WTF Are "Super Cow Powers"?

As we know, apt-get has Super Cow Powers and aptitude does not:

$ apt-get --help | grep -i cow
                       This APT has Super Cow Powers.
$ aptitude --help | grep -i cow
                  This aptitude does not have Super Cow Powers.

and of course, APT has an Easter egg to go with it:

$ apt-get moo
  / |    ||   
 *  /\---/\ 
    ~~   ~~   
...."Have you mooed today?"...

So what's the deal?

Apt started its life around 1997 and entered Debian officially around 1999. During its early days, Jason Gunthorpe was its main maintainer/developer. Well, apparently Jason liked cows. I don't know if he still does. :-) Anyway, I think the apt-get moo thing was added by him as a joke. The corresponding aptitude easter eggs (see below) were added later by Daniel Burrows as a homage, I think.

If there is more to the story, Jason is probably the person to ask. He has (likely in response to this question) written a post on Google+. A small bit of it:

Once a long time ago a developer was known for announcing his presence on IRC with a simple, to the point 'Moo'. As with cows in pasture others would often Moo back in greeting. This led to a certain range of cow based jokes.


$ aptitude moo
There are no Easter Eggs in this program.
$ aptitude -v moo
There really are no Easter Eggs in this program.
$ aptitude -vv moo
Didn't I already tell you that there are no Easter Eggs in this program?
$ aptitude -vvv moo
Stop it!
$ aptitude -vvvv moo
Okay, okay, if I give you an Easter Egg, will you go away?
$ aptitude -vvvvv moo
All right, you win.

                       -------/      \
                      /               \
                     /                |
   -----------------/                  --------\
$ aptitude -vvvvvv moo
What is it?  It's an elephant being eaten by a snake, of course.


Until next time!

September 21 2021

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