Talk:Magic cookie

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Origin of name[edit]

why is it called a cookie?

damn, you're right. if you try and find out why a cookie is called a cookie, they tell you it's from magic cookies, but where did they get the name from? [They tell you? Who is "they"]

("Magic cookie" comes from Dan O'Neil's cartoon strip "Odd Bodkins", which ran in the San Francisco "Chronicle" from '63 to '70. It was a euphemistic name for lsd, although the route from there to Silicon Valley is unclear.'Neill) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:21, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

Indeed it is not clear. Also, 'They' are very quiet on the origin of the term. Wondering why ... is it because it is quite sinister? Like a cuckoo-egg? After all, that is what it is. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:32, 24 July 2013 (UTC)

Hmm, Can we merge this with "Http Magic Cookies" There virtually the same article.

Pages like this refer to an Adventure game.. Colossal Cave? But a grep of the original source (the top link) shows no mention of cookies. I had heard that it had something to do with some fairy story. 「ѕʀʟ·」 02:53, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

I have found these two pages [1] [2], which offer a possible explanation of the name "cookie". Some more verification is needed. - Liberatore(T) 13:03, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

I have always figured that the term derives from its use in the Portable C Compiler source code, written in the 1970's. see Anyone who has spent enough hours studying that code would find it quite natural to use the term "cookie" as a (goal) token. As for the "socio-historical" reasons for its use there, you'd need to track down the author of said portable C compiler. —rmd

Or it could be from Alice in Wonderland (like README), or maybe it's an allusion to an Alice B. Toklas brownie... Ideally the person or persons who coined the term would step forward, but these things are notoriously hard to track down. 19:28, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

I am not a native English speaker: Is "magic cookie" perhaps just another name for a fortune cookie?
Not in general, no. It's also notable that fortune has a distinct meaning in hacker jargon which definitely does derive from fortune cookies, and there's nothing particularly magical about fortune cookies. That said, anything is possible, since we don't know. 17:39, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

For the records: hackers relate the term to the cookie monster - it's a vivid description of a token exchange mechanism. The cookie monster can and will eat everything that you offer to it and if the thing is called a "cookie" it would not even look for long - take it and swallow it. Any further historic anecdote is probably made up - the roots of the term are in the mere language expression of "want a cookie? have a cookie!" which is even older than the cookie monster - just imagine a child begging for sweets... it's not quite but entirely unlike. 03:00, 5 August 2006 (UTC) says that that "cookie" predates Sesame Street. 23:32, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

[Added on 2008.10.10] : I don't believe computer's Cookies are named after the Cookie Monster, but about the so-called "fortune-cookies" of the chinese restaurants. Inside it is a little ribbon of paper, with a little sentence (a character string) in it. The relation between the original and its computer sibling is evident !

It may be derived from the concept of "Cookie In The Cookie Jar" - You fill a cookie jar with various cookies, and as needed, cookies are taken out to be eaten. Certain people will eat certain cookies, as certain websites will use certain cookies. Cookie snacks eventually expire, as they go stale; just as website cookies eventually expire, as they have no more meaning or use. Someone may save a cookie in the cookie jar (or temporary internet files) to come back to it later. Websites save their cookies to come back to it later, when needed. - DJJD - (talk) 01:33, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

The last reference cited was from an article written by an R. Kayne at I've send a message requesting a source for their claim to it's origin. Somejeff (talk) 06:13, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Got a response from WiseGeek. They can't contact the author, R. Kayne, nor can they back up the claim to "Fortune cookie". They removed the sentence from the article. Kayne, if you're out there, call us! Somejeff (talk) 20:49, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
It doesn't appear likely ("R Kayne" is "arcane") Tedickey (talk) 22:08, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Now that it seems that the "fortune cookie" guess is as good as any, I have one more: Could it allude to a Proustian madeleine? It's the metaphor par excellence for a memory carrier object.-- (talk) 15:41, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Atari ST TOS use "Cookie Jar" for storing information about available hardware and software: Calimero (talk) 08:03, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

TOS Rom version 1.06 from 19 June 1999 (and later versions) create a cookie jar (to tell subsequent software which features are present on the machine) when booting according to the Atari CompendiumMjw 333 (talk) 14:23, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Once upon a time, I asked Dennis Ritchie about the origin of the term magic cookie as used in the man page for ftell and fseek in the C library. He said that, so far as he knew, the usage in that man page was a new coinage. That man page is not present in V5 UNIX but it is present in the manuals for V7 UNIX and 4.2BSD. I have quoted the relevant sentence from that manual on the Wikipedia page; the wording makes it clear that the meaning is the same as the contemporary meaning for magic cookie (in the broader sense than HTML cookie). Any speculation about derivation from cookie monsters or LSD cookies seems, at this point, irrelevant compared to tracking down the first use of the term in its modern sense. Douglas W. Jones (talk) 21:15, 24 February 2017 (UTC)

HTTP cookie[edit]

I have submitted the article HTTP cookie for peer review (I am posting this notice here as this article is related). Comments are welcome here: Wikipedia:Peer review/HTTP cookie/archive1. Thanks. - Liberatore(T) 16:56, 14 January 2006 (UTC)


This article is pretty good, but it is inappropriate to rely on a single source. Mrschwen (talk) 08:21, 17 October 2012 (UTC)


I have removed the "Security" section that contained:

Some cookies (such as HTTP cookies) have a digital signature appended to them or are otherwise encrypted, thus hostile users or applications are unable to forge a cookie and present it to the sending application, in order to gain access to that which the hostile user is otherwise not entitled. Depending on the nature of the encryption algorithm used, users may be able to verify that a cookie is authentic.

That will need some strong sources as it flies in the face of how cookies are normally used. --Marc Kupper|talk 21:23, 15 August 2013 (UTC)