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Art Of Unix Programming, The

AuthorEric S. Raymond Entered2001-02-23 13:41:08 by bcrowell
Editedit data record FreedomCopyrighted, doesn't cost money to read, but otherwise not free (disclaimer)
SubjectQ.A - Mathematics. Computer science (operating systems)
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http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/taoup/html/
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a quick introduction to the culture
by Ben Crowell (crowell09 at stopspam.lightandmatter.com (change 09 to current year)) on 2002-10-18 23:36:05, review #208
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This incomplete book is fine as a quick introduction to the culture of Unix programming. However, it lacks depth. It's fun to read because Raymond is opinionated, but I often disagreed with his opinions. For example:
At about 3300 lines, [a certain application] is probably pushing the size and complexity limit of what one should attempt in a single Perl program.
I've written a 4000-line Perl project and an 8000-line one. In neither case did I feel that I was running into a brick wall in terms of Perl's ability to scale. In some ways, the book feels out of date. For instance, the remarks about Perl's unsuitability for large programs may date back to the time when object-oriented programming in Perl wasn't common, or even possible. It's also short on specifics; it's hard to know how much to believe of the general philosophical statements without some specifics to back them up. Since the book's title harkens back to Knuth's monumental The Art of Computer Programming, it's hard not to contrast it unfavorably with Knuth's depth, rigor, and attention to detail.

Information wants to be free, so make some free information.


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Too much engineering, too little art
by tk1 (tk1@despammed.com) on 2002-12-14 12:18:49, review #226
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Although the book is supposed to be on "The Art of Unix Programming", there is not much mention of "art". From the table of contents, it seems that Raymond intends to spend most of his time discussing specific tools and techniques, instead of talking about the mindset required in writing a good program. In my opinion, a better text for that is Geoffrey James' "The Tao of Programming".

(Another minor nit is regarding the supposed Lao Tzu quote at the beginning of Chapter 2: I could not find the quote anywhere in the Tao Te Ching.)


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