Messages reported by applications and OperatingSystems

These are some of the funny, sarcastic, or just plain stupid error messages that you might see. If you are looking for "proper" error messages from applications, and how to resolve them, look at ApplicationErrorMessages.

Keyboard not found. Hit F1 to continue

Many BIOSes will report this error if a keyboard is not found at boot time.

lp on fire

The Linux lp# driver says this when your printer signals an error, but doesn't signal which error. Usually this means the printer is offline. (This message was copied from much earlier line printer daemons from Unixes of old.)

Update: Kernel 2.4.20 contains the following change from 2.4.19:

 diff -urN linux-2.4.19/drivers/usb/printer.c
 --- linux-2.4.19/drivers/usb/printer.c  Fri Aug  2 17:39:45 2002
 +++ linux-2.4.20/drivers/usb/printer.c  Thu Nov 28 15:53:14 2002
 @@ -257,7 +257,7 @@
   * Get and print printer errors.

 -static char *usblp_messages[] = { "ok", "out of paper", "off-line", "on fire" };
 +static char *usblp_messages[] = { "ok", "out of paper", "off-line", "unknown error" };

Q276304 - Error Message: Your Password Must Be at Least 18770 Characters and Cannot Repeat Any of Your Previous 30689 Passwords

A Microsoft Windows error message as reported by comp.risks 21.37

You don't exist. Go away.

This message appears for certain unix programs when an entry can't be found for you in /etc/passwd (or these days, via PAM). This might be because you've not logged in via login(1) (this can happen if /etc/inittab specifies a program that doesn't log you in, instead of getty(8)), if your machine can't retrieve the data from the network (if you are using NIS or LDAP or some other network user administration system) or if you've made a mistake editing /etc/passwd (or friends).

Curse on you, wizard, before you recurse on me.

bibtex(1) style files use an undocumented language called BST (or that's the file extenstion, which is the closest it has to a name). In this language recursion is prohibited, and this is the message you get if you try it.

I refuse to debug myself!

If you tell GDB to try to attach to its own process. (It can't run it and breakpoint it and the same time.)

The devil is in the details: zero number of heads or sectors

Seen from the mdir(1) command.

MicrosoftWindows MSI Installer

Software Installation encountered an unexpected error while reading from the MSI file \\mlc1\deploy\FireFox-1.0.1-enUS.msi.

The error was not serious enough to justify halting the operation.

The following error was encountered: The operation completed successfully.


If the insults flag is set in /etc/sudoers, sudo(1) will return one of the following errors when an invalid password is entered:

  • Just what do you think you're doing Dave?
  • It can only be attributed to human error.
  • That's something I cannot allow to happen.
  • My mind is going. I can feel it.
  • Sorry about this, I know it's a bit silly.
  • Take a stress pill and think things over.
  • This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
  • I feel much better now.
  • Wrong! You cheating scum!
  • No soap, honkie-lips.
  • Where did you learn to type?
  • Are you on drugs?
  • My pet ferret can type better than you!
  • You type like i drive.
  • Do you think like you type?
  • Your mind just hasn't been the same since the electro-shock, has it?
  • Maybe if you used more than just two fingers...
  • BOB says: You seem to have forgotten your passwd, enter another!
  • stty: unknown mode: doofus
  • I can't hear you -- I'm using the scrambler.
  • The more you drive -- the dumber you get.
  • Listen, burrito brains, I don't have time to listen to this trash.
  • I've seen penguins that can type better than that.
  • Have you considered trying to match wits with a rutabaga?
  • You speak an infinite deal of nothing
  • You silly, twisted boy you.
  • He has fallen in the water!
  • We'll all be murdered in our beds!
  • You can't come in. Our tiger has got flu
  • I don't wish to know that.
  • What, what, what, what, what, what, what, what, what, what?
  • You can't get the wood, you know.
  • You'll starve!
  • ... and it used to be so popular...
  • Pauses for audience applause, not a sausage
  • Hold it up to the light --- not a brain in sight!
  • Have a gorilla...
  • There must be cure for it!
  • There's a lot of it about, you know.
  • You do that again and see what happens...
  • Ying Tong Iddle I Po
  • Harm can come to a young lad like that!
  • And with that remarks folks, the case of the Crown vs yourself was proven.
  • Speak English you fool --- there are no subtitles in this scene.
  • You gotta go owwwww!
  • I have been called worse.
  • It's only your word against mine.
  • I think ... err ... I think ... I think I'll go home

(Taken from ins_*.h in the source for sudo 1.6.6)

See also:

Part of CategoryFunny, CategoryErrors