Definitions for green lightning

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word green lightning

Freebase

  1. Green Lightning

    Green lightning originally referred to random flashing streaks across the screen of IBM 3278-9 computer terminals, which were produced by a hardware bug when a new symbol set was being downloaded. Instead of fixing the fault, IBM suggested that it was useful because it let the user know during the download that something was in progress. Later IBM colour graphics terminals were microprocessor driven and would not have produced flashing streaks. IBM decided to program them to re-create the "green lightning", since the bug had become a feature - a phenomenon known as a misbug. This is one of many terms from the Jargon File that are widely quoted but have little or no everyday usage.

The New Hacker's Dictionary

  1. green lightning

    [IBM] 1. Apparently random flashing streaks on the face of 3278-9 terminals while a new symbol set is being downloaded. This hardware bug was left deliberately unfixed, as some genius within IBM suggested it would let the user know that ‘something is happening’. That, it certainly does. Later microprocessor-driven IBM color graphics displays were actually programmed to produce green lightning! 2. [proposed] Any bug perverted into an alleged feature by adroit rationalization or marketing. “Motorola calls the CISC cruft in the 88000 architecture ‘compatibility logic’, but I call it green lightning”. See also feature (sense 6).

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