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Re: [MacPerl] Perl Shared Library (was Re: [MacPerl] ports and builds)

At 07.28 -0500 1999.01.23, Xah Lee wrote:
>I just want to make a few things clear to those who are intimidated by unix,
>and those kids out there who are being railed onto the unix (Linux) dope:
>unix is a fantastic pile of patches and viruses that results from
>decades of brainless hacks by slouches and imbecilic system admins.
>You can always tell a unix weenie by their sloppiness, greediness,
> laziness, silliness, and superciliousness. To those unix zombies: If
>you must unix, go with POSIX, GNU (HURD), (all right, maybe Linux too).

I find much of this somewhat offensive.  Not just because you are giving
fals impressions of Unix, but because you are attacking the intelligence
and credibility of those who use, like, and develop Unix, including me,
Paul, Vicki, and Matthias.  And I am surprised you are bothering with Perl
at all.  Perl is not just a tool that originated on Unix.  It is itself
quintessentially of the same mindset that Unix is.

    The one ray of light that illuminated my tenure in NT environments was
    the burgeoning popularity of Perl. Perl seemed to find its way into NT
    shops as a CGI solution for Web development, but people quickly
    recognized its power and adopted it for uses far outside the scope of Web
    development: system administration, revision control, remote file
    distribution, network administration. The irony is that Perl itself is a
    subset of UNIX features condensed into a quick-and-dirty scripting
    language. In a literary light, if UNIX is the Great Novel, Perl is the
    Cliffs Notes.

    The Elements Of Style: UNIX As Literature

In fact, I recommend you anti-Unix bigots learn a bit more about it. Most
flavors of Unix are virus free, in contrast to what Xah said.  Viruses are
much more common on Windows and Mac OS.  OpenBSD is the most secure
general-purpose OS available, and Linux (when patched properly, yes) is the
most stable.  These are not brainless hacks.  They are well designed
operating systems by intelligent people.  I am tempted to think Xah doesn't
know much about Unix, despite claims to the contrary.  Indeed, the Hurd,
recommended above, as an alternative kernel to use, is not even a usable
kernel, and never has been, and there is no sign that it will be in the
near future.

    NOTE: the Hurd still lacks many of the features you would expect in a
    usable kernel, so please don't try using it unless you are helping us to
    develop it.


Unix is not as Xah described it.  A good Unix like Solaris, BSD, and Linux
is a stable user platform (though not for end users in most cases, of
course), a rock-solid deployment platform, and the most powerful and
reasonable development environment available.  It is not perfect.  But for
developers like me, who would rather open a pipe than figure out cryptic
Apple Events, I welcome, with open arms, the opportunity to run Unix with
my Mac OS.

Don't get me wrong, I love Mac OS.  It is a fantastic single-user platform
in most respects.  But it is severely lacking in features developers need.
Poor memory management, weird IPC, mostly obsolete multitasking, extreme
difficulty in running the same program more than once, which is nonsensical
for most development and nearly all deployment.

And again, don't get me wrong, Unix is not perfect, and if Mac OS gets most
of the features required of a "modern operating system", which especially
includes POSIX compliance and the ability to build and use Unix tools, then
whether or not it is Unix is Good Enough, probably.  But Unix is the ONLY
game in town for most serious deployment and development.  To quote John
Carmack, the man behind the game engines of id (Doom, Quake):

    It took me a while to figure out that the zen of mac development is
    "be at peace while rebooting". I rebooted my mac system more times the
    first weekend than I have rebooted all the WinNT systems I have ever
    owned. True, it has gotten better now that I know my way around a bit
    more, and the codebase is fully stable, but there is just no excuse for
    an operating system in this day and age to act like it doesn't have
    access to memory protection."


I go through this every time I develop in C on my Mac.  Only part of this
is related to my ignorance of C.  The other part is related to things like
making one small typo and freezing the computer, MPW refusing to execute
for unexplainable reasons though I've done nothing wrong in my code, etc.
A real development platform should not require me to reboot.  In Mac OS X I
won't have to.  This just to say that as it is now, Mac OS is a poor
development platform compared to Unix, in many respects.

I do not wish to continue this discussion.  It serves little purpose and
IMO does not belong on this list.  I simply wanted to counter the vitriolic
post of Xah.

Chris Nandor          mailto:pudge@pobox.com         http://pudge.net/
%PGPKey = ('B76E72AD', [1024, '0824090B CE73CA10  1FF77F13 8180B6B6'])

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