What is a "forward slash" (Was: changing mount)

Glenn Spell glenn@gs.fay.nc.us
Sun Mar 5 08:18:00 GMT 2000


On 5 Mar 2000 around 12:47PM (+0200) Michael Hirmke wrote:

> Use forward slashes for the mount command.

Michael, this is not directed at you. I've been in the closet with
this for years hoping someone else would bring it into the public
eye... I'm tired of waiting... now is the time!

  This is a slash:  /

  This is a backslash:  \

  There is no such thing as a "forward slash".

The phrase "forward slash" is very confusing.

What is a forward slash. Well, it's probably not a slash because its
very name implies that it is something other than a slash. It's name
indicates that it's something like a slash but different. Hmm...

...well, the phrase "forward slash" is very descriptive.  In American
and English writing and reading the starting point is always at the
top left. From there things progress forward across to the right and
down to the bottom.

Starting at the top left and progressing in a "forward" direction
we arrive at "\" as the representation of a so-called "forward
slash". This seems reasonable since a "forward slash" must be
something other than a slash.

But wait, that symbol already has a name... backslash.  A backslash
tends to "point" towards the backside of the character following it,
hence the name "backslash".

So, if there were to be such an thing as a forward slash it would
indeed be the exact same thing as a backslash.  Why use two words
to describe something that already has a very descriptive and
recognizable name. That only makes sense if you live, work, and have
your being in Redmond.

In Redmond, a lot of folks don't live in the real world.  If the
phrase "forward slash" originally came from Redmond, and I strongly
suspect that it did, then there's no way to know what it really
means.

Actually, I'm waiting for folks to start using the phrase "backward
slash"... then it will really get interesting.

-glenn

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