Re: Spam Query

Jeb Weisman (weisman@PACIFICU.EDU)
Mon, 24 Oct 1994 14:25:57 -0700

According to Eric Raymond's Hacker's Dictionary:

spam: [from the {MUD} community] vt. To crash a program by overrunning
a fixed-size buffer with excessively large input data. See also
{buffer overflow}, {overrun screw}, {smash the stack}.

I would also note that some part of the use of the term, used generically
to describe an overwhelming quantity of X comes from the Monty Python
sketch of the late '60s/early '70s about spam and everything. The
popularity of the sketch amongst university students and the growing
internetwork on university campuses were influential, if not seminal in
the incorporation of the term "spam" on what is now the Internet.

-Jeb Weisman

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On Mon, 24 Oct 1994, Denise O'Brien wrote:

> In a recent thread /spam/ has been used as both a verb (so-and-so
> spammed Anthro-L) and as a noun. What is the origin or derivation
> of this usage? Is it a neologism I've never met before? Is it arcane
> computerese? Is it an idiosyncrasy of one of our fellow subscribers---
> maybe Steve Mizrach?
> I am familiar with /spam/ as a canned mystery meat, first introduced to
> the American palate during WWII. My dictionary says /spam/ derives from
> /sp(iced) (h)am/. Does its use re the Rushton/race thread have some
> relationship to /spiced ham/?
> Denise O'Brien