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What were .plan files like? I've only ever heard of Carmack using them -- did other prominent devs also publish their .plans?

I wonder if there'd be any interest in reviving this. I think it would be cool to have something like an RSS feed of the .plan files from various developers I respect/follow. These days you have to settle for reading their Twitter+GitHub issues.

Well, Twitter, Facebook, etc. are the modern replacements for the "status updates" you used to put in your .plan file. .plan was just a simple text file you left in your home directory; it would be displayed to any user who attempted to query you with the 'finger' command. These days the 'finger' protocol is not really used anymore due to security vulnerabilities. But back then, Unix really was a social-moedia OS, and the internet was a decentralized, federated social network.

(There were actually two such files; .project was used to give a high-level summary of what you were working on, while .plan was used to talk in detail about what you were currently doing at the moment.)

I think Carmack popularized their use at the time. A bunch of news sites started tracking them. Blue's News still has an archive from back then:


Click on a company, a person and then use the drop down to view older entries.

Other technical people used them as well but probably no one more popular than Carmack. I still remember clearly fingering his .plan directly and excitedly reading them. The good ol' days.


I've been keeping personal .plan files since the last time I saw them mentioned on HN. So only a couple of weeks at this stage.

In some ways they reflect the way I've gone about a days work more clearly than other project management/bug tracking software I'm required to use.

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