Dropping back to bsd-games again, here’s `caesar`

:

`caesar`

decrypts text encoded with a caesar cipher, an ancient letter substitution system. If you remember when we talked about rot13, `caesar`

does much the same thing, but doesn’t necessarily pirouette along the 13th character, like `rot13`

does.

`caesar`

includes a measure of calculation though, using the statistical values of common English letters to find the most likely answer. I should mention that — given the fact that `caesar`

will pick the statistical best answer, but not necessarily the intelligible one — it’s fairly easy to confound `caesar`

. Give it a short word like WCRIVKC and `caesar`

replies with FLARETL, when the correct answer is “synergy.”

It’s forgivable though. With a long enough string of normal English text, `caesar`

will likely give the right answer, no matter what shift you apply. I tried two different encryptions of “Now is the time for …” and `caesar`

decoded it correctly, each time.

I mention all this as a measure of praise for the program; I wouldn’t trust the cipher itself too far in this day and age. Of course, you might be able to find a few modern uses that don’t involve love notes between primary school children. 😉

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