I remember in the 90s, there existed a Unix command line utility named smiley that decoded emoticons. A sample use would be like this (the output is likely not the exact output the program gave):

$ smiley ':-o'
:-o  surprise

I've tried to search for it, but couldn't find it. Does it still exist, and if so, where can you get it? I'd also be interested in any other information you may have about it.

  • I remember a script that would parse smileys.txt from university Sun lab days, but the code eludes me too. – scruss Aug 10 '19 at 21:29
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    Are you sure it wasn't just a simple wrapper around grep? – a CVn Aug 12 '19 at 15:12
  • @scruss: It's well possible that this was it. – celtschk Aug 12 '19 at 19:06
  • @aCVn: All I'm sure is that it was installed at the Unix computers at the university and could be called on the command line. And I know that it was not just a local thing, because I had seen it mentioned somewhere on the net. But that's all I can say. – celtschk Aug 12 '19 at 19:08
  • @scruss: BTW, thanks for the file link. – celtschk Aug 12 '19 at 19:13

The smiley program was posted to the comp.sources.misc Usenet newsgroup multiple times. Here is the description from the Volume 20, Issue 73 posting:

Submitted-by: DaviD W. Sanderson
Posting-number: Volume 20, Issue 73
Archive-name: smiley/part01
Supersedes: smiley: Volume 18, Issue 82

smiley(1) is a "smiley server" I wrote for my own pleasure. Its list of smileys is more comprehensive than any other I have seen; it subsumes all the smiley lists I have ever seen posted to the net.

This version has more than a hundred more smileys than version 2, and a more informative -V switch. Keep those smileys coming!

DaviD W. Sanderson (dws@cs.wisc.edu)

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    There are multiple archives of comp.sources.misc postings on the Internet. Here's a link to just one of them (in a comment because people don't like links in answers): ftp.gnome.org/mirror/archive/ftp.sunet.se/pub/usenet/ftp.uu.net/… – Ken Gober Aug 12 '19 at 19:23
  • I immediately downloaded and compiled it. Unfortunately the main functionality (looking up) doesn't work; I guess some incompatibility between those old Unix systems it was written for and modern Linux. But the “list smileys” functionality works (so I know it indeed has the list compiled in). – celtschk Aug 12 '19 at 20:26
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    There's a later (last?) version in volume 23 of c.s.m: ftp.gnome.org/mirror/archive/ftp.sunet.se/pub/usenet/ftp.uu.net/… . It doesn't run properly under Linux either. DaviD W. Sanderson went on to write (or maybe less charitably, smiley -l | lp) what was perhaps O'Reilly's least essential book: ISBN 9781565920415, "Smileys", pub 1997. – scruss Aug 13 '19 at 13:51

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