print a random, hopefully interesting, adage
is run with no arguments it
prints out a random epigram. Epigrams are divided into several categories,
where each category is subdivided into those which are potentially offensive
and those which are not. The options are as follows:
- Choose from all lists of maxims, both offensive and not. (See the
-o option for more information on
- Enable additional debugging output. Specify this option multiple times for
more verbose output. Only available if compiled with
- Consider all fortune files to be of equal size (see discussion below on
- Print out the list of files which would be searched, but do not print a
- Long dictums only.
- Print out all fortunes which match the regular expression
for a description of patterns.
- Choose only from potentially offensive aphorisms.
Please, please, please request a potentially offensive
fortune if and only if you believe, deep down in your heart, that you are
willing to be offended. (And that if you are not willing, you will just
-o rather than give us grief
about it, okay?)
... let us keep in mind the basic governing philosophy
of The Brotherhood, as handsomely summarized in these words:
we believe in healthy, hearty laughter -- at the expense of
the whole human race, if needs be.
--H. Allen Smith, "Rude Jokes"
- Short apothegms only.
- Ignore case for
- Wait before termination for an amount of time calculated from the number
of characters in the message. This is useful if it is executed as part of
the logout procedure to guarantee that the message can be read before the
screen is cleared.
The user may specify alternate sayings. You can specify a specific file, a
directory which contains one or more files, or the special word
which says to use all the standard
databases. Any of these may be preceded by a percentage, which is a number
between 0 and 100 inclusive, followed by a
’. If it is, there will be an
percent probability that an adage will be
picked from that file or directory. If the percentages do not sum to 100, and
there are specifications without percentages, the remaining percent will apply
to those files and/or directories, in which case the probability of selecting
from one of them will be based on their relative sizes.
As an example, given two databases funny
twice as big, saying
fortune funny not-funny
will get you fortunes out of funny
of the time. The command
fortune 90% funny 10%
will pick out 90% of its fortunes from funny
” is unnecessary,
since 10% is all that is left). The
option says to consider all files equal; thus
fortune -e funny
is equivalent to
fortune 50% funny 50%
- The search path for the data files. It is a colon-separated list of
directories in which
fortune looks for
data files. If not set it will default to
/usr/share/games/fortune. If none of
the directories specified exist, it will print a warning and exit.
- If set, fortune will save some state about what fortune it was up to on
- the fortunes databases (those files ending
“-o” contain the