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

For example:


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

  • 1
    I should point out, I can work out it is printing 404, but what's all the other code doing?
    – Finglas
    Feb 4, 2010 at 9:47
  • This. Is. C. Obfuscated.
    – dirkgently
    Feb 4, 2010 at 9:50

5 Answers 5


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?


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


It looks like a mixture of obsfucated C and Brainfuck.


Fancy and esoteric ways of printing '404'


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

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