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2 definitions found
 for bells and whistles
From The Jargon File (version 4.4.7, 29 Dec 2003) :

  bells and whistles
   n.
  
      [common] Features added to a program or system to make it more flavorful
      from a hacker's point of view, without necessarily adding to its utility
      for its primary function. Distinguished from chrome, which is intended to
      attract users. ?Now that we've got the basic program working, let's go back
      and add some bells and whistles.? No one seems to know what distinguishes a
      bell from a whistle. The recognized emphatic form is ?bells, whistles, and
      gongs?.
  
      It used to be thought that this term derived from the toyboxes on theater
      organs. However, the ?and gongs? strongly suggests a different origin, at
      sea. Before powered horns, ships routinely used bells, whistles, and gongs
      to signal each other over longer distances than voice can carry.
  
      [73-05-28]
  
      Sometimes ?trouble? is spelled bells and whistles...
  

From The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (18 March 2015) :

  bells and whistles
  
      (By analogy with the "toyboxes" on theatre organs).
     Features added to a program or system to make it more
     flavourful from a hacker's point of view, without
     necessarily adding to its utility for its primary function.
     Distinguished from chrome, which is intended to attract
     users.  "Now that we've got the basic program working, let's
     go back and add some bells and whistles."  No one seems to
     know what distinguishes a bell from a whistle.
  
     [{Jargon File]
  
     (2007-04-03)
  

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