In this seasonal entry we’ll be hunting for some virtual easter eggs in open source software programs. Computer programmers and software engineers are a creative group, often with a sense of humour, so eggs come in an abundance. Easter eggs, as hidden features, are left for a variety of reasons and come with a varying degree of stealth. Some are left to make a project more personal to a developer, others as a creative outlet in a purely functional piece of software. Many are humourous in nature.
Our detective gear is simplistic in nature. Take one part Google Code Search, one part Regular Expressions, and garnish with a cleaver keyword. Apparently quite a number of easter eggs are labeled as “easter egg”s in source code’s comments.
Here are some highlights from what comes up:
FreeBSD is rolling out their Plan-0
/* easter egg */
Gaim’s plugin clears up for production, but look around line 506 to turn on bonus features
/* clear easter egg */
features->mode = 0;
It seems that one needs to be Colin’s girlfriend for this last one, but it’s an easter egg in an online bank account management tool. Interesting.
<?php if (isset($l) && $l==1)
/* easter egg for my S.O. */
if ($JEPUTuserid == 30 && $JEPUTlogin=='clo')
So here’s an open challenge – can you find a programming easter egg in the wealth of open sourced software? Blog about it (ping me with a trackback), or show off in the comments. Wrote your own easter egg? So have I! I’ll share the details in the comments, if someone talks about theirs first