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What's the joke in the Stack Overflow 404 page code?

For example:

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/does_not_exist

What is the code on the right pane, and if it is a real language, what does it do exactly?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Feb 4 '10 at 9:53

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marked as duplicate by Pops, Al E., Toon Krijthe, yhw42, jonsca Sep 8 '12 at 5:58

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I should point out, I can work out it is printing 404, but what's all the other code doing? –  Finglas Feb 4 '10 at 9:47
    
This. Is. C. Obfuscated. –  dirkgently Feb 4 '10 at 9:50
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5 Answers

up vote 20 down vote accepted

It's polyglot code - that is code that will compile unaltered in more than one language, all of which write 404 to stdout.

I can spot at least

  • C
  • Brainfuck
  • Multitude of scripting languages (Python, Perl, ...)

See Amusing 404 "Page Not Found" Images for Trilogy sites?

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I think it was created on Meta : Amusing 404 "Page Not Found" Images for Trilogy sites? and is not a specific language, but multiple.

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It looks like a mixture of obsfucated C and Brainfuck.

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Fancy and esoteric ways of printing '404'

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I know line three is Brainfuck. Go figure out what it does :-)

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