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SubjectRe: Coding style - a non-issue
On Fri, Nov 30, 2001 at 09:15:50PM -0800, Linus Torvalds wrote:
>
> On Fri, 30 Nov 2001, Victor Yodaiken wrote:
> >
> > Ok. There was no design, just "less than random mutations".
> > Deep.
>
> I'm not claiming to be deep, I'm claiming to do it for fun.
>
> I _am_ claiming that the people who think you "design" software are
> seriously simplifying the issue, and don't actually realize how they
> themselves work.

Just to make sure we are speaking the same language, here is what the
Oxford English Dictionary sez
Design: (1) a plan or scheme conceived in the mind; a project.
...
(2) a purpose, an intention, an aim
...
(3) an end in view, a goal
...
(4) A preliminary sketch, a plan or pattern

For the verb we get things like: "draw, sketch, outline, delineate"

>
> > There was a overall architecture, from Dennis and Ken.
>
> Ask them. I'll bet you five bucks they'll agree with me, not with you.
> I've talked to both, but not really about this particular issue, so I
> might lose, but I think I've got the much better odds.

You're on. Send me the $5.
Here's what Dennis Ritchie wrote in his preface to the re-issued Lions
book:
"you will see in the code an underlying structure that has
lasted a long time and has managed to accomodate vast changes
in the computing environment"


> If you want to see a system that was more thoroughly _designed_, you
> should probably point not to Dennis and Ken, but to systems like L4 and
> Plan-9, and people like Jochen Liedtk and Rob Pike.

You appear to be using "design" to mean "complete specification".
See above.

>
> And notice how they aren't all that popular or well known? "Design" is
> like a religion - too much of it makes you inflexibly and unpopular.

Memory fades with age, as I know from sad experience, but try to
remember who wrote things like:

|
|However, I still would not call "pthreads" designed.
|
|Engineered. Even well done for what it tried to do. But not "Designed".
|
|This is like VMS. It was good, solid, engineering. Design? Who needs
|design? It _worked_.
|
|But that's not how UNIX is or should be. There was more than just
|engineering in UNIX. There was Design with a capital "D". Notions of
|"process" vs "file", and things that transcend pure engineering.
|Minimalism.
|
|In the end, it comes down to aesthetics. pthreads is "let's solve a
|problem". But it's not answering the big questions in the universe.
|It's not asking itself "what is the underlying _meaning_ of threads?".
|"What is the big picture?".
Some academic twit, no doubt, with no understanding or experience in
actually making a blue collar OS really work.
The same fool once wrote:

> Think about WHY our system call latency beats everybody else on the
> planet. Think about WHY Linux is fast. It's because it's designed
> right.


Please send the $5 soon.

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