Archive for the ‘WIN’ Category.

Everything old is new again redux

Lindsay did an excellent blog post yesterday titled “Everything old is new again“, about the re-emergence of multi-dimensioned databases.

Great title, but just to prove his point, it applies even better to a post he shared on Google Reader a few days ago, written by Kurt Schrader and titled “Living in a Post Rails World“. To quote that post:

I think that the Ruby world is eventually going to end up in a model like this, writing small simple apps that all talk to each other, and can be replaced or upgraded at any time.

<snip two paragraphs>

All of my hard/long running logic is well tested, encapsulated, and most likely running in little agents on the wire.

Sound familiar? It should. Kurt has re-discovered the same principles that the Holy Fathers of Unix discovered, over a quarter of a century ago. Doug McIlroy, circa 1978:

(i) Make each program do one thing well. To do a new job, build afresh rather than complicate old programs by adding new features.

(ii) Expect the output of every program to become the input to another, as yet unknown, program. Don’t clutter output with extraneous information. Avoid stringently columnar or binary input formats. Don’t insist on interactive input.

Later, he simplified it:

This is the Unix philosophy: Write programs that do one thing and do it well. Write programs to work together. Write programs to handle text streams, because that is a universal interface.

Of course, Henry Spencer said it the best:

Those who don’t understand UNIX are condemned to reinvent it, poorly.

Habeas Corpus – granted.

Reading the draft Executive Order ordering Guantánamo Bay detention facilities to be closed, one minor paragraph jumped out at me:

(c) The individuals currently detained at Guantánamo have the constitutional privilege of

the writ of habeas corpus. Most of those individuals have filed petitions for a writ of

habeas corpus in Federal court challenging the lawfulness of their detention.

If that was the entirety of the order, it would be a huge step forward for people still imprisoned there – they’ll be able to force the government to justify their imprisonment, a right that was consistently denied to David Hicks and the other detainees.

You can read the whole order from a link at the bottom of the ACLU’s press release.

Shelley the Republican on Ubuntu

People have been telling me to read STR for ages, but I’ve never got around to it. Pascal just went to the site while I was shoulder surfing – and thus I discovered this review of Ubuntu:

One of the great things about Windows is the ease of obtaining powerful utilities and applications. In addition to hundreds of great titles available on CD-ROM you can download awesome shareware applications: simply click on Setup.exe and most installers will instantly deploy your chosen software, sometimes with cool bonus productivity apps that enhance your browsing experience. In comparison with Microsoft’s common-sense approach, pandemonium reigns on the Linux platform.

The only way to install software is via a tool called the ‘package manager’ which is confusingly also called ‘Synaptic’. This works according to a similar principle as a communist super-market: You have a limited range of software which has been chosen on a purely ideological basis rather than functionality. If you want to ‘think different’, it’s tough-luck again: Another obvious fail for the ‘contender’.

To make matters worse, in order to install an application you must be ‘root’ which entails memorizing a series of confusing passwords. By contrast Windows allows any user to install the applications they need to do their work – a wise productivity gain that endears the flexible NT platform to IT departments the world over.

The rest is good reading too. Very informative! I’m switching away from Ubuntu forthwith.