, apparently
because the user failed to think for two seconds or look in the
documentation before bothering the maintainer.] See luser.
3. Someone who uses a program from the outside, however skillfully,
without getting into the internals of the program. One who reports
bugs instead of just going ahead and fixing them.
The general theory behind this term is that there are two classes
of people who work with a program: there are implementors (hackers)
and lusers. The users are looked down on by hackers to some
extent because they don't understand the full ramifications of the
system in all its glory. (The few users who do are known as
`real winners'.) The term is a relative one: a skilled hacker
may be a user with respect to some program he himself does not
hack. A LISP hacker might be one who maintains LISP or one who
uses LISP (but with the skill of a hacker). A LISP user is one who
uses LISP, whether skillfully or not. Thus there is some overlap
between the two terms; the subtle distinctions must be resolved by
Return to Cool Jargon of the Day