FORTUNE(6) BSD Games Manual FORTUNE(6)NAMEfortune — print a random, hopefully interesting, adage
SYNOPSISfortune [-aefilosw] [-m pattern] [[N%] file/dir/all]
When fortune is run with no arguments it prints out a random epigram.
Epigrams are divided into several categories, where each category is sub‐
divided into those which are potentially offensive and those which are
not. The options are as follows:
-a Choose from all lists of maxims, both offensive and not. (See the
-o option for more information on offensive fortunes.)
-e Consider all fortune files to be of equal size (see discussion
below on multiple files).
-f Print out the list of files which would be searched, but don't
print a fortune.
-l Long dictums only.
-m Print out all fortunes which match the regular expression pattern.
See regex(3) for a description of patterns.
-o 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, you'll just quit using -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. Needs be.
--H. Allen Smith, "Rude Jokes"
-s Short apothegms only.
-i Ignore case for -m patterns.
-w Wait before termination for an amount of time calculated from the
number of characters in the message. This is useful if it is exe‐
cuted 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 all
which says to use all the standard databases. Any of these may be pre‐
ceded by a percentage, which is a number N between 0 and 100 inclusive,
followed by a %. If it is, there will be a N 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
As an example, given two databases funny and not-funny, with funny twice
as big, saying
fortune funny not-funny
will get you fortunes out of funny two-thirds of the time. The command
fortune 90% funny 10% not-funny
will pick out 90% of its fortunes from funny (the ``10% not-funny'' is
unnecessary, since 10% is all that's left). The -e option says to con‐
sider all files equal; thus
is equivalent to
fortune 50% funny 50% not
SEE ALSOregex(3), regcmp(3),
4th Berkeley Distribution April 19, 1994 4th Berkeley Distribution