Saturday, February 22, 2003


so i've been reading ESR's The Art Of Unix Programming, and it's pretty interesting, once you get past all the ESRisms.

first off, he continues to push the idea that fetchmail is like the archtypical unix progam, when honestly, it's a minor utility that very few people would even have heard of if he hadn't used it as an example in 'The Cathedral And The Bazaar'.

second, he's very close to the "All The World's A Linux Box" mentality in a lot of places. i mean GCC is fantastically cool and everything, but the statement that "on modern Unixes, the C compiler itself is almost invariably open-source" is just not true. if your definition of "Modern Unixes" means: Linux, the *BSD's, and OS X (plus a few others), then sure, but Solaris, HPUX, Irix, Digital Unix, and the other heavy hitters out there certainly have their own compilers that are closed source and quite expensive.

third, i love the fact that he uses 'Freenet' as an example of a program where java was a good language choice. personally, i never managed to get it to run at all due to JVM issues, and i know i'm not the only one. i've heard several intelligent arguments of why the choice of java actually kept Freenet from becoming widely adopted.

in any event though, the book deserves a read through, as he's right about a lot of things, just take it with a grain of salt.