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TorgoX (1933)

TorgoX
  sburkeNO@SPAMcpan.org
http://search.cpan.org/~sburke/

"Il est beau comme la retractilité des serres des oiseaux rapaces [...] et surtout, comme la rencontre fortuite sur une table de dissection d'une machine à coudre et d'un parapluie !" -- Lautréamont

Journal of TorgoX (1933)

Monday November 24, 2003
01:52 AM

Culture and Tradition of ESR, by ESR, starring ESR

[ #15971 ]
Dear Log,

So I've been reading Eric Raymond's book. I'm finding it to be sententious, pretentious, contentious, badly elaborated, and generally sophomoric. (No offense to actual sophomores intended.)

It alludes more than explains, and that makes me think that its points are largely inaccessible to people who don't understand most of them already. That's always a bad sign.

I'm quite glad I'm just reading the online version and didn't do anything rash like pay for a paper version.

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  • I like Eric Raymond, probably more than anyone else here, but nothing I've seen about this book has given me a compelling reason to read it, or even a minor reason to read it. I read some of the earlier online samples and picked up nothing.

    There's only so many ways to say, "small tools with clear defined purposes."

    There are so many other books out there that can affect my programming in profound ways. I still gain much from a simple reading of the Mythical Man Month every year.

    --
    J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
    • There seem to be two large groups of writers. One writes with confidence, believing that they know their material. The other writes anyway, hoping that no one who really knows the material will come along later and say "That's completely wrong."

      There's also a much, much smaller third class: those who really do know the material and don't suffer from imposter syndrome. Fortunate them.

  • I read through some of it too. Agree on all points. However, there is a need for a text kind of like this. I used unix for a year before I understood the idea of small tools -- Unix Power Tools [oreilly.com] was my key to enlightenment, and only in an inductive way.

    One saving grace: ESR came close to saying something interesting about vi versus emacs [catb.org]. I found the discussion of the Plan-9-inspired wily [yorku.ca] particularly illuminating.

    Unfortunately, because he's ESR, his interesting start ended with him bullying the facts in

  • I'm just waiting for people to use ESR's personal preferences (Python over Perl, emacs over vi, etc) to push their own agenda at companies. "We're standardizing on Python, because Perl is a nasty, write-only, line-noise language. See, ESR said so, and he's a Recognized Figure."

    I like much of his stuff, and I know that those waging holy war over languages and editors don't really need his blessing, but think about explaining to a PHB why you're right and this International Man of Definitions [catb.org] is wrong.

    Ma