I’m just looking for historical context on this method. It looks like
one of those old-school Unix-isms that must have been incredibly
useful in the past but never comes up in the course of run-of-the-mill
Web programming. I’m pretty sure I first saw it ten years ago in Perl
and never once used it myself. I think I did copy/paste it in some
encryption code or something related, but I’m not sure. Just
wondering, what’s it for? Who uses it, and why?