easter egg definition jargon
(From the custom of the Easter Egg hunt observed in the US and many parts of Europe)
1. A message hidden in the object code
of a program as a joke, intended to be found by persons disassembling or browsing the code.
2. A message, graphic, sound effect, or other behaviour emitted by a program (or, on an IBM PC
, the BIOS ROM
) in response to some undocumented set of commands or keystrokes, intended as a joke or to display program credits.
One well-known early Easter egg found in a couple of operating systems
caused them to respond to the command "make love" with "not war?". Many personal computers
, and even satellite control computers, have much more elaborate eggs hidden in ROM
, including lists of the developers' names (e.g. Microsoft Windows
3.1x), political exhortations and snatches of music. The Tandy
Color Computer 3 (CoCo
) had images of the entire development team. Microsoft Excel
97 includes a flight simulator!