"Farm" slang terms

Eric Christopherson echristopherson at gmail.com
Sun Oct 18 14:50:21 CDT 2015

On Sun, Oct 18, 2015, Eric Christopherson wrote:
> Hi, all. I'm looking for information on slang terms with the word "farm"
> in them, relating to computaters; especially the origins of such terms.
> I've known "cube farm" (a bunch of cubicles where office workers work)
> and "render farm" (a cluster of computers used for graphics rendering in
> parallel) for a long time, but just recently I found a reference to
> "link farm" as meaning "an incremental backup consisting mostly of links
> (most likely hard links) to the relevant files in the preceding
> iteration of the backup"; but this page
> <http://onlineslangdictionary.com/meaning-definition-of/link-farm> says
> "a website with little or no content, consisting of mostly (or entirely)
> links to other websites."

On top of that, FOLDOC has a slightly different meaning again

"(file system, Unix)   A directory tree that contains mostly symbolic
links to files in a master directory tree of files. Link farms save
space when one is maintaining several nearly identical copies of the
same source tree - for example, when the only difference is
architecture-dependent object files. They also mean that changes to the
master tree are instantly visible in the link farm. Good text editors
provide the option to replace a link with a new version of the target
file when saving thus allowing the farm to have its own versions of just
those files that differ from the master tree."

This sounds like it just might be an old-school programming practice; I
at least have never seen it in any open-source projects. I've also never
seen this discussed in any text editor documentation; but I know some
editors (perhaps optionally) do remove the existing file before writing
its replacement, which would do what the entry suggests. I just tried it
in Vim on OS X, and both in the case of hard links and symbolic links it
kept the link intact and updated the contents of the original.

> So, does anyone know what the first such "farm" slang term was, and when
> and where it originated? And how about other terms with "farm" in them?
> (I came across a new one the other day, but of course I've forgotten it
> now.)
> -- 
>         Eric Christopherson

        Eric Christopherson

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