[TUHS] basic tools / Universal Unix

Dan Cross crossd at gmail.com
Tue Oct 17 04:54:33 AEST 2017

On Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 1:52 PM, Clem Cole <clemc at ccc.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 12:39 PM, Jon Steinhart <jon at fourwinds.com> wrote:
>> I have a similar and maybe even more extreme position.  When I was a
>> manager
>> I placed restrictions on the tools and customizations for members of my
>> team.
>> My goal was to make sure that any team member could go over to any other
>> team
>> member's desk and get stuff done.
> And I think this loops back to what started some of this threat.  The idea
> of a programmer with 'good taste.'
> Rob (and Brian) railed on BSD in cat -v considered harmful and ‘Program
> Design in the UNIX Environment’ (pdf version, ps version) but the points in
> it was then and are still now, fresh:  What is it that you need to get the
> job done - to me, that is Doug's "Universal Unix" concept.

This is an aside, but I must admit -- with a sense of mild shame --
that the '-v' option to cat is one that I use with some regularity.
The irony is that I probably would not have done so had it NOT been
for the aforementioned paper, which made me aware of it (and how ugly
it is). That is, whenever I want to do the sort of thing that 'cat -v'
does, I remember that paper and think to myself, "oh yeah...`cat -v`
does that."

The suggested alternative of a special-purpose tool never struck me as
satisfactory since such a tool did not exist as a matter of course on
the multitude of machines that I might log into, and/or I didn't have
time or was too lazy to write it myself. Cue segue to lamentation of
the loss of systems promoting a network-aware filesystem namespace
where such things could be written once and then follow me around....

        - Dan C.

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