Who named the file that websites can place on your computer for, for example advertising, and what is the connection with cookie as a food?

closed as off-topic by Andrew Leach, anongoodnurse, tchrist, choster, FumbleFingers May 10 '14 at 22:08

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. A list of these references can be found here: List of general references" – Andrew Leach, anongoodnurse, tchrist, choster, FumbleFingers
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    This is General Reference – Andrew Leach May 10 '14 at 18:32
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    Hi, S., and welcome to EL&U. What have you found on looking these terms up, that you can share with us? Have you tried Etymology Online? What, if anything, would you like us to help you understand? Questions that show and share research (and difficulties) are appreciated here. – anongoodnurse May 10 '14 at 18:35
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    Sorry, I completely forgot my manners. It's been a long day. Welcome to ELU; but I think everything you want to know is only a click away, and there's not much point in duplicating that information here. – Andrew Leach May 10 '14 at 18:40
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    @AndrewLeach - Although I know it was pinned from magic cookie I am not sure why cookie was used instead of a "better" word like ticket or token. I don't think Wikipedia answered the question, it just ports you to another question. I guess this one could be reworded to where does magic cookie come from (why was it named that)? – RyeɃreḁd May 10 '14 at 18:55
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    Why was this closed? The "General Reference" link does not explain origin of the term "magic cookie". Since the sources being referenced for information don't claim to have the answer this should be left open. Perhaps an expert has an answer to this. The has an origin within "remembered" history, so I doubt it's strictly unknowable. – Gorchestopher H Oct 28 '14 at 18:42

The problem with answering this type of question is that there are at least a dozen different answers depending on the story you believe. Before cookies were given their official name, they were in use at hundreds of companies, each of which had their own name for the text files. Developers for UNIX, Sun, and Xerox all have a story regarding the origin, the most common of which you can find here.

I messaged a friend who was a lead developer at Netscape, and he offered the common Hansel and Gretel theory. To the extent you are looking for the connection to food, the answer is in the crumbs.

  • There’s something really bizarre about stringing Unix, Sun, and Xerox together like that. Unix is an operating system; the other two are companies, of which the first has had a great deal of influence in the development of Unix, while the second was an early forerunner in graphical user interfaces. – tchrist May 10 '14 at 23:30

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