Articles of Interest

The following are some rather interesting articles that I've read here and there. Some humorous, some insightful, some thought-provoking.

Miscelaneous / Uncategorized

A real Glossary of Chess Terms and an amusing Glossary of Chess Terms

LEGO Star Wars Trilogy by Maestro s. Fujita - The scripts of episodes IV, V, and VI all done in LEGOS. This guy didn't use any of the keen new sets either, he made the models and the sets all on his own. Amazing.

Star Wars - Ascimation - variations on a theme, this is the Star Wars script done as ASCII animation.

The Dumbing Down of Programming by Ellen Ulman. If I ever meet this woman, I will kiss her full on the mouth.

Why I Like Writing for O'Reilly by Elliotte Rusty Harold. This article, written by a woman on the inside, helps explain why O'Reilly books are consistently superior quality to almost any other computer books. (I do like some of the stuff published by Adison-Wesley as well. :-)

Fuzzy Logic Functions: An Overview found on Brunching Shuttlecocks. A delightfully humorous synopsis of a number of ordinary human-logic functions, expressed in computer terms. It can't be long before these are merged into the main Perl source.

The Truth, The Whole Truth, And Nothing But The Truth by Wired Magazine does a very canny job of reporting on the events surrounding the Microsoft antitrust trial.

World's First Ray Gun Shoots Down Missile title pretty much says it all. Yes, Virginia, the military does have destructive lasers. Purty neet.

Eric S. Raymond

ESR has done some good writing. Links to my favorite stuff of his follows, but you may be interested in seeing the whole collection on his Website

The Jargon File Published in book form once upon a time under the title "The New Hacker's Dictionary".

INTERCAL - The silliest programming language ever invented. If you've written software before and engaged in discussions with your peers about the virtues and vices of various languages, this is written for you.

How to Become a Hacker - Tantamount to hiking up to the top of a hill in the Himalayas to speak with a guru who will show you The Way. :-)

The Cathedral and the Bazzar describes how the modern open source model (more to the point, the Linux model) works. This paper has had a remarkable influence on the software industry.

Homesteading the Noosphere is a follow-up to CATB (above). It explains the anthropology and social workings of the Bazzar model of software development.


I've used oodles of different systems & OS's throughout the years, from Commodore 64 / TRS-80, SCO UNIX, Solaris, many versions of DOS, WinXX, FreeBSD, and now Linux. UNIX has been the thing that has tickled my brain more than anything else.

Love and UNIX: An Undying Affection by Thomas Scoville. My sentiments exactly, Tom.

UNIX Philosophy found on Christopher Browne's Web Pages . This includes such tennants as "Small is Beautiful" and "Chose portability over efficiency". It is noteworthy that many of these philosophies have been adopted in other operating environments.

The Elements of Style: UNIX as Literature on the Performance Computing Website. "Mastery of UNIX, like mastery of language, offers real freedom. The price of freedom is always dear, but there's no substitute." Basically, this site says that UNIX people are novel readers, because they can grok books that are just text, whereas Mac & Windows people have to read comic books because they can't understand the story unless it has pictures. (Big smirk, but no offense intended--I like comic books too. :-)

An Interview with Dennis Ritchie one of the living oracles of our time.

Linux and Ethnodiversity A study on the virtues of diversity in computing, particularly as we become more internationally connected via the Internet.

The History of UNIX 1975-1984 found on Daemon News, a great FreeBSD news site.

An Interview with Brian Kernighan - A rather lengthy interview that discusses Kernighan's development of the C language, his thoughts on C++, and his editor preference. ;-)

Unix's lessons for component architectures - Gives a list of examples where UNIX has encouraged code re-use for many years through componentization (read: "everything is a tool"), simple interfaces, and human-readable data. Favorite quote from the article: "Ideological purity has never been part of the Unix model. There are exceptions to every rule. Don't try to anticipate them all. Don't try to include them all. Pick a problem domain, point to everything outside it, and say 'here there be dragons.'"

Free Software

Also frequently referred to as "open source software".

Open Source Timeline on ABC's Website. Unfortunately, they only cover the more recent history and omit several key items such as the work done by Berkely as part of the BSD project. They also left out some fairly substatial programs like Sendmail, but hey, their heart was in the right place. :-)

The Origins and Future of Open Source Software a white paper on the NetAction Website.

Too Soon for Standards? - A fabulous article on the rise and proliferation of Open Source Software. The author, David Penn, really has a gift for narrative.

Larry Wall

I love the writings of Larry Wall. I love the Perl programming language that he made. Here are a number of links to various scribblings of his.

Natural Language Principles in Perl - Being both a linguiphile and a Perl fan, I get a kick out of this sort of thing. I think it's neat that we've got a language designed by a linguist, rather than a computer scientist.

Excerpts from the 1st State of the Onion Address delivered by Larry Wall. Once upon a time I had a link to the full, un-excerpted listing, but those days are long gone. Some rudimentary searching has turned up nothing. Oh well. If anyone can find me a transcript of the full speech, I'd love to put it up.

The 2nd State of the Onion Address delivered by Larry Wall at the 2nd anual Perl conference.

Perl And Postmodernism - A talk given by Larry Wall at the 1999 Linux World Expo. In this one, he talks about how Perl is an amalgam of a lot of the good ideas of other programming languages. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this talk was the Slashdot discussion that followed.

The Perl You Need to Know Part 22: Warts and All some thoughtful criticism of Perl.

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