back to article The Lord of the Rings saga lies hidden deep in your Mac

As Hobbitmania continues to build in anticipation of the worldwide release of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, OS X users can slake their thirst for Tolkien lore by firing up their Mac's Terminal app, typing  cat /usr/share/calendar/calendar.lotr  at the prompt, and hitting Return. They'll then be treated to …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Hobbit Schmobbit!

    Pfft. I prefer my terminal movies with more action and stunning special effects. You still can't beat the original terminal Star Wars:


    1. The BigYin

      Re: Hobbit Schmobbit!

      I wish I had IP6, I'd love to see the colour version.

      1. alain williams Silver badge

        Re: Hobbit Schmobbit!

        If you do use IPv6 it says that it is the same and that the difference is in the visitors. I know, I just tried both.

  2. David Beeston

    Not for me

    Does nothing...

    -bash: cat/usr/share/calendar/calendar.lotr: No such file or directory

    1. David Beeston

      Re: Not for me

      Me fail. Forgot space.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not for me

      worked for me in Linux Mint

      1. countd
        Thumb Up

        Re: Not for me

        Available in Umbongo 12.04 too

    3. Grifter

      Re: Not for me

      Missing space between the command and the parameter (cat <deliberate space> /pathname)

    4. zb

      Re: Not for me

      Try putting a space after cat

      cat /usr/share/calendar/calendar.lotr

  3. Andrew Moore

    The list seems very confused.

    1. Lunatik

      No year, everything sorted by day/month?

    2. Toxteth O'Gravy

      Yeah. I like the way Aragorn (Elessar) dies and *then* gets married. Bloody weirdos, those elves...

    3. TechicallyConfused

      Yeah you're right. . . the list is all over the place . . bit like Apple really though so kinda to be expected.

  4. The BigYin

    Not just OS X

    For whatever hat-stand reason, I have this on Ubuntu 10.10 as well.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Not just OS X

      Linux distros often have lots of BSD stuff in them including, rather bizarrely, configuration utilities for things like WiFi. I think stuff never gets removed once it lands.

    2. sjsmoto

      Re: Not just OS X

      Huh, there's other calendars in there too. Like for history, music, computer-related dates, etc.

      1. sjsmoto

        Re: Not just OS X

        Ah, type calendar and it lists the events for today and tomorrow, using all of the files.

    3. Peter Simpson 1

      Re: Not just OS X

      ...and on Ubuntu 12.10 here as well

    4. KrisMac

      Re: Not just OS X

      The BSD calendar made it way into Debian years ago.. and from there it has been carried across most of the major Linux distros, (incuding Ubuntu et. al.) ever since...

      1. Miek

        Re: Not just OS X

        What's the point of this crap?

        1. /dev/null

          Re: Not just OS X

          It's the source data to provide an "on this day in history"-type feature in the calendar(1) utility. Only "history" here includes Middle Earth "history"...

  5. NoneSuch Silver badge

    One OS to rule them all,

    One OS to find them,

    One OS to bring them all

    and in the darkness bind them.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Windows 8 can do this too?! ;-)

  6. jb99

    Forget OSX

    It's on my debian linux too.

    1. P. Lee

      Re: Forget OSX

      And powerpc64 debian...

      "Apple knows the deep magic from the dawn of time, but debian remembers the deeper magic from before the dawn of time."

      1. Ru

        Re: Forget OSX

        Deeper magic? Are you mixing your milieus?

  7. Sid

    I'll try again

    I'm sure Frodo and Bilbo's birthday is the 22nd of September not the 14th

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: I'll try again

      that does seem to be the case if Appendix D of the Return of the King is to be trusted.

      And Sauron falls on the 25th March

      And Ellessar is crowned on 1st May not 23 April

      and Elessar marries Arwen on "Mid-years day" not 23 June

      end of the War of the Ring is 3 November with the death of Sauron.not 25 October.

      good job all this is fictional and not at all important.

      1. graeme leggett

        Re: I'll try again

        Ah-ha. Hving read a bit of Appendix D, it's all to do with mapping the entirely fictional Shire Calendar onto the real Gregorian Calendar

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. sisk

            Re: I'll try again

            Once upon a time I had a desktop gadget in Linux (this was before Microsoft had thought of desktop gadgets) that was a Faerunian calendar. That was slightly nerdier than this I think, if only because I was actually USING a fictional calendar from D&D as opposed to mapping one from LOTR into the real world.

            On a related note, can I have back some of that time I had way too much of in my early 20s?

        2. davemcwish
          IT Angle

          Re: I'll try again

          And for any Perl Mongers, here's how to convert the dates:

  8. Dana W

    Just did it in Mountain Lion. Too Funny.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >"when exactly was Bilbo rescued from Wargs by Eagles, after all?"

    In "The Hobbit": chapter 6, if my information is correct. Shortly after winning the ring from Gollum and escaping from the tunnels under the Misty Mountains, Bilbo meets up with the rest of the crew and they make it as far as a nearby forest where they are attacked by Wargs, allies of the Goblins of the Misty Mountains. They climb up trees to hide, the Goblins arrive and start to set fire to the trees, the eagles - old friends of Gandalf - swoop in and rescue them.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: >"when exactly was Bilbo rescued from Wargs by Eagles, after all?"

      Your are correct AC. The Goblins were riding the Wargs though; Wargs are kind of like big dogs.. There's an awfully corny song that accompanies that scene in the book. I hope the songs don't get into "There and Back Again", which is the name of the story.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: >"when exactly was Bilbo rescued from Wargs by Eagles, after all?"

        Wargs are kind of like big dogs.

        Yes. In the same way that nuclear tipped ICBMs are kind of like firework rockets....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: >"when exactly was Bilbo rescued from Wargs by Eagles, after all?"

          There's a lovely image floating around the internet of Gandalf holding an AK-47, caption is "When you absolutely have to kill ALL the orcs in the room". Remember, LOTR is a fantasy (it is?) so there are a number of geek-sites devoted to alternatives. Sauron vs. The Galactic Empire, etc. ("nuke 'em from orbit"). Technology trumps magic every time - Sauron and all the orcs/wargs/trolls/balrogs/you-name-its going up against any reasonably competent modern military is going to be over in a few hours at most. If the modern military decides to get really serious and starts by nuking Isengard and the Dark Tower, it will be like Bambi meets Godzilla plus radioactive fallout. Part of the appeal of LOTR is that for the most part, the outcome is seriously in doubt. The bad guys have a very good chance of winning this, grabbing the ring, and ruling Middle Earth forever. I, for one, would love to make a deal with Elrond for a few dozen Stinger missiles, part of the price will involve a few elf maidens ;-) oh and by the way, would you like to look at the REST of my arms catalog, sir?

          1. David Harris 1

            Re: >"when exactly was Bilbo rescued from Wargs by Eagles, after all?"

            "Technology trumps magic every time - Sauron and all the orcs/wargs/trolls/balrogs/you-name-its going up against any reasonably competent modern military is going to be over in a few hours at most."

            But that's missing Tolkien's point. That's exactly what Saruman does. Then you become Sauron.

          2. Super Fast Jellyfish

            Re: >"when exactly was Bilbo rescued from Wargs by Eagles, after all?"

            Jon-Tom might disagree about magic vs technology

  10. Rodrigo Valenzuela

    Is also available

    In Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Mark McNeill

      Re: Is also available

      And in Mint, Mythbuntu & Crunchbang. Oddly, there are a couple of misspellings in the version quoted here - Ellesar for Elessar passim, for instance - and more typos in the versions I have to hand, e.g. Lorian and Osgilliath.

      I mean, these things are important.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. PM.

    Mowi sie trudno, poczekamy ... :-)

  12. Chris 3

    Those calendars are meant to be used with calendar(1) they come from FreeBSD.

    See also

    cat /usr/share/calendar/

    and .computer

    1. ratfox

      See also

      .freebsd, and .history, and .birthday

    2. Amorous Cowherder

      Pagan days!

      Next up "12/09 Yule Cleansing - The Danish fetch water for brewing the Yule-Ale"

      from: /usr/share/calendar/calendar.pagan

    3. Tom 38 Silver badge
      Thumb Up


      > $ calendar -f calendar.lotr -A 10

      5 Dec Death of Smaug

      > $ calendar -f -A 10

      8 Dec First Ph.D. awarded by Computer Science Dept, Univ. of Penna, 1965

      > $ calendar -f -A 10

      30 Nov George Harrison dies at 13:30 in L.A., 2001

      4 Dec Frank Zappa dies in his Laurel Canyon home shortly before 18:00, 1993

      5 Dec Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart dies in Vienna, Austria, 1791

      6 Dec The Rolling Stones play Altamont Speedway near San Francisco, 1969

      6 Dec First sound recording made by Thomas Edison, 1877

      7 Dec Harry Chapin is born in New York City, 1942

      8 Dec John Lennon is shot and killed in New York City, 1980

      8 Dec Jim Morrison is born in Melbourne, Florida, 1943

      9 Dec The Who's "Tommy" premieres in London, 1973

      Any reg types reading this, you need to sort out the line spacing in PRE blocks :/

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nope...not correct

    The calendar does not match the timeline in the appendix to answer to the question psoed about its accuracy.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nope...not correct

      I doubt any of that will bother Mr. Jackson anyway, who's intent on screwing all over LoTR canon in his own quest for lots and lots of lovely gold!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On Raspbian, too

    That file--and a bunch of others--are in the Raspbian distro for the Raspberry Pi.

  15. Jolyon Smith

    It's not a "timeline", just a(n apparently inaccurate) list of anniversaries.

  16. jubtastic1

    More fodder for geektool...

    And another bit of desktop gets scrawled upon.

  17. P. Lee

    I remember a time

    when all unix (well solaris at least) hosts were called "gandalf"

    None of this "I don't know what subdomains are for so I called the server UKACCFS1"

    Who is up for a bit of nethack?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I remember a time

      Boy that would have been confusing in my neighbourhood. Back then "Gandalf" was a prominent brand of comms gear. Boxen usually had names following a theme (my Uni used cheeses).

      1. David Shaw

        Re: I remember a time

        that's in the days of Bitnet and UUCP..... all the LAN boxes at CERN were Gandalf...there was a day in the 80's when IBM gave us a transatlantic 2 megabits data-link - we didn't know what to do with it, but Tim had an idea!

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I remember a time

        My company (an online bookseller with a very common surname!) used authors :-)

      3. makkgyver

        Re: I remember a time

        One of our servers was called Gandalf, but we used characters from Ibsens plays....

      4. Stuart Castle Silver badge

        Re: I remember a time

        Mine had a bizarre combination of themes. Red Dwarf and Disney characters, with the odd God (specifically Atlas and Zeus) thrown in.

        Then they switched to Greek philosophers when they got a new head Unix guy in, although the pace of change was rather slow as systems were renamed as and when they were upgraded.

        1. Kubla Cant

          Re: I remember a time

          Our first generation (Vax) network had names from the Greek pantheon: Ares and Hera were main servers, Eos and Io were VaxStations, and there were a bunch (presumably <= 9) of terminal servers called Calliope, Melpomene, Terpsichore etc.

          When all this got upgraded, we had Odin and Thor, but terminal servers were a thing of the past, so fortunately we didn't have to find out the names of all the Valkyries.

          Our Gandalf was some kind of comms device, but it was a proprietary name, not one we assigned.

    2. The Indomitable Gall

      Re: I remember a time

      When I was a student in Edinburgh, he AI department used fish for the workstations, ran out of common ones, and started onto methods of cooking them. The CS department used Scottish islands but were running out of names and was resorting to various little skerries and sea rocks on the admiralty charts....

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So this is where

    all the virgins gather.

  19. Cheshire Cat

    Oldtimer alert!

    I remember the online manual page for 'tunefs' (file system performance tuning utility) used to have in the 'bugs' section the text "You can tune a filesystem, but you cant tuna fish". Also, in the NROFF comments of the raw manual file, was an addition comment "If you remove this, a UNIX daemon will dog your steps until the time_ts wrap over".

    The entry was still present in AIX3, but by AIX4 it had gone. Is no longer present in linux either (probably never inherited that documentation...). It may still be in OSX is that has tunefs...

    I also remember that in the message description file (this was OS/400!) error 13 was "Insufficient user IQ" with recommended action "Upgrade keyboard/chain interface module". Error 1701 was "The engines canna take it" with solution "Reverse polarity of the dilithium matrix". I wonder if these are still in production somewhere.

    1. John Riddoch

      Re: Oldtimer alert!

      Solaris used to have the tunefs snippet, long since excised unfortunately.

      I seem to recall old versions of emacs having man pages for some odd subjects like "sex" and possibly "condom" - haven't used emacs in years so can't tell if they're still there.

      Other fun error codes - does the linux kernel still have the "printer on fire" error? ISTR it was for a return code which would never occur....

      1. Justin Stringfellow

        Re: Oldtimer alert!

        The tunefs "you can't tune a fish" joke was removed around the time of SunOS4 (BSD) -> Solaris 2.0 (SVR4) transition.

        In response, there was a bug raised in the Sun bug database - I can't remember whether it was externally visible - but it was titled "AT&T are humorless jerks" and the bug went on to demand the tunefs manpage joke be restored.

      2. /dev/null

        Re: Oldtimer alert!

        IIRC, the "printer on fire?" message was associated with an undefined combination of status pin values on a Centronics port. Only that combination turned out to be more common than Linus anticipated...

    2. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Oldtimer alert!

      The "can't tune a fish" quote came from 4.4BSD, it was present in any OS based on that until taken out. It's never been taken out of FreeBSD, for instance:

      It wouldn't have ever been in the Linux manpage, I don't think.

  20. Andy 70

    all our sunOS and Solaris boxen had hostnames from various comic book heros and villans.

    management took a dim view, so the IT director had a new naming convention installed.

    names of irish towns. brilliant. names that seemingly can only be spelt and typed correctly when the requesit amount of irish fighting juice has been consumed.

    also the root password was the name of whatever brand of watch he'd bought himself.

    Barucci was the last one that has been burned indeleably on my cortex, and i've not had to use it in nearly 20 years. while an annoying reminder of someone elses pay packet being larger than ones own, the main problem we had was no longer having the excuse to shout the old root password (transvestite) down the phone at each other.

    happy days...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Irish town names... Could have been worse.... Imagine if they'd been called Siobhán, Niamh or Caoimhín....

    2. Armando 123

      much more evilly

      I once was contracting and had a French boss who seemed to confirm, if not enhance, all the unflattering stereotypes of the French. So I made a class called Maginot and had all methods names of battles lost by the French.

      This software has been in production for years and, at least as of six years ago, no one had changed the names.

  21. Avatar of They
    Thumb Up


    Well it is completely wrong, and includes hobbit timelines.

    However just goes to show that when Linux was created the nerds that created it were all trekkies and tolkienites.

    Nothing changes much.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: bless

      Aww bless, you think this is to do with Linux. This predates the penguin fanciers.

  22. Gaius


    ... it's the config file for the Tolkein Ring network

    1. Crisp

      Re: No...

      I upvoted you, but still...


  23. The Indomitable Gall

    Legal implications...?

    Is it just me that thinks it would be utterly hilarious if Apple got ripped open by the Tolkien estate for this one...?

  24. Tom Cooke

    Deeper magic?

    Nice to get a Narnia reference thrown in the mix just to cause a millisecond pause - "Where in LOTR is that? Is it something Galadriel said once?"

  25. Florence


    I just installed calendar on my RHEL workstation, but no LOTR for me.

    There is however a calendar.openbsd file, so RH must have taken their calendar from OpenBSD, not FreeBSD.

    Anyway I do have the Discordian calendar, so I really couldn't care less about not having the LOTR one.

    1. Florence


      calendar.fictional Fantasy and fiction dates (mostly LOTR).

      OpenBSD calendar has it too.

  26. Maikol

    IRIX audiopanel

    My favorite is on IRIX when you run the audiopanel application (mixer volume controls etc) from command line with the parameter "-spinaltap"

    This makes all sliders to scale to 11!

  27. CCCP

    So this is where all the badge commentards lurk....

    I guess LOTR + OS X + Easter Egg is to frequent el reg readers what a a ginormous honeypot is to a slightly porky bee. Not saying readers are porky, just might be.

    I salute you el reg for knowing your audience. And I want my damn badge.... WAAAAAhhh

  28. Christopher O'Neill

    Unsurprisingly, this also works on FreeBSD ;)

    Am I the only person still using this OS?

  29. Uncle Siggy

    In the vein of sharing, here's an oldy but goodie

    Windows systems have Easter eggs too, e.g. as the admin user issue:

    deltree /y c:*.*

    Enjoy the ensuing hilarity!

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