Back in the early 90's, Steve worked at a certain blue company known for its putty colored machines that cost a lot of green. This company was trying to make a big splash for itself in the UNIX market and wanted to convince technical folks that they "got it." And Steve had just the idea to help them out.

A regular at the trade shows, Steve noticed that the vendors getting a lot of buzz were the vendors who gave away "creative" swag. Instead of pens with their corporate logo, these companies offered pocket flashlights labeled "/dev/light" and scissors with "/dev/cut." What self-respecting UNIX geek could possibly pass up such corniness?

There had been some plans in the organization to create a mobile porting center for the enterprise-class machines offered by the company. The idea was to get a Winnebago, put a few of the "smaller" (as in, refrigerator-sized) machines in it, drive it to the customer sites, plug in power and network, and voilà, instant mobile porting center. Steve's idea: call this set up the "/dev/Winnebago." Or something like that.

The "UNIXy name" idea was passed up the chain -- everyone loved it of course -- and it found its way to marketing. They loved it as well, and made just "one small adjustment" to the concept. Steve and his colleagues read about the change in a press release announcing the mobile porting center. It was to be called the "/etc/bus."

As a UNIX geek himself, Steve was a bit surprised at the choice of name. The goal was to show that his company was cool (in a "/dev/cut" sort of way) and understood UNIX. Being laughed at and mocked by technical folks for having clueless marketing is not a good start in the "we get it" initiative. He called up a colleague in marketing:

Steve: You can't call it "/etc/bus" -- that doesn't make any sense.
Marketer: Sure it does!
Steve: Err, in UNIX, "/dev" is for devices, and a bus is clearly a device. Having it under "/etc" doesn't make se--
Marketer: No, we've got it right. "/etc" is short for "ex cetera," which means "something additional." Therefore, "/etc/bus" is a perfectly correct name.

Steve tried to explain what "/etc" is actually used for -- configuration and system administration related things -- but didn't really go anywhere. Thankfully, neither did the "/etc/bus." The project was canceled and Steve learned to keep marketing ideas to himself.

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