FORTUNE(6) Games Manual FORTUNE(6)

fortuneprint a random, hopefully interesting, adage

fortune [-aefilosw] [-m pattern] [[N%] file|directory|all]

When fortune is run with no arguments, it prints out a random epigram. Epigrams are divided into several categories, where each category is subdivided into those which are potentially offensive and those which are not. The options are as follows:

Choose from all lists of maxims, both offensive and not. (See the -o option for more information on offensive fortunes.)
Consider all fortune files to be of equal size (see discussion below on multiple files).
Print out the list of files which would be searched, but don't print a fortune.
Ignore case for -m patterns.
Long dictums only.
Print out all fortunes which match the regular expression pattern. See re_format(7) for a description of patterns.
Choose only from potentially offensive aphorisms.
Please, please, please request a potentially offensive fortune if and only if you believe, deep down in your heart, that you are willing to be offended. (And that if you are, you'll just quit using -o rather than give us grief about it, okay?)
... let us keep in mind the basic governing philosophy
of The Brotherhood, as handsomely summarized in these words:
we believe in healthy, hearty laughter -- at the expense of
the whole human race, if needs be.  Needs be.
		--H. Allen Smith, "Rude Jokes"
Short apothegms only.
Wait before termination for an amount of time calculated from the number of characters in the message. This is useful if it is executed as part of the logout procedure to guarantee that the message can be read before the screen is cleared.

The user may specify alternate sayings. You can specify a specific file, a directory which contains one or more files, or the special word all, which says to use all the standard databases. Any of these may be preceded by a percentage, which is a number N between 0 and 100 inclusive, followed by a ‘%’ character. If it is, there will be an N percent probability that an adage will be picked from that file or directory. If the percentages do not sum to 100, and there are specifications without percentages, the remaining percent will apply to those files and/or directories, in which case the probability of selecting from one of them will be based on their relative sizes.

As an example, given two databases funny and not-funny, with funny twice as big, saying

$ fortune funny not-funny

will get you fortunes out of funny two-thirds of the time. The command

$ fortune 90% funny 10% not-funny

will pick out 90% of its fortunes from funny (the “10%” is unnecessary, since 10% is all that's left). The -e option says to consider all files equal; thus

$ fortune -e

is equivalent to

$ fortune 50% funny 50% not-funny

Datafiles for fortune are created by a utility called strfile. Although not installed by default, the source code and a manual page for this utility can be found in /usr/src/games/fortune/strfile/, if it exists.

The character encoding locale(1). If unset or set to "C", "POSIX", or an unsupported value, bytes that are not printable ASCII characters are replaced with question marks in the output.

Fortune files.

The fortune utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs. In particular, if -l, -m, or -s is specified, failure to find a matching citation in the selected files counts as an error.

random(6), rot13(6), re_format(7)

fortune first favored Version 7 AT&T UNIX.

March 31, 2022 OpenBSD 7.5