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The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 1:27 am UTC
by King Author
Sudo.

When I first came across the famous xkcd page, I had never seen the term before, so I pronounced it "sue-doe." When I found out it stands for "super user do," I assumed it shoud be pronounced "sue-doo," and have used that pronuncation ever since.

Recently, I've been looking up Linux stuff on Youtube and most people pronounce it "sue-doe." I still prefer to say "sue-doo."

So what do you think is the "right" way to pronounce it, and how do you pronounce it?

(Read the poll responses carefully. Sue-doe and sue-doo look very similar, make sure you vote for the right one.)

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 2:11 am UTC
by scarecrovv
It's clearly sue-doo. You want to use the powers you would have with the Switch User ("su") command (which defaults to root), to DO one thing. sudo. I've never heard anybody pronounce it sue-doe outside of arguments about how it should be pronounced, and I can't imagine any justification for pronouncing it that way.

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 3:24 am UTC
by brenok
scarecrovv wrote:I can't imagine any justification for pronouncing it that way.

The fact that it's written that way?

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 4:23 am UTC
by Nyktos
I say "su-doe". I sorta feel like it really should be "su-doo" but I say the word out loud so rarely that I don't feel like trying to change my prounciation for the occasions where I do. Like the OP, I heard about sudo long before I learned its etymology (quite possibly from that xkcd comic, though I'm not sure).

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 5:54 am UTC
by scarecrovv
brenok wrote:
scarecrovv wrote:I can't imagine any justification for pronouncing it that way.

The fact that it's written that way?

sudo

su do

We agree on how the first part is pronounced. The disagreement is over the second part. Are you trying to tell me that you say "You must doe your taxes by April 15" rather than "You must doo your taxes by April 15"?

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 6:25 am UTC
by Thesh
Pseudo is pronounced sue-doe - if you are looking for consistency in the English language, give up. Sumo is another example; I'm sure you can come up with more but, that said in this case it's pronounced like do in undo and redo.

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:55 am UTC
by King Author
lol at the fact that more people are voting sue-doe, but more people are posting in favor of sue-doo

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 6:15 pm UTC
by Flumble
I pronounce it /sydoː/ in Dutch and similar in English, so sue-doe/sew-dough it is.

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:53 am UTC
by Copper Bezel
I've half trained myself to say it correctly, but usually slip up. I think I might actually have been introduced to it as "super-user" (instead of the proper switch user) "do" , but it's hard to convince myself that it's a compound and not just some loan word with typical Romance language orthography.

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:43 am UTC
by King Author
Three Points in Favor of the Sue-Doo Pronunciation
1) Sue-doe sounds like the word "pseudo." When speaking aloud, you may confuse newcomers to *nix. You say "type sudo ls /usr/local/protected" and they hear "type pseudo ls [...]" and may even type 'pseudo.' With the sue-doo pronunciation, there is no ambiguity. They might not know what it means or how to spell it, but since it doesn't sound like any other word, they wouldn't think you said something else.

2) In *nix and programming in general, "do" is pronounced as expected -- "doo." And you would certainly learn "do" before you learn "sudo." There's no logical reason the pronunciation of "do" should change with a prefix. Indeed, I submit that the "pseudo" pronunciation originates from those who came across the term "sudo" without knowing its meaning or the "do" command in the first place. It's "switch user and do," not "switch user and dough." Similar to how "gif" is properly pronounced with a hard 'g' because "graphics" is pronounced with a hard 'g.' It's "graphics interchange format," not "jraffics interchange format."

3) Consider the /etc/sudoers file. "Sue-doe-ers" sounds awkward; "doe-ers" sounds like someone with a thick Southern U.S. accent saying "doors." By contrast, "sue-doo-ers" flows much more easily off the tongue, and as with point 2, keeps with the pronunciation of the root word "do."

3b) Imagine if there was such a term as "sudoing." Surely "sue-doo-ing" makes more sense, using the actual word "doing," rather than "sue-doe-ing," which again has a more awkward pronunciation.

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 4:28 pm UTC
by Nyktos
I'm not aware of a "do" command. It would be a pretty poor name for one, being a reserved word in Bourne shell.

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 6:30 pm UTC
by EvanED
King Author wrote:1) Sue-doe sounds like the word "pseudo." When speaking aloud, you may confuse newcomers to *nix. You say "type sudo ls /usr/local/protected" and they hear "type pseudo ls [...]" and may even type 'pseudo.' With the sue-doo pronunciation, there is no ambiguity. They might not know what it means or how to spell it, but since it doesn't sound like any other word, they wouldn't think you said something else.
So then they'll get "pseudo: command not found" and ask about it. Doesn't seem like a big deal.

(At least going by the customized error message that outputs the package name uninstalled commands are provided by, Ubuntu doesn't know about any packages providing a "pseudo" command, so the chance there would be one hanging around is pretty remote.)

And you would certainly learn "do" before you learn "sudo."
What do you mean by this? Because I don't really believe any interpretation that makes sense. If you mean literally the "do" command, then no... even a typical Linux user is pretty likely to encounter "sudo", if only to install things. (How often do you see instructions online to "run 'sudo apt-get install foo'" vs instructions to use a GUI package installer? Indeed, being able to precisely communicate what to do easily is one of the strengths of the CLI.) Not many people will use a do loop.

If you mean you'd learn to run "foo" before "sudo foo" for any particular foo, then no, you won't do that either because for 99% of the things you use sudo for, you're using sudo because you can't not use sudo. That is, you can't learn to run "foo" before "sudo foo" because "foo" doesn't work.

3) Consider the /etc/sudoers file. "Sue-doe-ers" sounds awkward; "doe-ers" sounds like someone with a thick Southern U.S. accent saying "doors." By contrast, "sue-doo-ers" flows much more easily off the tongue, and as with point 2, keeps with the pronunciation of the root word "do."

3b) Imagine if there was such a term as "sudoing." Surely "sue-doo-ing" makes more sense, using the actual word "doing," rather than "sue-doe-ing," which again has a more awkward pronunciation.
I don't agree with either of those. If anything, I think it argues against you. Because to the extent that "sue-doo-ing" sounds more natural than "sue-doe-ing", it's because it sounds like "su(doing)" whereas "(sudo)ing" is how it should sound. Same with s/ing/ers/. At least IMO.

I'm a sue-doe person, and I think that's what most people I know pronounce it... but I think an analogy to "undo" or "redo" is kind of convincing.

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:57 pm UTC
by gmalivuk
King Author wrote:Similar to how "gif" is properly pronounced with a hard 'g' because "graphics" is pronounced with a hard 'g.' It's "graphics interchange format," not "jraffics interchange format."
Like how "laser" is pronounced like "lace-er", because the "s" stands for "stimulated"?

In any case, yes, logically it "should" be pronounced the same as the verb "do" in the pattern of undo, redo, outdo, ado, and to-do (and any other thing-plus-the-verb-'do' words that I'm forgetting). Unfortunately natural language in general, and English pronunciation in particular, cares little for your petty notions of "logic". And literally every other word in the English language that ends with the letters "-do" is pronounced to rhyme with "doe".

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 4:55 am UTC
by scarecrovv
gmalivuk wrote:And literally every other word in the English language that ends with the letters "-do" is pronounced to rhyme with "doe".


The words "do", "redo", and "undo" beg to differ.

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 5:05 am UTC
by EvanED
...it's almost like he mentioned them two sentences earlier! :-)

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 5:58 am UTC
by scarecrovv
Ah, so he did. Still, sudo is not the only word pronounced with a doo sound.

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 9:47 am UTC
by Flumble
Then again, su- is not a prefix. (and its closest prefix, sub-, is the quite the contrary of sudo)

Tornado, torpedo, libido, avocado, dodo, judo and all other words that are not prefix+do or a compound with do are pronounced as dough.

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 3:40 am UTC
by scarecrovv
Flumble wrote:Then again, su- is not a prefix. (and its closest prefix, sub-, is the quite the contrary of sudo)

Tornado, torpedo, libido, avocado, dodo, judo and all other words that are not prefix+do or a compound with do are pronounced as dough.

Of course su- is a prefix. It modifies the base word to mean "with elevated permissions". sudo = "do with elevated permissions".

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:55 am UTC
by Copper Bezel
More a compound than an affix since it has lexical meaning by itself and doesn't have to be bound.

But more importantly, it's not one of those recognizable existing English prefixes that we know to lop off when we recognize a pronunciation.

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 10:21 am UTC
by Xenomortis
I always mentally translate it to "please" in my head.
I'm sure that's how I'd pronounce it too.

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 6:50 pm UTC
by troyp
I say it as "su do". It doesn't bother me if people pronounce it to rhyme with "Ludo", although I'm surprised so many people do. I expected "su do" to be at least as popular in the poll.

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Sat Aug 09, 2014 5:02 am UTC
by Jolnanis
In English clearly sudoo, because as it has been said, SU DO.

However in French I pronounce it südo /sydo/, because it's how you would pronounce the reunion of four letters S.U.D.O.

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:12 pm UTC
by markfiend
Ess-You-do :P

Actually, I pronounce it the same as pseudo.

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 12:20 pm UTC
by eviloatmeal
In my opinion:

switch user superuser, do

Ergo ess-you-doo.

And this is the justification for why "sue-doo" is not more correct, and you should simply pronounce it "pseudo", because that's what seems natural.

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 12:14 am UTC
by chasesan
I pronounce it sue-doe, because that's how I have always pronounced it, and I am not going to change the way I pronounce it just because someone dislikes the way I pronounce it. Have a nice day.

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 1:43 am UTC
by gmalivuk
chasesan wrote:I pronounce it sue-doe, because that's how I have always pronounced it, and I am not going to change the way I pronounce it just because someone dislikes the way I pronounce it. Have a nice day.

Yeah, but that argument could literally be used for any pronunciation you picked for anything at all, no matter how wrong or nonsensical.

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 11:06 am UTC
by Flumble
gmalivuk wrote:
chasesan wrote:I pronounce it sue-doe, because that's how I have always pronounced it, and I am not going to change the way I pronounce it just because someone dislikes the way I pronounce it. Have a nice day.

Yeah, but that argument could literally be used for any pronunciation you picked for anything at all, no matter how wrong or nonsensical.

Yeah, but this is a war. We're not here to discuss and reach an agreement, right? :mrgreen:

Crush the infidels who do not pronounce it "sue-dough"!

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 3:11 pm UTC
by troyp
eviloatmeal wrote:switch user, do

Ergo ess-you-doo.

su doesn't stand for "switch user". It stands for "superuser" (although some people claim it stands for "substitute user").

If you look at man pages, they'll usually say something like "change user ID or become superuser" or else something about "substitute user". The "substitute user" thing seems to be a later reinterpretation (probably because some people were distressed that its name was no longer fully general).

LINFO claims "substitute user" and specifically asserts that "superuser" is incorrect, but gives no justification.

However, The UNIX acronym list says "superuser" and does give evidence, which is hard to dispute: the source for su.c from UNIX v6, where the command allowed the user to become superuser only, and the function was introduced as /* su -- become super-user */.

And this is the justification for why "sue-doo" is not more correct, and you should simply pronounce it "pseudo", because that's what seems natural.

I don't think "sue-doe" sounds more natural. Okay, I guess it does as an isolated word... but once you stick at the front of a command, "su do" sounds more natural to me. It has a nice imperative sound to it.

Incidentally, I'm not sure "pseudo" works very well to describe a pronunciation, since it has at least two of its own. (I'm fairly sure people mean the version without the semivowel between s and eu, but still.)

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:00 am UTC
by Bloopy
I had read it in my head as sue-doe, even once I knew what I meant, but I'll change with time I think. Though chances are I'll never actually hear it or need to pronounce it out loud.

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:32 am UTC
by eviloatmeal
troyp wrote:su doesn't stand for "switch user". It stands for "superuser" (although some people claim it stands for "substitute user").

Fair enough. The key point is that it should be treated as two letters, like AD, BC, PS, etc., and not as an acronym to be pronounced, like SOPA or WENIS. You wouldn't say "the year 3000 buh-k" (unless you're Fonejacker), and thus neither should you say "sue doo".

troyp wrote:I don't think "sue-doe" sounds more natural. Okay, I guess it does as an isolated word... but once you stick at the front of a command, "su do" sounds more natural to me. It has a nice imperative sound to it.

"Sue-doo" doesn't roll off my tongue like "pseudo". The double stress is really bothersome to me.

troyp wrote:Incidentally, I'm not sure "pseudo" works very well to describe a pronunciation, since it has at least two of its own. (I'm fairly sure people mean the version without the semivowel between s and eu, but still.)

Either is acceptable - if you like diphthongs then put an extra one in there. I used "pseudo" precisely to describe "pseudo", whichever English pronunciation you use. Personally I prefer it with just the one - on the O.

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:38 pm UTC
by gmalivuk
eviloatmeal wrote:The key point is that it should be treated as two letters, like AD, BC, PS, etc., and not as an acronym to be pronounced, like SOPA or WENIS.
Why? You haven't argued this point, you've just asserted it.

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 8:56 am UTC
by eviloatmeal
gmalivuk wrote:
eviloatmeal wrote:The key point is that it should be treated as two letters, like AD, BC, PS, etc., and not as an acronym to be pronounced, like SOPA or WENIS.
Why? You haven't argued this point, you've just asserted it.

I was simply saying that this is the key point of my opinion - that "su", like "vi", should be treated as two letters, and not as a word. As a result of that, I feel it doesn't make more sense to pronounce it "sue doo". If "sue doo" is no more "correct" than any other pronunciation, then we might as well use the one that is most convenient, and I think that "pseudo", "sumo", and so on are more similar to "sudo" than "voodoo", "doo-doo", "do do" (the opposite of "don't do") etc..

Of course, one is welcome to lug around the heavy, cumbersome "ess-you-doo", if one should prefer*. The argument I am making is between the two choices in the poll.

*
Spoiler:
Image
If a person says "ess-you-doo", I'm taking that person back to the place with the padded walls.

Although... one could simply avoid the entire issue by doing this:
Spoiler:
/bin/xbox:

Code: Select all

#!/bin/bash
sudo $*

Which enables one to:

Code: Select all

~$ xbox make me a sandwich
Password:
make: *** No rule to make target `me'.  Stop.

I'm going to the padded place, am I not...?

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 1:05 pm UTC
by Flumble
eviloatmeal wrote:
Spoiler:
/bin/xbox:

Code: Select all

#!/bin/bash
sudo $*

Which enables you to:

Code: Select all

~$ xbox make me a sandwich
Password:
make: *** No rule to make target `me'.  Stop.

I'm going to the padded place, aren't I...?

I'd advise using the alias "please". "please" is a nice way of telling your computer who's the boss.
Spoiler:
And since the robot apocalypse is nigh:
/bin/hal

Code: Select all

#!/bin/bash
sudo $* 2>/dev/null
if [$? -ne 0] then echo "I'm sorry $username, I'm afraid I can't do that." fi

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 2:06 pm UTC
by EvanED
I'd advocate

Code: Select all

function would() {
    if [[ "$1" != "you" ]] || [[ "$2" != "kindly" ]]; then
        echo "would you kindly [command]"
    else
        shift 3
        sudo "$@"
    fi
}

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 7:18 pm UTC
by gmalivuk
eviloatmeal wrote:Of course, you're welcome to lug around the heavy, cumbersome "ess-you-doo", if you prefer*. I'm just arguing for my preference out of the choices in the poll.
Huh? You were the only one to suggest "ess-you-doo".

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 7:38 pm UTC
by KnightExemplar
For what its worth, I pronounce it "Es-you-Do"

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:59 am UTC
by eviloatmeal
gmalivuk wrote:Huh? You were the only one to suggest "ess-you-doo".

Fine, I'll fix the semantics. Gosh.

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:22 pm UTC
by gmalivuk
I still don't see how your correctness claim, that pronouncing s and u separately is somehow more pedantically correct or whatever, makes any sense.

Do you similarly argue that "radar" is more convenient but "ray-dee-ay-are" is more correct somehow?

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:53 pm UTC
by eviloatmeal
gmalivuk wrote:Do you similarly argue that "radar" is most correct as "ray-dee-ay-are"?

No, that one's an acronym.

I don't have any evidence for the idea that the U in "su" is the first letter of the word "user", as opposed to the letter following the S, but that's my intuition, and that's what I base my beliefs on. If you can find some evidence to the contrary (similar to Steve Wilhite and his "giraffics interchange format" :roll: ), then I'll concede that I'm wrong, and that I'm purely pronouncing it the way that feels natural to me, and will also mock whoever came up with a name for a command that rhymes with "doodoo".

Re: The Pronunciation of Sudo

Posted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 1:08 pm UTC
by Xenomortis
http://minnie.tuhs.org/cgi-bin/utree.pl ... ce/s2/su.c
UNIX V5 su.c wrote:

Code: Select all

/* su -- become super-user */


(found via https://pthree.org/2009/12/31/the-meaning-of-su/)

But even so, why pronounce it as two letters?
Given the above, you could say it's in the same boat as radar - compare Radio Detection And Ranging with Super User Do.