April 8th, 2006


Unix as Literature

I am going MAAAAAD - I have no option but to use an XP machine to disentangle an embedded C/ASM project because the C compiler using which the code was compiled doesn't work on Linux. The code is not getting linked properly and I am running around looking for redefinitions of global variables and stuff like that. I miss the Unix commandline and tools like grep, ctags, find etc .... I feel like a prisoner trapped within the `walls' of a pretty GUI ... there is no network connection between this machine and the other machines ... so I do a build on Windows, run around to my Linux box and do a lot of grepping and finding ... I will soon have to set up a shell and other utilities on this XP box ... I can't imagine how developers can feel comfortable with a stupid GUI!

Thomas Scoville has written eloquently about why many of us love the Unix commandline so much - it's is a gem of an article - enjoy!

Here is an excerpt from the article:

UNIX programmers express themselves in a rich vocabulary of 
system utilities and command-line arguments, along with a flexible, 
varied grammar and syntax. For UNIX enthusiasts, the language becomes 
second nature. Once, I overheard a conversation in a Palo Alto 
restaurant: "there used to be a shrimp-and-pasta plate here under ten 
bucks. Let me see... cat menu | grep shrimp | test -lt $10..." though 
not syntactically correct (and less-than-scintillating conversation), 
a diner from an NT shop probably couldn't have expressed 
himself as casually.