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SubjectRe: Availability of kdb
On Sun, Sep 17, 2000 at 02:33:40PM -0700, Marty Fouts wrote:
> Um, for what ever it is worth, if you want to compare "power user" carpentry
> to "hand tools only" you can actually do it fairly easily on PBS in the US.
> There used to be a program done by a guy who did everything by hand. I
> loved to watch it, especially the parts where he cut himself badly because
> there are somethings it is dumb to do with hand tools, but he was stuck with
> his dumb rule. There's another show, still on, called "The New Yankee
> Workshop". I love to watch it, just to count the number of power tools Norm
> Abrams manages to use in a single project. (I think the most I saw in one
> one hour episode was 40-something.)
> Craftsmanship does *not* come from artificial rules about what tools you are
> allowed to use. There were hack carpenters when there weren't any power
> tools, and the cabinet makers I know who do the best work (the sort that
> gets them several thousand dollars a piece for small pieces of furniture)
> use every power tool they find appropriate to their work; just as they
> construct and use jigs and rely on all the other "tricks of the trade".
> Craftsmanship is in the way you approach what you do, not in the tools you
> use to do it. And, frankly, if you wish to artificially limit your use of
> tools, all you are doing is hobbling yourself.

Ahh, now we're having fun. It just so happens that I can speak to all
of these topics; not only have I seen the shows mentioned, but I have
a shop out the back which has both a pile of power tools and a pile of
antique tools (oldest one that I know of was made around 1837, a great
big spokeshave). I use all of them regularly, no collector-foo here,
thank you. I tend to retreat to working with hand tools when all this
geek stuff gets to be a bit much.

Cabinet making craftsmanship absolutely comes from a firm knowledge of
hand tools. I'll bet you anything you want that the guy who sells that
$3K furniture knows exactly what a Norris is and has used one. Probably
still does (OK, mebbe it's a Lie-Nielsen these days).

I've also used a number of kernel debuggers - kadb back at Sun, a monitor
back at ETA (amazingly similar in spirit to RT/Linux), SGI's monstrosity,
and probably others.

That said, who gives a hoot what I have or what I have used? The question
is: does Linus have a point or not? And the answer is, you bet he does.

Linus is saying that if you need a debugger then you don't know the code.
And if you don't know the code, then you shouldn't be hacking the code.
A debugger does little besides cover up a lack of knowledge.

It's not an easy to take point of view because by definition, most
people don't really know the code so most people want a debugger.
Linus would just as soon that you learn the code well enough that a
debugger becomes pointless.

I'm sort of in the middle. I know BitKeeper very well, and it's actually
a larger wad of code than the kernel if you toss out the device drivers.
About the only thing I ever want a debugger for is a stacktrace back. If
you give me that, I usually don't need anything else; and in general, you
shouldn't either. You should *know* why you got to a particular place,
if you don't know that then how can you fix the bug?

So I'm gonna side with Linus on this one, if you make it hard now, it will
be easier later. It also increases the quality of the people submitting
patches, which is a good thing.
Larry McVoy lm at
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