When you freshly set up a Linux distribution by hand, you get a lot of verbose output when booting into your system, but also install'n'go distributions like Ubuntu oder SUSE output some text when loading the kernel. This is not always desired and many people want to suppress these insistent system messages, but it's not as easy as you might think.
The UNIX philosophy is based on the DRY principle which declares: “Don't repeat yourself”. Therefore, a program just does what it's made for and uses libraries or even other programs on your system to do a more advanced job. Some of these auxiliary programs are user definable and probably you already know the
EDITOR environment variable, which specifies your default editor for the console. This is used, e.g., for the command
visudo, which opens your
/etc/sudoers file safely, or by
svn to input a commit comment. But another important component is your console pager, which is used to display textual content on the console.