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Ghosts of Unix past, part 4: High-maintenance designs

Ghosts of Unix past, part 4: High-maintenance designs

Posted Nov 23, 2010 19:55 UTC (Tue) by JamesErik (subscriber, #17417)
In reply to: Ghosts of Unix past, part 4: High-maintenance designs by ironiridis
Parent article: Ghosts of Unix past, part 4: High-maintenance designs

I do. 'Tis a good article all around.


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Ghosts of Unix past, part 4: High-maintenance designs

Posted Nov 23, 2010 19:58 UTC (Tue) by ironiridis (guest, #60586) [Link]

Make sure to bring up Autotools in the middle of your pastor's next sermon, then.

Ghosts of Unix past, part 4: High-maintenance designs

Posted Nov 23, 2010 21:09 UTC (Tue) by stijn (subscriber, #570) [Link]

The bible has had, among other things, huge impact on our use of language, on literature, on phrases, sayings, ideas, plots, and shift @list. Contrast this with the automake manual at your leisure. The reference in the fine article seems apt enough, and there is absolutely nothing that suggests disrespect, I would say quite the contrary. Sermons can in fact be wide ranging and include comments on or quote from aspects of modern day life. Your discontent is puzzling.

Ghosts of Unix past, part 4: High-maintenance designs

Posted Nov 23, 2010 21:18 UTC (Tue) by ironiridis (guest, #60586) [Link]

My discontent is merely that the bible is irrelevant to the discussion. There are plenty of other literary examples of the concept portrayed. The bible (at least the version commonly cited today) depicts murder, genocide, torture, and plenty of other vile topics that don't pertain to technical topics.

I suggested the commenter bring up Automake during the next sermon that his or her pastor delivers because it bares the same relevancy. One could discuss the fact that Automake is archaic, filled with ancient lore, long-dead language, and even relates to Creation itself. That doesn't make it appropriate to bring up in church (where the audience to such a discussion wouldn't care for it), just as bringing up the bible in a technical article about technical topics is jarring and bewildering.

I have no ire for Christians, or their beliefs. I simply don't care to be reminded of that particular spectrum of humanity when I am reading about Linux.

Still puzzled?

Ghosts of Unix past, part 4: High-maintenance designs

Posted Nov 23, 2010 21:33 UTC (Tue) by stijn (subscriber, #570) [Link]

I had assumed you came from the other side of the fence. I see a little more logic to your position now, but I am still mildly puzzled (in the other direction now, it is a pleasingly swaying sensation). The bible is an ancient book, a cauldron of many things, among which it having shaped some of our language and sayings. It is in fact much more than the holy book of christianity. To conclude with something completely (un)related, I've always thought that Richard Feynman was very lucid when commenting on both science and religion.

Ghosts of Unix past, part 4: High-maintenance designs

Posted Nov 23, 2010 22:09 UTC (Tue) by Simetrical (guest, #53439) [Link]

Shakespeare's works include murder, racism, sexism, and plenty of vile topics (many of which, indeed, can be linked to Christianity) that don't pertain to technical topics. Would you have objected to a Shakespeare quote?

Ghosts of Unix past, part 4: High-maintenance designs

Posted Nov 23, 2010 22:31 UTC (Tue) by ironiridis (guest, #60586) [Link]

To be clear, I'm not "objecting". To object would imply that I'd like the article to be censored, which isn't the case.

What I reacted to was referencing material that was simultaneously irrelevant and offensive to some (I'd wager many, in fact, but "some" is irrefutable)... while adding essentially no value to the article itself.

As an example, I don't understand why a piece of work that glorifies the genital mutilation of infants would be chosen to "clarify" why the setuid bit is a high-maintenance design. In fact, I can see clearly and totally without the biblical reference why it is a design that is difficult to maintain and develop around. I can understand the motivation behind its original design, and the frustration and confusion it causes today. All without being reminded that approximately 6,000 boys born each day in the US have their penis mutilated due mainly to a precedent set 4,000 years ago and perpetuated today mostly out of family indoctrination and brainwashing.

It's largely irrelevant, I suppose; my comment won't make any difference in the mind of the editor or author. Clearly my bias clashes with theirs. I simply wanted to make it known that, contrary to popular opinion, a biblical reference is not universally accepted as relevant, friendly, or innocent.

Ghosts of Unix past, part 4: High-maintenance designs

Posted Nov 24, 2010 6:37 UTC (Wed) by nicooo (guest, #69134) [Link]

Why are you reading an article about an operating system named after genital mutilation?

Ghosts of Unix past, part 4: High-maintenance designs

Posted Nov 24, 2010 13:11 UTC (Wed) by jackb (guest, #41909) [Link]

John Harvey Kellogg was also a proponent of circumcision so when you go to the grocery store do you protest the fact that they stock Corn Flakes?

Ghosts of Unix past, part 4: High-maintenance designs

Posted Nov 24, 2010 21:18 UTC (Wed) by jordanb (guest, #45668) [Link]

Remind me to never invite you to any parties.

Ghosts of Unix past, part 4: High-maintenance designs

Posted Nov 23, 2010 22:58 UTC (Tue) by neilbrown (subscriber, #359) [Link]

> There are plenty of other literary examples of the concept portrayed.

I would certainly be interested in any you could suggest. I tried to think of others and the closest I came was Douglas Adams' quip about underestimating the ingenuity of fools - it is in the right sort of direction but has entirely the wrong emphasis.

(Not that I think the bible is either more or less appropriate in a technical article than Dickens or Adams, but I'm keen to broaden my horizons and would love to hear any references you have in mind).

Ghosts of Unix past, part 4: High-maintenance designs

Posted Nov 23, 2010 21:26 UTC (Tue) by JamesErik (subscriber, #17417) [Link]

I'm not sure why a non-programmer of any stripe would care about Autotools, but I expect that many programmers care about fundamental truths of human nature. After all, it's easy and commonplace to: be up to one's eyeballs in debt, surrender liberty for security, use Windows, etc. It's often a long time before one figures out that the easy road was the road to destruction.

Neil makes a good case that this fundamental truth is applicable to the domain of Operating System design. A pat on the back to Neil. And yes I did want to make clear to Our Editor, in light of your post, that indeed someone from the readership liked and appreciated the reference.

Ghosts of Unix past, part 4: High-maintenance designs

Posted Nov 23, 2010 21:31 UTC (Tue) by ironiridis (guest, #60586) [Link]

I'm certainly not interested in an arms race here, but if it mattered to me as much as it seems to matter to you, I'd just end my paid subscription.

Ghosts of Unix past, part 4: High-maintenance designs

Posted Nov 24, 2010 0:15 UTC (Wed) by ikm (subscriber, #493) [Link]

> it's easy and commonplace to: be up to one's eyeballs in debt, surrender liberty for security, use Windows,

participate on lwn.net flames...

> It's often a long time before one figures out that the easy road was the road to destruction.

Indeed it is!


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