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[P]
Unix-Hater's Handbook released to public

By obsidian head in Technology
Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 03:22:01 PM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)
Technology

A book I've been searching for a long time has finally been released free to the public. The Unix-Hater's Handbook talks about Unix's design (or lack thereof), in a detailed manner that many tech communities nowadays consider heretical.

In the spirit of fairness and entertainment, it includes Unix creator Dennis Ritchie's blisteringly stinging anti-foreword, as well as usability guru Donald A. Norman's more conciliatory foreword.


Hopefully this handbook doesn't become fodder for the latest OS pissing contest. As a master carpenter may hate the tools he/she is given but isn't immaturely blind to their uses, we can also be seasoned enough to extract more from this Handbook than "Unix suXoRs!" Even though, frankly, that is its main thesis.

Personally, I've always wanted a deeper look at what makes an operating system usable, as well as their design mistakes. On even good sites such as OSNews or Joel on Software, the most I hear is that Unix projects don't have resources to spend on usability, so it suffers. But is there a historical pattern of bad UI at its core, which influences everything that comes in contact with it? The Unix-Hater's Handbook claims there is.

I liken starting one's computing career with Unix, say as an undergraduate, to being born in East Africa. It is intolerably hot, your body is covered with lice and flies, you are malnourished and you suffer from numerous curable diseases. But, as far as young East Africans can tell, this is simply the natural condition and they live within it. By the time they find out differently, it is too late. They already think that the writing of shell scripts is a natural act.
-- Ken Pier, Xerox PARC

In some ways, this book is like an alternate universe Slashdot, still full of angry people, but funnier and anti-Unix. They write, "None of us were born in the computing analog of Ken Pier's East Africa. We have all experienced much more advanced, usable, and elegant systems than Unix ever was, or ever can be. Some of these systems have increasingly forgotten names, such as TOPS-20, ITS (the Incompatible Timesharing System), Multics, Apollo Domain, the Lisp Machine, Cedar/Mesa, and the Dorado."

I have not even heard of some of these systems, nor used any. It is refreshing to hear a point of view that many consider heretical and distant, even though I suspect the other OSes weren't perfect either. I have looked hard at liking Unix, even reading those Kernighan books full of appreciation for his system, but my attention always drifted.

At the same time, the book admits that Unix has some powerful survival traits. What kind of wisdom does that give Unix? In the end, this book is no doubt required reading for even Unix aficionados, who should read about the gotchas of their beloved operating system. Plus, it's funny to see how appalled the authors act about those perverse Unix error message contests.

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Unix-Hater's Handbook released to public | 220 comments (168 topical, 52 editorial, 1 hidden)
+1 FP (2.00 / 6) (#1)
by BankofAmerica ATM on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 09:45:33 PM EST


STOP PROJECT FAUSTUS!

Surely they must be trolling (3.66 / 2) (#5)
by khallow on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 09:54:12 PM EST

"None of us were born in the computing analog of Ken Pier's East Africa. We have all experienced much more advanced, usable, and elegant systems than Unix ever was, or ever can be. Some of these systems have increasingly forgotten names, such as TOPS-20, ITS (the Incompatible Timesharing System), Multics, Apollo Domain, the Lisp Machine, Cedar/Mesa, and the Dorado."

Having some minor experience with the first three on the list TOPS-20, ITS, and Multics, I really can't see what they are talking about. And "the Lisp Machine" sounds like another one of those MIT abominations that trouble good, honest folk. Maybe I'm from East Africa, but these people seem to be from a different plane of existence.

Stating the obvious since 1969.

Just too bad (3.00 / 1) (#6)
by Judas Iscariot on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 09:56:58 PM EST

that they fall in the bitter lisp-weenie trap.  It makes 'em sound like sore loser much of the time.  And why is unix to blame for the crapness of Usenet?

The part on CPP is pretty goddamned right on the fookin' money though.


This is really old news. (4.88 / 9) (#8)
by NFW on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 10:27:56 PM EST

The haters handbook has been around as long as unix itself, and it even comes with unix. To view a few excerpts, try the following commands:

man vi
man sed
man awk
...


--
Got birds?


http://research.microsoft.com ? (4.60 / 5) (#9)
by pyramid termite on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 10:28:27 PM EST

Hmm. Gosh, I can't imagine why a Microsoft employee would make such a book available on a Microsoft website.

I've skimmed through the book before and found it funny and true, though. Still, I hate Windows more than I hate Unix, simply because I use Windows more.

It's computers, damn it. They suck.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
Its an artifact of an older age (4.50 / 4) (#37)
by X3nocide on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 03:18:40 AM EST

I find it somewhat ironic that these days we view UNIX as this big, secure and scary machine, when during its own infancy it was derided as inferior (and may still be) to MULTICS, from whence UNIX jokingly derived its name. Now windows follows the same worse-is-better-ideology, it seems.

Are we doomed to ever decreasing security, or do systems somehow overcome the common belief that security isn't something that can be added, but must rather be planned for and incoporated into?

pwnguin.net
[ Parent ]

multics was crap (5.00 / 1) (#182)
by dh003i on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 01:28:37 AM EST

I think the fact that UNIX and *nix-based OS', or *nix-like OS have survived the last half century is pretty much proof of the superiority of the basic concept. Multics, on the other hand, was bloated slow crap.

Social Security is a pyramid scam.
[ Parent ]

Multics was great (4.50 / 2) (#191)
by Maniac on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 09:48:30 AM EST

>Multics, on the other hand, was bloated slow crap.

If you had personal experience with Multics and described that - perhaps you could make a reasonable point. However, as a user of MIT-MULTICS, HI-MULTICS, and one or more of the developer machines in Phoenix, I did not find Multics to be "bloated slow crap".

There were a number of features that made it very effective for software development. Dynamic linking and the io_ subsystem are two parts I have long wished to see adapted to Unix systems. I had many more comments on this topic, but the article I posted a year or so ago when the last Multics machine was shut down appears to have been removed [sigh].

  --Maniac


[ Parent ]

Umm.. (5.00 / 5) (#150)
by Ni on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 06:53:00 AM EST

Gosh, I can't imagine why a Microsoft employee would make such a book available on a Microsoft website.

Because he wrote it?


In Soviet Russia goatse emacs' an OS X gui YOU! -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]

Had that book once. (2.00 / 3) (#18)
by exile1974 on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 11:18:39 PM EST

It actually was a fun read with a lot of tongue in cheek. But if it is being released to the public why does your link point to a M$ site?

exile1974

"A sucking chest wound is Nature's way of telling you to stay out of a firefight." --Mary Gentle

Maybe... (5.00 / 1) (#147)
by skim123 on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 04:37:23 AM EST

Because the book is online in its entirety at an MS site: http://research.microsoft.com/~daniel/uhh.pdf. The reason being one of the book's authors works at Microsoft research.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
nice quote in the foreword (4.66 / 6) (#20)
by martingale on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 11:49:44 PM EST

Donald Norman writes this in the foreword:
As for me? I switched to the Mac. No more grep, no more piping, no more SED scripts. Just a simple, elegant life: "Your application has unexpectedly quit due to error number -1, OK?"
I wonder if he feels these days like the hero in a slasher movie, always two steps ahead of the serial killer ;-)

another fun quote (4.80 / 5) (#28)
by martingale on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 01:34:40 AM EST

From p. 185:
According to legend, Stu Feldman didn't fix make's syntax, after he realized that the syntax was broken, because he already had 10 users.


[ Parent ]
What? (none / 0) (#99)
by Drooling Iguana on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 03:52:31 PM EST

No Grep? No piping? How does he survive?

[ Parent ]
OS X (5.00 / 1) (#104)
by bigbtommy on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 05:07:12 PM EST

I bought a Mac simply because I could grep and pipe.  Whoops.
-- bbCity.co.uk - When I see kids, I speed up
[ Parent ]
The Joy of Unix (4.81 / 11) (#23)
by jonathon on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 12:44:45 AM EST

I'm going to resist the temptation of getting into a *nix vs. Windows debate but my point is a simple one. My Windows XP machine has daily application hangs and monthly Blue Screens of Death. My Debian Linux box hasn't crashed in three years and application segmentation faults are exceptionally rare. That said I wouldn't argue that Unix/Unix clones are perfect and would tend to agree with the following quotes:

'Contrary to popular belief, Unix is user friendly. It just happens to be very selective about who it decides to make friends with' -- Anonymous

'Unix is simple. It just takes a genius to understand its simplicity' -- Dennis Ritchie

It is not clear that intelligence has any long-term survival value.
-- Stephen Hawking
I wonder... (1.30 / 10) (#46)
by Relayer on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 08:02:02 AM EST

How in the fuck-hell of damnedness your XP machine gets bluescreen errors when they don't even EXIST in that OS.

Then again, I hate when I can't get my Chooser running right in Win2k. It must be a horrible programming fault of Microsoft.

Fucking Microsoft.

It tastes sweet.


[ Parent ]

Bull (4.83 / 6) (#47)
by Cloaked User on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 08:17:57 AM EST

I have had my XP machine bluescreen. I have a Creative GeForce3 card, and when using their 4.0.x drivers with it, the boot sequence went as follows:
  1. switch on, wait for machine to boot
  2. log in
  3. wait
  4. watch machine reboot
  5. log in
  6. wait
  7. finally have useable PC
If you watched very closely at step 4), you'd see the screen go blue with white text for a fraction of a second.

If you invoke the "System Properties" control, then choose "Advanced", then "Startup and Recovery", you'll see that there's an option to automatically restart on system failure. That is checked by default, hence you don't see the bluescreen - the machine restarts immediately. The bsod itself, though, does still exist.
--
"What the fuck do you mean 'Are you inspired to come to work'? Of course I'm not 'inspired'. It's a job for God's sake! The money's enough and the work's not so crap that I leave."
[ Parent ]

You're not in the habit of. (2.20 / 5) (#48)
by Relayer on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 08:38:27 AM EST

Updating your drivers when you install a new operating system?

Huh, sounds like a user problem to me.

It tastes sweet.


[ Parent ]

hah (5.00 / 2) (#71)
by calimehtar on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 12:21:37 PM EST

I almost reflexively rated you a 5. That's priceless -- "user error".

[ Parent ]
So, you drive for 10 years without changing oil? (5.00 / 1) (#82)
by omrib on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 01:59:46 PM EST

Sounds like...

[ Parent ]
as terse as he sounded, (5.00 / 1) (#83)
by Run4YourLives on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 02:02:54 PM EST

He's right...

The boot sequence you described is certainly not normal.

Considering that the current driver for a gf3 for Windows 2000/XP is version 43.45 you may want to try upgrading your drivers before dissing Windows.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Or perhaps... (4.00 / 1) (#108)
by TheEldestOyster on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 05:40:58 PM EST

Does Creative distribute their own drivers for it? He did say "their driver", and never once did he mention nvidia. Also, 4.0.x is not an nvidia version pattern.
--
TheEldestOyster (rizen/bancus) * PGP Signed/Encrypted mail preferred
[ Parent ]
mm... (none / 0) (#117)
by Run4YourLives on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 06:45:20 PM EST

probably so, that's his problem though, not mine. :-)

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Well DUH (5.00 / 1) (#160)
by mcgrew on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 12:13:21 PM EST

"Huh, sounds like a user problem to me."

Yeah, and if the fraggin' POS starts smoking and throwing sparks the user has an even BIGGER problem.

Sounds to me like whoever wrote the OS doesn't have very good skills at handling exception errors.

Now, a user ERROR is when he inputs the wrong data- like, say, deltree /y *.*

But updating the drivers on every piece of hardware bacause you update the OS? How about the God damned OS update the drivers when you install it?

But blame the victim. Windows users aren't supposed to be computer savvy, fool.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

What operating system are you using? (none / 0) (#170)
by omrib on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 07:18:13 PM EST

It sounds wonderful to me - can I also have a copy?

"I need to change oil after 10 years of driving? How about the God Damned car manufacturer provides me with a decent car that doesn't break down without a reason? Drivers aren't supposed to be car mechanics! And how on earth should I GUESS what's wrong with my car?"

[ Parent ]

I love car analogies (5.00 / 1) (#176)
by mcgrew on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 09:38:18 PM EST

What operating system are you using?

Mandrake. It works.

I'm also using windows 98 on a different drive in the same box. It works, too. Kinda.

"I need to change oil after 10 years of driving?

RTFM. It's in the glove box. My windows FM doesn't say jack shit about updating drivers. Or BSODs.

How about the God Damned car manufacturer provides me with a decent car that doesn't break down without a reason?

RTFM. It explains very patiently for non-mechanics- without patronizing. It's in the glove box.

Drivers aren't supposed to be car mechanics! And how on earth should I GUESS what's wrong with my car?"

You don't. If something goes wrong and it's under warrantee, you take it to the dealer and he fixes it. BTW, How do you like that warrantee you got with windows?

If it isn't under warrantee I pay somebody to fix it.

Now instead of just being a troll, smartass, how about answering the question- if I update windows, why doesn't it update the drivers as well? Mandrake does!

If you want a windows linux pissing match I can talk about cars all day. First on race day, but found on road dead (Fix or repair daily).

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

RTFM = user responsibility (none / 0) (#189)
by omrib on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 04:47:49 AM EST

By using the term "RTFM" you acknowledge the fact that the user has some responsibility, at least to read the manual, understand it, and act accordingly.

My graphics card manual does tell me to check for updates. I can ignore it, but it wouldn't be wise.

And no, I'm not going to go down the Linux/Windows argument path, because it doesn't lead anywhere. But I won't ignore your question:

Now instead of just being a troll, smartass, how about answering the question- if I update windows, why doesn't it update the drivers as well? Mandrake does!

In my case, Mandrake doesn't - simply because there isn't a Linux driver for my hardware. My fault? Maybe, but that's the hardware my ISP supplies, and other than not connecting to the internet, there isn't much I can do.

However, when I connect that same USB modem while running Windows, it tells me that there's a new device and asks me to insert the floppy I got with it. From that point everything is done automatically for me.


[ Parent ]

Yes. (5.00 / 1) (#193)
by pb on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 11:09:22 AM EST

Always RTFM, especially if you don't know what the hell you're doing. That's why T F M is there: to R it...

I was lucky, I learned this long ago, when there actually were useful manuals distributed with OSes. (in my case, DOS 3.2...)

As for the rest of it... good luck! I don't use Mandrake or USB modems. I'm quite happy with Gentoo and ethernet (hooked up to a router, which is hooked up to a cable modem...), and I don't mind doing some grunt work for it... because even if Windows did work perfectly, it would still piss me off to no end, and I wouldn't get as much work done. But obviously that's a personal choice. :)
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Grab clue (4.60 / 5) (#51)
by sinexoverx on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 08:47:39 AM EST

BSODs DO happen in XP. I have had a handfull of them. XP is much more stable than 98 was but it still crashes. As a matter of fact I had a bluescreen of death today. I have also had crashes where I don't even get a bluescreen, just a lock up. The only option is to a hard reset and hope the file system was not corrupted. I have had crashes where XP completely crashs to a hard reboot followed by a long filesystem repair during XP boot.

On the other side of the coin I have had lots of Gnome and KDE crashes where pressing the reset button on the computer was the only option I had at the time. Note that Linux didn't necessarily crash, just the GUI. Hard to recover from such errors while blind. I suspect that if I had another computer to log into the box, I could have killed Gnome or KDE and done a graceful reboot or even restart the GUI. Linux is very flexible. Linux is gradually catching up with DOS (oops I mean 2000/XP) as far as ease of use goes.

Bulletproof OSes are a couple decades or more away, if ever.

[ Parent ]

Good lord. (4.50 / 2) (#53)
by Relayer on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 08:57:36 AM EST

What do you people do to your machines?

It tastes sweet.


[ Parent ]

Correct (5.00 / 1) (#54)
by sinexoverx on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 09:09:07 AM EST

If you only do what is normal then you never encounter bugs. If all you do is run IE to surf the web and Outlook for email, etc. Then you probably won't get any BSODs. Probably. That is the nature of the beast. Common bugs are the first to be fixed. But XP is not immune to BSODs. Even using IE I bet there are bugs that will yeild regular BSODs but they only happen when doing things rarely done. Stray from the straight and narrow and you will run into problems. IMHO it is always the OS's fault when you get a crash, unless it's a hardware crash where it is excusable for now.

[ Parent ]
So far (3.33 / 3) (#55)
by Relayer on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 09:13:56 AM EST

The two examples have been hardware issues. Not having an updated driver, and, of course, booting is either hardware or something the user did, especially if it boots correctly the second time.

I use my XP machine for programming, writing automated databases (which takes FOREVER on a 266Mhz machine) among the more normal uses. I don't really know what you mean by "straying from the straight and narrow."

What do you mean?

It tastes sweet.


[ Parent ]

Exactly (1.00 / 5) (#57)
by sinexoverx on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 09:33:35 AM EST

There are 3 types of computer users. People who know, people who don't know but should, and people who should never know. I think you are a type 2. I have talked to you before so I know what an idiot you are.

[ Parent ]
Oh, ok (none / 0) (#59)
by Relayer on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 09:35:15 AM EST

Thanks.

It's good to know that I don't know something that I ought to.

It's also comforting to know that you think I'm an idiot.

On top of that, thanks for not saying anything along the way of making sense.

It tastes sweet.


[ Parent ]

don't worry (none / 0) (#81)
by Run4YourLives on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 01:58:33 PM EST

he just doesn't want to acknowledge that he might be group number two as well... :-)

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
A couple things (none / 0) (#97)
by sinexoverx on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 03:30:05 PM EST

First, Relayer and Jonathan are probably the same person. Relayer signed his posts Jonathan. Relayer was responding to Jonathan critisizing him for saying that XP could BSOD. So really Relayer/Jonathan is probably a troll.

Second, I didn't mean that he was an idiot for being a type 2. None of those types are necessarily idiots or geniouses. I said he was an idiot be cause I have had a conversation with him before. In that conversation he compared Gandhi and Saddam, implying that Saddam was just being civilly disobedient with respect to the tyranical UN sactions.

Also in this thread Relayer says that BSODs don't happen in XP, then 2 people dispute that, and so he claims that users were doing things that users should not do. He then proceeds to try and change the subject. The guy is an idiot. Or maybe just a troll. Or most probably both.

[ Parent ]

Cretin (none / 0) (#206)
by Peter Vile on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 05:12:35 AM EST

That's 11 types.

---
rusty made nowhere near $80K this year for posting diaries about how fucking great it is spending our money.
[ Parent ]
hmmmm. (none / 0) (#211)
by Work on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 12:59:01 AM EST

In the several years of using 2K and now, XP, the only time i've ever seen a BSOD was in relation to poorly written drivers. There used to be some issues regarding Win2k, athlon motherboards and certain AGP video cards also. But that was around 3 years ago.

Now, i've had IE crash on both, but usually its graceful and the window merely closes with a box notifying the user about the error occuring.

What exactly constitutes 'straight and narrow'? I use my 2k box for server hosting, game playing, general office work, and of course, web surfing.

I don't have problems. It never crashes. The machine simply works.

[ Parent ]

Gnome Crashes (5.00 / 2) (#122)
by 0xA on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 07:10:23 PM EST

Hit Crtl + Alt + F2 (or F*)

Virtual TTYs are your friend.

[ Parent ]

unfortunately (5.00 / 2) (#128)
by martingale on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 08:34:09 PM EST

Perhaps the most annoying crashes in Linux are when X Windows crashes and locks up your keyboard. *That* is annoying, although it happens only rarely. You can't switch to another terminal, instead you've got to find another machine on the network, ssh/telnet into your "crashed" box, and kill X. Then the keyboard works again.

I remember reading in the gpm manual that the mouse buttons can be programmed so that in case of an X crash with keyboard lockup, the mouse can reboot the machine. Not entirely ideal, and doesn't solve the problem if the mouse is locked up too. Moreover, with usb, who uses gpm these days?

Anyway, the single greatest improvement to X imho would be a way to prevent keyboard lockups when it crashes.

[ Parent ]

[OT] The Magic SysRq Key is your friend (5.00 / 3) (#143)
by iimty3 on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 12:04:44 AM EST

At the risk of straying VERY much offtopic, I've had that same problem when attempting to run Gnome2 and Xinerama -- a recipe for instant X freeze.

If your kernel is compiled with support for the "Magic SysRq Key" then you can hold down Alt, SysRq, and "k" to kill all userland processes (including the X server). SysRq is that long-forgotten key whose alter-ego is the PrintScreen key on PC keyboards.

In the end you still have to login again, so all it's really good for is preserving that uptime which we all know is a vital system metric. ;-)

.sig not found. (A)bort, (R)etry, (I)gnore?
[ Parent ]

Magic Key? (none / 0) (#174)
by Bios_Hakr on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 08:54:42 PM EST

Where can I find this option?

[ Parent ]
/usr/src/linux*/Documentation/sysrq.txt, of course (5.00 / 1) (#203)
by treat on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 11:07:35 PM EST

Where can I find this option?

If you're using redhat, you have to edit /etc/sysctl.conf, and change kernel.sysrq=0 to kernel.sysrq=1. Why they disable an extremely useful feature by default is completely undocumented, nor is it documented anywhere that it would be a good idea to enable this feature before using your system. (Yes, this is another example of why Unix sucks).

[ Parent ]

Obviously for security reasons. (none / 0) (#220)
by ramses0 on Sat May 03, 2003 at 03:19:25 PM EST

Obviously, they disable it by default for security reasons.  Everybody knows (hopefully) that without physical security, your software security is screwed, but think of XLock or something:  computer is locked, Alt-SysRq, K (as mentioned above), and all of a sudden apache, samba, mysql, X, and xlock die, giving you a login prompt again?  That's just too easy.  (Note: I haven't used this altsysrq key, but I have done some reading about it).

--Robert
[ rate all comments , for great ju
[
Parent ]

BSOD do happen in XP (5.00 / 3) (#103)
by jonathon on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 04:27:11 PM EST

Trust me, I've seen enough of them.

It is not clear that intelligence has any long-term survival value.
-- Stephen Hawking
[ Parent ]
xp and bsod (5.00 / 2) (#118)
by jnana on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 06:48:12 PM EST

I'm sorry, but I saw the blue screen of death on a professor's computer running XP just 4 days ago. I'm not sure if it was *exactly* the same as the win2k bsod that i'm very familiar with, but it looked the same.

[ Parent ]
Don't know about XP (none / 0) (#196)
by Cro Magnon on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 02:54:10 PM EST

But my NT4 box at work bluescreens quite a bit. My Linux box at home hasn't crashed in years.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Wow. (5.00 / 2) (#77)
by Work on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 01:31:37 PM EST

Sounds like some driver issues. Seriously, I run win2000 and the damn thing never crashes. At first it did due to some video issues, but after replacing those I'd go months without a reboot. I've had similar luck with XP machines.

Those long uptimes don't really impress me. That generally means you're not keeping up with security fixes - something ALL operating systems have.

[ Parent ]

I Use Debian Stable (5.00 / 2) (#102)
by jonathon on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 04:25:50 PM EST

I apt-get for security updates every day so my system is always has the latest security fixes for the whole OS. This is more comprehensive than Windows Update.

It is not clear that intelligence has any long-term survival value.
-- Stephen Hawking
[ Parent ]
Indeed (5.00 / 3) (#126)
by Anonymous 7324 on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 07:54:08 PM EST

and obviously, except for replacing the kernel itself (a pretty limited codebase in the grand scheme of things), Linux systems simply do not reboot to patch. Contrast this with Windows, where even now an Internet Explorer patch requires a reboot: how's that for integration?

I don't think many people really appreciate the significance of something like APT, which takes care of not only the OS, but also the entire userland as well. In addition, people don't appreciate the technology behind SSHing into a machine, replacing something like glibc, the keystone of every single binary out there, having init reload, and then upgrading OpenSSH, having sshd reload, all without losing your connection -- the whole system just keeps on ticking. Reboots? What are those?

Windows users can't dream of doing any of these things, and these are the kinds of high-availability features that a "real OS" wants to have.

[ Parent ]

You actually argue in favor of *nix (5.00 / 1) (#119)
by delducra on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 06:52:20 PM EST

I don't have a big problem with the Win platforms. However, your comment points out one of the complaints I do have. Namely, I don't have to reboot my Linux based desktop every time I update/patch/etc.

[ Parent ]
depends on the patch. (2.50 / 2) (#138)
by Work on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 09:42:02 PM EST

some patches don't require reboots, others do. Same goes for unix.

[ Parent ]
But the ratio is wildly different (5.00 / 3) (#159)
by vrt3 on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 11:32:48 AM EST

Linux updates require a reboot if and only if you update the kernel, which you have to do only exceptionally. On the other side, almost all Windows 2000 updates I download require a reboot (at least they tell me they do).

When a man wants to murder a tiger, it's called sport; when the tiger wants to murder him it's called ferocity. -- George Bernard Shaw
[ Parent ]
Unless things have changed in the last 5 years... (none / 0) (#213)
by Merc on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 02:11:15 AM EST

About 5 years ago I was building an InstallShield application, and at the end there was an option to force people to reboot when the application was installed, and I think it was checked by default. Keeping this checked was considered "playing it safe".



[ Parent ]
Your sig gives you away (1.00 / 2) (#84)
by psychologist on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 02:04:22 PM EST

Hippy!

[ Parent ]
Anti Unix FUD (2.50 / 6) (#27)
by spacejack on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 01:27:02 AM EST

is what this article is. I've been using *nix variants heavily for almost a year now. I must say, it's a lot easier and more straightforward and intuitive than you might first think. It's a rock-solid OS that does what you tell it to. It just "works".

Unless you're dumb enough to try using it as a desktop OS.

Anti-anti Unix FUD... (5.00 / 4) (#50)
by gordonjcp on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 08:45:09 AM EST

I don't want to get into a beard-length war, but I've been using *nix variants heavily for around 12 years now, and they're crap. Absolute shit. They're still far, far better than any of the alternatives.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
La, La, La. (3.50 / 4) (#62)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 10:00:22 AM EST

I've used dozens of operating systems from VM, MVS, to CPM to Unices to Windows. Linux, in particular, has all the bad habits of classic Unix. (Yes, I did once type "rm -rf .*" as root. Did you know that ".." matches that pattern?)

I gave up on Linux when I grew tired of monthly kernel updates making me re-locate and re-compile and re-install the various custom patches I needed just to use the hardware that came stock on my PC.

These days, I use OS X - all the benefits of the UNIX APIs, all the benefits of a proper end-user environment.


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
not anymore (3.66 / 3) (#100)
by treat on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 04:05:43 PM EST

(Yes, I did once type "rm -rf .*" as root. Did you know that ".." matches that pattern?)

No modern unix has an rm that will traverse "..".

[ Parent ]

I'd test that theory but (5.00 / 1) (#154)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 08:31:56 AM EST

I don't have a day to spend rebuilding a machine if you're wrong. :-P

Still, even if that particular hole has been plugged it hardly corrects the main problem that such issues are the rule rather than the exception.

(Note - I'm not endorsing MS on this, for durability I'd still pick a Linux server of a Windows box, but for end-user usability I'd put them on a Mac or Win XP)


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
traverse .. (none / 0) (#190)
by bloat on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 05:06:49 AM EST

[jhqanc@odin tmp]$ cd /var
[jhqanc@odin var]$ ls .*
.:
beausr db lib lock lost+found nis preserve spool yp
cache gdm local log mail opt run tmp

..:
bin dev home lib misc opt root share usr
boot etc initrd lost+found mnt proc sbin tmp var

CheersAndrewC.
--
There are no PanAsian supermarkets down in Hell, so you can't buy Golden Boy peanuts there.
[ Parent ]
Well, kinda (none / 0) (#200)
by Siddhi on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 09:49:38 PM EST


[siddhi@siddhi bang]$ ls .*
.:
boof

..:
bang/  biff

[siddhi@siddhi bang]$ rm -rf .*
rm: cannot remove `.' or `..'
rm: cannot remove `.' or `..'

So yeah, ls does traverse .. but rm does not allow me to remove it.

[ Parent ]

RedHat 8.0 Linux does. (4.00 / 1) (#166)
by mold on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 03:38:54 PM EST

I did it about a week ago. It was NOT fun. Luckily it was just my home directory. But it still sucked.

---
Beware of peanuts! There's a 0.00001% peanut fatality rate in the USA alone! You could be next!
[ Parent ]
you are lying (5.00 / 1) (#201)
by treat on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 10:53:37 PM EST

I did it about a week ago. It was NOT fun. Luckily it was just my home directory. But it still sucked.
This can not possibly be true. The rm that comes with Redhat is from the GNU fileutils. You did not remove your home directory by giving ".." as an argument to rm. Perhaps you lost all your files because you have no idea what you are typing.

# cat /etc/redhat-release
Red Hat Linux release 8.0 (Psyche)
# which rm
/bin/rm
# rm --version
rm (fileutils) 4.1.9
Written by Paul Rubin, David MacKenzie, Richard Stallman, and Jim Meyering.
[...]
# rm -rf ..
rm: cannot remove `.' or `..'



[ Parent ]
rm -fr MTG .* (none / 0) (#217)
by mold on Thu May 01, 2003 at 03:01:53 PM EST

Yeah, the space was a typo, but it still deleted my home directory (I was under $HOME/dir).

---
Beware of peanuts! There's a 0.00001% peanut fatality rate in the USA alone! You could be next!
[ Parent ]
BAh, $HOME/Documents (none / 0) (#218)
by mold on Thu May 01, 2003 at 03:04:01 PM EST



---
Beware of peanuts! There's a 0.00001% peanut fatality rate in the USA alone! You could be next!
[ Parent ]
UNIX is like democracy (4.53 / 15) (#30)
by pwhysall on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 02:22:59 AM EST

Yes, it's crap.

But everything else is worse.
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown

Democracy (4.80 / 5) (#56)
by tokugawa on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 09:26:53 AM EST

isn't necessarily the best way to run every government at all times, and likewise UNIX isn't the best option for everyone in every circumstance.

This is what it comes down to: Windows will never be able to please everyone, and neither will various UNIX operating systems. This is perfectly normal and even desirable.

[ Parent ]

pro-shogunate propaganda? (2.00 / 3) (#198)
by jmc on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 07:49:49 PM EST

tokugawa wrote:
Democracy isn't necessarily the best way to run every government at all times...

Sounds like something your namesake would have said!

[ Parent ]

What purpose does this comment serve? (none / 0) (#86)
by Detritus on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 02:12:37 PM EST

Are you not aware of the "Voting History" box on the right of the story?

Kings and lords come and go and leave nothing but statues in a desert, while a couple of young men tinkering in a workshop change the way the world works — Havelock Vetinari
[ Parent ]
Wrong thread, sorry (5.00 / 1) (#87)
by Detritus on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 02:13:49 PM EST

This comment was meant as a reply to comment #33.

Kings and lords come and go and leave nothing but statues in a desert, while a couple of young men tinkering in a workshop change the way the world works — Havelock Vetinari
[ Parent ]
Quick, someone e-mail Steve! (4.80 / 5) (#35)
by Xenex on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 03:02:49 AM EST

He must have missed the memo! UNIX isn't supposed to have a good, useable, well-designed UI!



It's what's not there that makes what's there what it is.
Yeah ... (5.00 / 3) (#67)
by Simon Kinahan on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 11:22:04 AM EST

You do know this book was written in the early 80s, right ? The bits about Lisp Machines should be a giveaway.

Don's sound beating of X Windows is, however, a classic.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

correction (5.00 / 2) (#76)
by Work on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 01:28:27 PM EST

Early '90s it appears. Looks like it was last updated in 94.

[ Parent ]
I'm Sorry (5.00 / 1) (#78)
by Talez on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 01:33:57 PM EST

Steve gave up waiting for the memo a little over 9 years ago.

The irony though. Apple of all companies fixing Unix's fuckups.

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est
[ Parent ]

Mac OS X is not UNIX (4.00 / 2) (#121)
by pin0cchio on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 07:03:05 PM EST

UNIX isn't supposed to have a good, useable, well-designed UI!

And if you're using Mac OS X as an example of a UNIX system, it doesn't. Even though the low-level parts of Mac OS X do follow most of the Single UNIX Specification, Apple still isn't among those who have paid the Open Group for the privilege of using the UNIX® brand name on operating system products.


lj65
[ Parent ]
so? (5.00 / 1) (#131)
by Anonymous 7324 on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 08:55:48 PM EST

Linux(tm) isn't Unix(r). Neither are the BSDs. Nor does anyone care, by the way. "Unix-like" has been abbreviated to "Unix" for at least the past 5 or 10 years.

[ Parent ]
Grab a clue, dude. (5.00 / 3) (#153)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 08:29:08 AM EST

OS X is Next is BSD layered onto a Mach micro-kernel. Just because they don't want to scare off the newbies by proclaiming "UNIX" from the mountain tops doesn't mean I'm not running anacron, X11, the Gimp, tcsh and bash at this very second.

Even Jobs has stated publicly that Apple has done something that Linux has failed to do: Put UNIX on millions of desktops.


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
dated book, but good (4.14 / 7) (#40)
by YelM3 on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 04:01:08 AM EST

The material in this book (the UNIX versions they are talking about) is quite old. You don't even need to know the year, it's clear from the context:

If you have ever used a Unix system, you have probably had the same nightmarish experiences that we have had and heard. You may have deleted important files and gone for help, only to be told that it was your own fault, or, worse, a "rite of passage." You may have spent hours writing a heart-wrenching letter to a friend, only to have it lost in a mailer burp, or, worse, have it sent to somebody else. We aim to show that you are not alone and that your problems with Unix are not your fault.

Our grievance is not just against Unix itself, but against the cult of Unix zealots who defend and nurture it.

This last bit is funny, because its the Unix zealots that have hacked modern Unices free of most of these problems. Still, this book seems very interesting, especially to us younger generation of geeks.

It _hasn't_ been fixed tho (5.00 / 2) (#120)
by JohnFlux on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 06:53:47 PM EST

The bit you quote is a good example of something that hasn't been fixed.
rm still lets you delete everything on the system without so much as a prompt, programs like indent will still modify the file with no backup or any sanity checks, programs still can't tell what the user typed, whether the user typed  -rf  or whether that was a filename from a * expansion, and so on.

Even with the gui - I lost a long email when I ran out of disk space in /home, so kmail just crashed.

This problems have annoyed me so much that next month I am taking 15 months to spend my full time rewriting it all.

I would love everyone to email me how their _perfect_ OS would work - based on reality.
johnflux AT hotmail.com

[ Parent ]

OSNews a good site? (4.33 / 6) (#41)
by SDaskaleas on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 06:19:10 AM EST

Maybe once, but it has been going completely downhill in the past few months. They had 5 amateur reviews of Mandrake 9.1, a couple of "articles" arguing whether Linux is or not ready for the desktop with arguments fit for the classroom, and I could go on. The last straw for me was that "interview" of that 21 year old Portuguese visionary that appeared yesterday. Gimme a break.

I mostly agree (5.00 / 1) (#68)
by obsidian head on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 11:31:05 AM EST

It's still a good site with real interviews, but Eugenia (or someone) is steering it into strange places.  She's really focussing on usability, which implies talking with people who are still on the early parts of the learning curve...  But I'd like to be warned because they're nothing new to hear.  Maybe this just needs time to evolve.

[ Parent ]
A couple? (5.00 / 1) (#158)
by moosh on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 11:15:39 AM EST

There seems to be 2 or 3 articles about Linux being ready for the desktop each week. If it's not a general argument then it's a specific review of whether distro X is the new killer-desktop. I don't know how the readers can discuss the same thing over, and over, and over, and over...
BTW, the Americans should not be in Iraq!

Seriously though, I get the feeling that Eugenia has her head firmly up her own ass.

[ Parent ]

The reason I don't use unix or lunix (2.38 / 75) (#42)
by psychologist on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 06:37:37 AM EST

I DON'T want to run my operating system. I want to run my text editor or my tv capture program, or my project organisation software, or play some music.

The operating system should be the thing humming in the background while I do my work, and it should not consist of 90% of the work.

Using unix is like buying a "complete, full and furnished" house, and to open the door, you first have to build the front walls. Then to hang up a lamp, you first have to build the roof. And to install a TV, you have to study to build a nuclear reactor to provide electricity into the house.

Why?

Unix users are the failed programmers. They are too stupid to learn c++ or visual basic or html, so their ability is limited to programming bat files, growing long hair, not bathing and boasting about how much better THEIR Os is. As if they wrote any part of unix or lunix.

I can picture a unix trade fair:

Sysadmin1: Look, I managed to get my p4 2500ghz lunix machine to run a java calculator, after configuring 20 log files and programming bat files for 5 weeks.
Sysadmin2: Wow! Well I managed to grow an inch of dirty beard last night!
Sysadmin1: You are so 3l33t!

Sysadmins are the janitors of the computer branch. They not only look the part, they SMELL the part.

The user interface of the computer is in fact, the computer! We are object oriented people, and we function bet when we see and manipulate objects. Of course, some of these old men went to school in the 70s and 60s, and they learnt nothing but console. And when they left school, they NEVER bothered to learn anything new. In fact, I DON'T THINK THEY CAN! They are so bloody inflexible, and they excuse their inflexibility as a way of proving that an inferior and ancient OS is in fact better than a modern OS. Yes, sure, you learnt how to use after studying it for 7 years in the university, but because YOU can use it does NOT MAKE IT BETTER. There is no connective logic there, so give it up.

A new breed of these type of people is being created. But their tool is JAVA. They learn java in community college, and they swear on java. They will stick with it forever.

You ask them:

Q: What will you program a calculator with?
A: Java
Q: An operating system?
A: Java
Q: You have 1 byte of memory, and 64bits of program address, what would you use to program a toggle switch?
A: I'll wait for Java 20.9, when I hope it will run in 1 byte of memory, and then I will program it with Java.

Useless idiots. BOTH you JAVA and Unix weenies caused the tech boom and bust. You worked 23 hours a day, and expected to become millionares. Well, if lice and little critters were money, you would have billions stashed away in your hair and beards!

Probably... (4.00 / 5) (#43)
by Charybdis on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 06:54:04 AM EST

the most pointless troll/rant/waste of time I've seen on K5. Honestly, why did you bother?

[ Parent ]
the java bit was quite funny tho, (4.16 / 6) (#44)
by noogie on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 06:57:41 AM EST

and true.


*** ANONYMIZED BY THE EVIL KUROFIVEHIN MILITARY JUNTA ***
[ Parent ]
The reason people are 1-rating this: (3.37 / 8) (#49)
by Sleepy on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 08:41:57 AM EST

It's not funny. It's not even good enough to be annoying. You're just being utterly ignorant. Please don't waste our time with this.



[ Parent ]
Wait... (3.60 / 5) (#52)
by BlackFireBullet on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 08:57:10 AM EST

Please tell me how a professional mercenery/criminal physchologist/part time cassanova has with playing with operating systems? This coupled with various other inconsistecies shows your paper thin troll person. At least get 3 different troll acounts, to at least add validity to your arguments.

[ Parent ]
Oh (1.71 / 7) (#58)
by psychologist on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 09:33:59 AM EST

And you missed the whole posting on kuro5hin bit? A mercenary can post to kuro5hin for 12 hours, but if he uses an OS in this time, he ceases to exist?

Dude, if you want to find out why I post to kdot and am computer literate, read my older diaries. I don't need to justify my existence to you.

[ Parent ]

Then stop trying to [n/t] (1.00 / 1) (#98)
by Spendocrat on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 03:32:25 PM EST

Jackass.

[ Parent ]
I would have given you a 5 (3.71 / 7) (#60)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 09:46:06 AM EST

If you had stopped after the 1st three paragraphs...


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
PLEASE (2.42 / 19) (#61)
by psychologist on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 09:50:02 AM EST

I need that 5! That 5 will make a great difference in my life. Without that 5, I will die all alone and uncared for! I post to k5 strictly for the 5ives! If I don't get a 5 a day, I am miserable through the night!

Do the right thing and jive me that five.

[ Parent ]

Well, Hell. (3.50 / 6) (#63)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 10:04:24 AM EST

Despite how much fun it would be to force you to die alone in an uncaring world, I suspect you are being sarcastic. Therefore, in an amazing feat of k5 ratings jujitsu - I bestow upon thee.... a 5!


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
Please, Bre'r Fox... (5.00 / 1) (#162)
by mcgrew on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 01:03:42 PM EST

Don't throw me in the briar patch!

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

STACK OVERFLOW. CORE DUMPED. (none / 0) (#164)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 01:26:49 PM EST

You only think I think you think that I should throw you in the briar patch. In reality, I know full well that you think that I think that you think I will throw in the briar patch, so I won't ummm... or maybe I will. Wait. Now I'm confused.


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
Confused? (5.00 / 1) (#177)
by mcgrew on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 09:39:18 PM EST

Me too. Run, little rabbit!

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

easy! (none / 0) (#185)
by martingale on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 02:14:45 AM EST

Confused? Don't run, just check the Briar Patch. You'll know if you're there ;-)

[ Parent ]
wow (3.50 / 4) (#69)
by RJNFC on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 11:57:12 AM EST

You made no sense. I'm not even going to try responding. Go back to your little troll-hole.

[ Parent ]
BAT files? (4.00 / 2) (#110)
by holdfast on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 05:50:53 PM EST

BAT files are the DOS attempt to do UNIX shell scripts. I can only assume then that your complaint was actually against DOS and its children.


"Holy war is an oxymoron."
Lazarus Long
[ Parent ]
pointing out the obvious... (5.00 / 3) (#116)
by delducra on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 06:40:37 PM EST

Sysadmins only use UNIX? There are a couple of Windows SAs I work with that would disagree... UNIX people won't adopt new methods? Hmmm, where did that HTML you were talking about come from? Oh yea - and what type of OS do the majority of the publically available web servers still run on? No OS in widespread use today came up with the concept of the GUI in widespread use today. They all stole the idea from others - you know, those "old smelly men" who never do anything new? Oh yea - couple of last parting shot. I sometimes to create VB applications, write my own HTML, was *born* in the 70's, never went to college, *and* I am a UNIX sysadmin. There is no such thing as an HTML programmer - ever, anywhere. Oh yea - and I'm viewing your comments and writing this response in a full-featured, windowed GUI running on - what's that? A UNIX-style operating system.

[ Parent ]
As a Java weenie (4.77 / 9) (#136)
by Will Sargent on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 09:18:28 PM EST

I constructed a program to give you the flaming you so richly deserved.

But it ran out of memory.  Time to shop for another gig...
----
I'm pickle. I'm stealing your pregnant.
[ Parent ]

dont insult janitors (4.80 / 5) (#156)
by turmeric on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 09:57:58 AM EST

janitors are good people

[ Parent ]
Hey, troll... (5.00 / 2) (#161)
by mcgrew on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 01:01:14 PM EST

Never heard of Mandrake or KDE? Oh, that's right, Linux isn't unix.

Thx for the laugh

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

OSX (4.50 / 2) (#165)
by harryhoode on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 02:06:20 PM EST

Apple's OS X is Unix. It hums along in the background so well that even my computer-clueless mother can use it. If you asked her, she couldn't even tell you what Unix is. The OS comes out to be about 0% of the work. So... it all depends on your Unix.

[ Parent ]
No... (none / 0) (#168)
by BadmanX on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 04:52:17 PM EST

No, it all depends on getting a commercial company to spend untold millions of dollars and man-hours to put a usable GUI on top of Unix, removing its only real virtue (portability) in the process.

It IS a good OS, though. Wish the machines weren't so damn expensive. And wish there were more Mac games.

[ Parent ]

*ahem* (none / 0) (#208)
by bigchris on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 06:56:39 AM EST

Ever tried to support OS X? don't, it's not pretty.

---
I Hate Jesus: -1: Bible thumper
kpaul: YAAT. YHL. HAND. btw, YAHWEH wins ;) [mt]
[ Parent ]
I can't help myself (4.33 / 3) (#171)
by Springfield on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 08:30:13 PM EST

Usually I wouldn't dance for trolls like yourself but on this occasion I can't help myself. Here goes..
Unix users are the failed programmers. They are too stupid to learn c++ or visual basic or html, so their ability is limited to programming bat files, growing long hair, not bathing and boasting about how much better THEIR Os is. As if they wrote any part of unix or lunix.
C++ was written by Bjarne Stroustrup who worked at Bell labs at the time. It was invented for Unix. Visual Basic (did?) default to a 16 bit integer, nuff' said.
configuring 20 log files and programming bat files for 5 weeks
Bat files are a DOS technology. Log files are used to store information about the running system. I think you meant to say configuration files.
--
Phils corner
[ Parent ]
A link.... (3.25 / 3) (#70)
by damballah on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 12:19:54 PM EST

to an interesting chapter on the X Window system.

*******************************************
" I apologize for this long comment. I didn't have the time to make it any shorter. " - Blaise Pascal

" zombie accounts promote an unhealthy interest in the occult among our younger readers. " -

Good point, X windows is a nightmare (5.00 / 2) (#125)
by svampa on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 07:44:43 PM EST

There are two things I hate in Unix: Case sensitive (so, I hate it in C, so I hate it in Java) and X windows. In a Scale 0-10, I hate X windows 15

Motif,Qt, Gtk, Mozilla XUL... Wich will be the next widget set?

Fonts

Monitor, graph card configuration.

When you program for X windows you program for a widget/desktop (Kde,Gnome), that is like programing for a new operating system, even if is the same computer. Good portability record.



[ Parent ]
Question for the author... (3.00 / 1) (#72)
by tiamat on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 12:27:09 PM EST

"those perverse Unix error message contests."

That sounds interesting, and possibly amusing, but I've no idea what it is. Please let me know where I can find out more (esp. if it is amusing).

the book has examples. (5.00 / 2) (#75)
by Work on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 01:25:56 PM EST

ie:

$ make love
Don't know how to make love. Stop.

[ Parent ]

Cut 'n pasted from handbook... (5.00 / 3) (#79)
by obsidian head on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 01:36:29 PM EST

[you can probably find more on google...]

People have published some of Unix's more ludicrous errors messages as jokes. The following Unix puns were distributed on the Usenet, without an attributed author. They work with the C shell.

% rm meese-ethics
rm: meese-ethics nonexistent

% ar m God
ar: God does not exist

% "How would you rate Dan Quayle's incompetence?
Unmatched ".

% ^How did the sex change^ operation go?
Modifier failed.

% If I had a ( for every $ the Congress spent,
what would I have?
Too many ('s.

% make love
Make: Don't know how to make love. Stop.

% sleep with me
bad character

% got a light?
No match.

% man: why did you get a divorce?
man:: Too many arguments.

% ^What is saccharine?
Bad substitute.

% %blow
%blow: No such job.

These attempts at humor work with the Bourne shell:

$ PATH=pretending! /usr/ucb/which sense
no sense in pretending!

$ drink <bottle; opener<br> bottle: cannot open
opener: not found

$ mkdir matter; cat >matter
matter: cannot create

[ Parent ]

Very insightful (3.28 / 14) (#80)
by A Spineless Liberal Commie on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 01:50:32 PM EST

But as far as I can tell, the author didn't delve into the communist background of the BSD and GNU licenses. I'm going to email him suggesting he add that in the next edition.

Ultimate (2.50 / 2) (#107)
by holdfast on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 05:39:23 PM EST

That is the ultimate insult isn't it? If you don't like something, link it to communism...

FYI just because something is altrusitic or for the good of others, it is not always communist, socialist, liberal or even democrat inspired.


"Holy war is an oxymoron."
Lazarus Long
[ Parent ]
It is if... (none / 0) (#163)
by mcgrew on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 01:11:18 PM EST

You worship mammon

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Hey that must have been a joke, stop '1' rates! (none / 0) (#112)
by BerntB on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 05:56:39 PM EST

That must have been a joke! Don't vote 1:s.

(It is a quote from a Microsoft spokesman, too, but that is mostly equivalent to telling a joke anyway...)

[ Parent ]

Sorry, I'm probably wrong (none / 0) (#149)
by BerntB on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 06:41:48 AM EST

I checked the link (not only the user name). :-)

[ Parent ]
Much as it pains me, I have to agree with this (4.72 / 11) (#90)
by localroger on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 02:22:16 PM EST

I moved from those old systems like the C64 straight to MS-DOS because it was what my customers wanted when my company made the leap toward having me write application software. Until then all my experience had been to-the-metal embedded stuff, mostly in assembly because interpreted 8-bit BASIC is miserably slow.

And I continued to do embedded stuff in .asm and a growing crowd of pidgin control languages and I fought MS-DOS on incompatible platforms and finally developed a style that worked, mixing a platform-independent MS-DOS BASIC with a homemade library of assembly language subroutines. And I worked like that for about ten years, bypassing the features of both BASIC and the operating system that didn't work too well. I have systems out there which have been running since 1987.

In the early 90's I started to work in Windows 3.11 with VB 4.0. VB 3.0 was miserably slow and useless but 4.0 was a real compiler like my DOS compiler and combined with faster computers it was useful without the .asm sidekicks, which was good because writing .asm libraries for Windows is a royal pain in the ass.

Win95 came out and I was horrified; I had found that by loading a machine with RAM (a massive 24 MB, woo-hoo) and not multitasking and avoiding certain tools I could make a Win 3.11 system stable enough to run for years. But nothing I did would make Win95 stable. It crashed doing I/O. It crashed when the screen saver appeared. It would crash when you weren't even running a user application.

So I sent $50 of company money to this company called Red Hat for their distro of Linux. I'd been reading about free software and how great and stable Linux was and how you got the source code with it. Cool.

Well. Imagine my horror.

This is supposed to save me from the sloppy half-finished pervasiveness of Microsoft?

First of all, everything is written in C. Not just because the OS is written in C, but because the OS API is the C library. Whafuck? Using any other language, including assembler, becomes a royal pain in the ass.

(Side note: I hate C. C is a brain-dead unreadable mishmash designed to make mistakes as easy and likely to occur as possible, and to make them as expensive as possible when you make them.)

So I am thinking of swallowing hard and moving to C anyway for the reliability when I start to realize how the deployment model works. You must have binaries for these libraries which are the API. They live in different directories on different flavors of UNIX. Worse, they have compatibility problems. Worse, they are shared by all applications. Worse, your application data gets sprayed all over the hard drive, commingling it with the OS and other applications.

There are so many reasons this is a bad idea I hardly know where to begin. Oddly, this "feature" doesn't even show on the book's radar, so many other even worse features are there for it to mention.

I backed s-l-o-o-o-w-l-y away and ordered a machine capable of running Windows NT 4.0. Sure it was half the performance for twice the price and a pain in the ass to use, but it worked and all my subsequent apps ported effortlessly to 2000 and XP.

Now I thoroughly dislike Microsoft; I have hated Microsoft since their main crime was writing slow, crappy, bug-ridden BASIC interpreters for 8-bit microcomputers and only other geeks had ever heard of their mangy company. I am a fan of small, lean, efficient code. But I am also a fan of finished code. Indeed, lack of polish is my main complaint with the Redmond Mafia.

That a UNIX clone is their main competition just sucks. Incidentally, did anyone notice that Microsoft is hosting the free e-copy of this book? Their altruism is touching, isn't it?

Fortunately I can frequently escape the whole situation.

I can haz blog!

Competition, C language (5.00 / 1) (#96)
by Spendocrat on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 03:29:25 PM EST

If only the BeOS had survived.

Incidentally, I hardly think C was intenetionally *designed* to be so shitty, it just turned out that way.

[ Parent ]

Maybe (none / 0) (#101)
by damballah on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 04:18:57 PM EST

because it was (among other things) "misused" to write operating systems.

*******************************************
" I apologize for this long comment. I didn't have the time to make it any shorter. " - Blaise Pascal

" zombie accounts promote an unhealthy interest in the occult among our younger readers. " - [ Parent ]

Uhh.... (none / 0) (#105)
by TheEldestOyster on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 05:15:27 PM EST

Wasn't that the *first* use of C? To make UNIX cross-platform?
--
TheEldestOyster (rizen/bancus) * PGP Signed/Encrypted mail preferred
[ Parent ]
Ooh, (none / 0) (#106)
by damballah on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 05:33:44 PM EST

It was? Oh well...
I still like this quote, though:

"C combines the power of assembler with the portability of assembler."

*******************************************
" I apologize for this long comment. I didn't have the time to make it any shorter. " - Blaise Pascal

" zombie accounts promote an unhealthy interest in the occult among our younger readers. " - [ Parent ]

heh (none / 0) (#114)
by Work on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 06:29:30 PM EST

if its any consolation, the reason unix was written was to play a crappy game and that the original authors had nothing else better to do with their days since their Real Professional Project (Multics) got canned. And the real reason C was created was to make it easy to create Unix. Not because it was to be a great leap forward or anything.

If you notice, UNIX is a play on "multics". Basically a joke that got out of hand.

[ Parent ]

Not just a "play": (none / 0) (#173)
by eann on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 08:44:08 PM EST

Unix is a castrated Multics.


Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. —MLK

$email =~ s/0/o/; # The K5 cabal is out to get you.


[ Parent ]
Yeah it was (5.00 / 1) (#113)
by sramkrishna on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 06:21:24 PM EST

Dennis Ritchie wrote it so that Brian Kernighan could write Unix with it.  I think 'C' is an okay language.  I think that whole pointer stuff though is what really gets people in trouble.  As usual, you need to really apply disicpline when you program.  Otherwise it will be a horrid mess.

As for open source, yeah, it's a work in progress always.  But the code usually gets cleaner over time.

sri

[ Parent ]

Also (5.00 / 1) (#115)
by Spendocrat on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 06:38:11 PM EST

The string stuff in C. To me that's much worse than the pointer stuff.

[ Parent ]
I agree there too! (none / 0) (#146)
by sramkrishna on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 03:20:36 AM EST

Yeah, I have forgotten about that.  Best to use some of the libraries like glib to handle strings.

sri


[ Parent ]

Ah, the holy trinity (5.00 / 1) (#207)
by Peter Vile on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 05:28:32 AM EST

signed char *, unsigned char *, char *, none of which are the same type regardless of the signedness of char.  Add to that the interchangeable usage of "char" and "byte" in ANSI C, including in the definitions of "sizeof()", "memcpy()" etc, and the definition of char as being "at least 8 bits" (i.e. not guaranteed to be an octet).

I work on cross platform C apps (6+ platforms), and our core code has more compatibility code in it ( mostly "sizeof(char)" ) than application code, just in case we should ever port to a platform with 16 bit unsigned chars but sizeof() and stdlib functions that counts in octets and not multiples of char.

And that, dear friends, is why I will not use, nor tolerate the use of the word "byte" in the context of C code.  Thank you, Mr Kernigan and Mr Ritchie.

---
rusty made nowhere near $80K this year for posting diaries about how fucking great it is spending our money.
[ Parent ]

sizeof(char) == 1 (none / 0) (#210)
by J Random User on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 05:40:43 PM EST

sizeof(char) == 1. Period. This is guaranteed by the ISO C standard (both c89 and c99). I seem to recall K&R1 making the same assertion (although I wasn't around back then) and I've never heard of a pre-standard C compiler with sizeof(char) != 1.

If you ever find a compiler with sizeof(char) !=1, or on which malloc(n) didn't allocate enough memory for n chars[0], you should get your money back. Such a compiler would break most C code in existance.

As you've pointed out, char might have 16 bits (or any number >= 8) on a particular platform. Such machines do exist, especially in the embedded world. Even on such a platform, sizeof and any function handling size_t is guaranteed to count chars, not octets. For instance, on a machine with 32-bit bytes, sizeof(char) == 1 and CHAR_BIT == 32.

The use of char as both the character type and the type of the smallest addressable unit of memory is unfortunate, but you can count on it. It's unfortunate because you *can't* have, say, 16-bit chars on an octet-addressable platform. In retrospect, it would have been better to have char represent the system's natural character type and byte represent the smallest addressable unit.

The other problem, as you indirectly pointed out, is that the word 'byte' means one thing in C and another thing in the rest of the computing world. For extra credit, figure out which I was talking about each time I used the word 'byte' in this article.

[0] Note to pedants: Yes, I know that malloc(n) could return NULL instead of allocating space for n chars.

[ Parent ]

Quote, please (none / 0) (#214)
by Peter Vile on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 06:13:42 AM EST

From the standards.

---
rusty made nowhere near $80K this year for posting diaries about how fucking great it is spending our money.
[ Parent ]
Quotes (none / 0) (#215)
by Rob u on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 10:45:08 AM EST

"When applied to an operand that has type char, unsigned char, or signed char (or a qualified version thereof) the result is 1." --C99, 6.5.3.4 ("The sizeof operator")

"sizeof(char), sizeof(signed char), and sizeof(unsigned char) are 1; the result of sizeof applied to any other fundamental type (3.9.1) is implementation-defined." --C++, 5.3.3 ("Sizeof")

In C++, char is defined as being "large enough to store any member of the implementation's basic character set" (3.9.1). In C99, the wording (in 6.2.5) is similar but adds the condition (which I don't see in C++) that any member of that "basic character set" is positive when stored in a plain char.

I don't have a copy of C89 at hand.

[ Parent ]

not quite "misused" (5.00 / 1) (#129)
by martingale on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 08:48:21 PM EST

Compared to the alternatives at the time, C was of course an improvement. (Re)read Brooks' "The Mythical Man-Month", for great anecdotes about IBM's OS360, which was written in assembler like its contemporaries. I believe that one of the advantages of using C turned out to be that the OS was written by a small number of people.

[ Parent ]
Well... (none / 0) (#141)
by Mr. Piccolo on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 10:29:06 PM EST

it was either that or... I guess they could have used FORTRAN, right?

*shudder*

The BBC would like to apologise for the following comment.


[ Parent ]
Actually, Pascal (none / 0) (#216)
by epepke on Thu May 01, 2003 at 03:46:08 AM EST

Pascal was da bomb around 1980. Trouble was that it was never intended as other than a teaching language, so people had to extend it to make it useful. Nevertheless, the original Mac OS was written in a combination of Pascal and assembly and still has Pascal-like flavor that plagues Carbon developers to this day.

A friend and one-time employee of mine put it this way: Pascal is like a water pistol filled with distilled water. C is like a 38 Magnum which, by default, is pointed at your head.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Smrk :-( (5.00 / 1) (#127)
by smallstepforman on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 08:28:14 PM EST

Ah, BeOS, what fond memories. Check www.yellowtab.com, they have licenced the BeOS code and are about to release an update called Zeta - it includes the new network stack (Bone 8), the new media server, the new OpenGL system, SVG based tracker etc, basically what would have been BeOS R6 (hence the Zeta monicker, ie. the 6th letter of the greek alphabet). Release should be any day now, since they've at Release Beta 4c as of the time of this writting.

[ Parent ]
Hey, C is an OK macro-assembler (5.00 / 3) (#111)
by BerntB on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 05:53:34 PM EST

If you've written some assembler and start with C (or the other way), it's quite easy to see how a simple compiler would look.

I always thought of C as a nice macro assembler. (Not half as nice as PDP-10 assembler for TOPS-20 -- but then, what is?)

[ Parent ]

but did you know (3.00 / 1) (#155)
by turmeric on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 09:56:12 AM EST

that bill gates was a sniper in vietnam with 78 confirmed kills?

[ Parent ]
Haa the irony ! (5.00 / 1) (#195)
by ConsoleCowboy on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 12:44:13 PM EST

(Side note: I hate C. C is a brain-dead unreadable mishmash designed to make mistakes as easy and likely to occur as possible, and to make them as expensive as possible when you make them.)

Since you are an ASM programmer, I suppose you are being ironic here; you know the "pot calling the kettle black" thingy ...


:wq
[ Parent ]
In the spirit (none / 0) (#109)
by damballah on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 05:50:24 PM EST

of UNIX-hating, this partticular troll always makes me laugh:

It is official; Netcraft confirms:  *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin [amdest.com] to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

More important fact: these are not my opinions.

*******************************************
" I apologize for this long comment. I didn't have the time to make it any shorter. " - Blaise Pascal

" zombie accounts promote an unhealthy interest in the occult among our younger readers. " -

My favorite response (5.00 / 1) (#169)
by acoustiq on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 06:54:38 PM EST

See this

--
"When someone says, 'I want a programming language in which I need only say what I want done,' give him a lollipop." - Alan Perlis
[ Parent ]
Whatever, dude. (2.33 / 3) (#123)
by wedman on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 07:29:43 PM EST

Are these guys ultra-geeks, or what?

~
DELETE FROM comments WHERE uid=9524;
Damn! (4.00 / 3) (#124)
by miah on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 07:40:44 PM EST

I just got to page 29 and already I hear myself saying the exact things about Windows that John Rose said about SunOS. Well, almost the same save for the LispM stuff.

Odd it is.

Religion is not the opiate of the masses. It is the biker grade crystal meth of the masses.
SLAVEWAGE

Awesome! (4.75 / 4) (#145)
by tbc on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 02:41:04 AM EST

I went to school with Garfinkel and Strassmann. I never would have bought this book (not hating Unix like they do), but it made for a great download I'll keep forever! I might even have to buy a copy just so I can coax those guys into signing my copy. Hmm.

Don't take the book too seriously. They are way over the top with their metaphors. It's just one big bag of flamebait. And Ritchie gets it. His anti-forward is a classic flame.

The truth is that they had a copy of The DOS/NT Haters Handbook ready to go to press in early 1994, but they got paid off by you-know-who to change the title and spend a week rewriting the content to bash his competition.

Oh, and FWIW, I have used TOPS-20, ITS (the Incompatible Timesharing System), Multics, Apollo Domain, and the Lisp Machine. They all sucked.


For an alternative viewpoint: Stephenson (4.00 / 2) (#148)
by mysta on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 05:23:43 AM EST

To balance out the Unix-hating with some Unix loving, you can also download Neal Stephenson's "In the beginning was the command line...".
---
Are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era?
Although... (none / 0) (#167)
by BadmanX on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 04:34:14 PM EST

It's an excellent essay, but even Stephenson admits, through his comparison to the Hole Hawg, that Unix is big, unwieldy, and potentially fatal in untrained hands.

[ Parent ]
Hole Hawg (none / 0) (#175)
by mysta on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 09:21:38 PM EST

So are most tools: cars, planes, industrial presses, chainsaws. They all serve their purpose when used correctly though. Just because people can use them irresponsibly or carelessly should not pass judgement on the tool but rather the user. Stephenson says as much as well after having his hand crushed by the Hole Hawg. I have a Win2k box with Cygwin on it and find it a great compromise. Windows for the fun stuff: graphics, audio, games, word processing and Cygwin for scripting, research, networking, web and database stuff.
---
Are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era?
[ Parent ]
Yeah (4.50 / 2) (#183)
by Rot 26 on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 01:56:43 AM EST

Cygwin keeps me from going insane while using windows sometimes. I keep Windows because I need it for Photoshop and Illustrator (too cheap to buy a mac) but sometimes when I'm using it I just go "god damn, I need a command line right now" and cygwin solves that problem.
1: OPERATION: HAMMERTIME!
2: A website affiliate program that doesn't suck!
[ Parent ]
Yeah, Unix sucks... (4.75 / 4) (#152)
by WWWWolf on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 08:19:41 AM EST

...but we should not forget the fundamental truth about the operating systems. =)

All operating systems suck, all hardware is too damn slow and all networks move data at snail's pace. But I'm not complaining!

-- Weyfour WWWWolf, a lupine technomancer from the cold north...


so how come when i rant like this (4.00 / 4) (#157)
by turmeric on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 09:58:38 AM EST

i get -1? wheres my fucking book sales?

here's why... (4.66 / 3) (#172)
by martingale on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 08:43:39 PM EST

TUHH is written *by* UNIX users *for* UNIX users, mainly. So that's the source of the sales. You can do that too: write a book *by* turmeric *for* turmeric. Your only problem is that you have a market of a single person, but you're welcome to pay yourself for as many copies of your book as you can afford ;-)

[ Parent ]
biased, but useful (4.80 / 5) (#181)
by dh003i on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 01:23:03 AM EST

It should be pointed out that the OS' they claim are so great suck. Multics died because it was a big fat huge bloated piece of shit. All of these other OS' died for other equally valid reasons, including simply refusing to be compatable between different architectures. It should also be noted that many of the problems noted in this book are not unique to UNIX, and have been solved by GNU/Linux.

However, as much as I like GNU/Linux, this book is not a bunch of FUD. The people that wrote these threads were writing them before MS was anything. Some of the points in this book are valid. Others are non-sense.

I think the points on rm and manuals are worth noting. rm -i isn't a solution -- that's like a firealarm that goes off all the time. What you need is the ability to make a file of "prompt before delete" directories that rm compares your input against, so it will prompt you if you're going to delete important directories -- like /boot. libtrash deals with some of these issues. I've struggled with the hard-headed "perfect people" at /. who apparently never make mistakes, and think <TT>rm</tt> shouldn't even have the ability to protect the user from such destructive commands. It's funny, because all of the same arguments they use against having such a safety feature in rm could also be made against logging in as a non-root account: yet, they still fervently advocate you don't login as root.

Also, documentation for most FS/OSS is terrible. The manpage system is an example of just doing way way too much. Look at hte manpage for <TT>screen</tt>, a very simple program. Screen is a text-mode window manager, which allows you to open up new virtual terms and manage/switch between them. Now all they need to do is have an intro section briefly stating this, and listing the most important commands:

^C-A ^C-c -- create new window
^C-a ^C-n -- switch to next window
^C-a ^C-a -- switch back and forth between previous windows
^C-a " -- list windows
^C-a A -- rename current window
^C-a k -- kill current window
^C-a d -- detach screen from this terminal

All of the essentials of the program could have been summed up with a few sentences and that simple command list. Of course, this would require a judgement call, which means thinking. A friend of mine once said, "I'm writing you a long letter because I didn't have time to write you a short one". So, manpages need an abstract section to cover the essentials. That means prioritizing. Not all of the 15-trillion options each command has are critically important.

Also, man-pages are just written poorly -- as in, too wordy -- in general.

Social Security is a pyramid scam.

Mmm... (none / 0) (#186)
by Rot 26 on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 02:20:27 AM EST

The thing is though that it's not like the format of manpages are a required standard, if you wanted to you could just write a manpage however you wanted to. In fact, after this post I'm thinking I might do just that for my next program.
1: OPERATION: HAMMERTIME!
2: A website affiliate program that doesn't suck!
[ Parent ]
use immutable files (4.33 / 3) (#187)
by martingale on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 02:24:08 AM EST

rm doesn't need to be "intelligent". That's definitely the wrong solution, since it means that the program "rm" needs to know what the filesystem looks like (ie is /boot an important directory, what about /bin, or /home/me/stuff/junk?).

The correct place for this information is in the filesystem itself, if possible. Luckily, there's a solution. Check this HOWTO for details, but the short of it is: if it's an important directory tree, set the immutable bit. Then even root can't delete it. But what if root *wants* to delete it? Unset the immutable bit! This makes it more difficult, but not impossible, to delete your system carelessly, and has the advantage that your important files can be protected on a case by case basis.

[ Parent ]

...didn't have time to write a short one (5.00 / 2) (#188)
by NFW on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 04:28:33 AM EST

Your friend poached that phrase, though it's not clear to whom it should have been attributed.

Usually Pascal gets the honors; often Twain; occasionally Cicero.


--
Got birds?


[ Parent ]

God I hate man. (5.00 / 2) (#192)
by damage0 on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 10:10:37 AM EST

Having to dig through to find out important and obvious stuff is not pleasant.

[ Parent ]
screen simple? (none / 0) (#199)
by nowan on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 08:43:35 PM EST

Simplicity is relative, I guess, but I consider screen to be one of the more complex pieces of software I use. It's true that a getting-started document could be quite short, but screen provides quite a lot more than the basic functionality you describe, and also has a lot of nasty glue-stuff to deal with unusual environments.

But then, I like man pages, screen, and in fact, screen's man page!

[ Parent ]

If you don't want to use rm, don't. (3.00 / 1) (#205)
by Peter Vile on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 05:04:05 AM EST

I have rm aliased to a "mv $FILE ~/trash" script.  If you can't figure out how to do that, then stick to Windows.

---
rusty made nowhere near $80K this year for posting diaries about how fucking great it is spending our money.
[ Parent ]
Huh (3.00 / 2) (#209)
by mueckeb on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 01:44:57 PM EST

A friend of mine once said, "I'm writing you a long letter because I didn't have time to write you a short one".


Your friend was Goethe?

[ Parent ]
It's a moot point anymore... (4.00 / 2) (#184)
by delducra on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 01:59:31 AM EST

Luckily, any attacks on UNIX are now being handled solely by SCO - who is attempting to take full responsibility for all of UNIX - good and bad.

All of us Sun, Linux, BSD, etc. types can now consider ourselves exempt from this debate!

Note to all who posted (3.00 / 2) (#194)
by metalfan on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 12:29:31 PM EST

YHBT. YHL. HAND.

Churchill said it best (5.00 / 1) (#197)
by bobdobolina on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 05:19:29 PM EST

He was talking about democracy, but it could easily have been UNIX:

Many forms of government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried from time to time. Winston Churchill, 1947

Argh, I hate that quote (4.66 / 3) (#212)
by Merc on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 02:07:36 AM EST

The big problem I have with that quote is that it is invariably used as a cop-out. At least with operating systems, people are still innovating and trying new things. Most people still believe that there is a better OS still undiscovered. I just wish people believed the same thing about government.



[ Parent ]
Simson Garfinkel (4.00 / 1) (#219)
by JayGarner on Fri May 02, 2003 at 12:14:52 AM EST

They went from rock-n-roll to writing books about hating eunuchs? Heh. I thought my career path was unusual.

Unix-Hater's Handbook released to public | 220 comments (168 topical, 52 editorial, 1 hidden)
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