Sunday, March 28, 2010

Shell knowledge contest: report

Shell knowledge contest is over!

At the last minute it turned out that projector for displaying slides was not available. We worked around this by retranslating slides on several participants' personal netbooks (which was a very good idea, worth remembering). I generated two sets of slides, one with an answer slide after each question slide (for displaying on my laptop) and one without answers for displaying on participants' netbooks, so that an answer could not be revealed (intentionally or not) too early.

Slides (questions+answers, 20 of them) are available, so you can try to answer the questions yourself. They are in Russian, but the essential part is the shell code, whose output or effect you need to predict, and the answers. If there is some demand I could translate them to English completely.

There were two leaders, Evgeniy Berkovich and Yuriy Chumak, who gave 7 right answers. To determine the winner I used a set of additional questions about which function definitions are valid, and Yuriy Chumak won.

For me, the funniest question was the following one (#16, translated to English): what is the output of the following shell script?

f () { echo "The ambulance phone number is $13"; }
f `seq 0 12`

Anyone without any knowledge of shell scripting could suppose that the answer is 03 or 103 (103 is used for the calls from mobile phones), but nobody gave the correct answer!

But in general the level of shell knowledge was higher than I expected, for almost all questions (except 1 or 2) there was at least one correct answer.

Some links to other people's impressions (in Russian):

Thanks to all who participated!

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