man tm () - meditate


tm - meditate


tm [-number] [time]


Tm causes UNIX to go into a state in which all current activities are suspended for time minutes (default is 20). At the beginning of this period, tm generates a set of number (default 3) transcendental numbers. Then it prints a two- to six-character nonsense syllable (mantra) on every logged-in terminal (a different syllable on each terminal). For the remainder of the time interval, it repeats these numbers to itself, in random order, binary digit by binary digit (memory permitting), while simultaneously contemplating its kernel.

It is suggested that users utilize the time thus provided to do some meditating themselves. One possibility is to close one's eyes, attempt to shut out one's surroundings, and concentrate on the mantra supplied by tm.

At the end of the time interval, UNIX returns to the suspended activities, refreshed and reinvigorated. Hopefully, so do the users.


Tm does not use any files, in an attempt to isolate itself from external influences and distractions.


If disturbed for any reason during the interval of meditation, tm locks the keyboard on every terminal, prints an unprintable expletive, and unlocks the keyboard. Subsequent UNIX operation may be marked by an unusual number of lost or scrambled files and dropped lines.


If number is greater than 32,767 (decimal), tm appears to generate rational numbers for the entire time interval, after which the behavior of the system may be completely irrational (i.e., transcendental).


Attempts to use flog(1) on tm are invariably counterproductive.