Unix Pestilence: Quotations

By Xah Lee. Date:

Unix Fanatics on What is and is Not Unix

when unix problem is described, for example, in the UNIX-Haters Handbook, then, the unix/linux fanatic's reactions are often like this:

while, when unix is shown in a positive light, for example, when Apple adopted the BSD's kernel for Mac OS X and marketing it as “UNIX Based”, then unix idiots went: look! even Apple switched to unix!

I Bought a Unix Chainsaw

Last week i bought a chainsaw with a twisted handle. Perhaps i wasn't careful, but by accident it chopped one of my arm off, then i thought to myself “gosh, this is POWERFUL!”. This seems to be the fashionable mode of thinking among the unixers or unixer-to-be, who would equate power and flexibility with rawness and complexity; disciplined by repeated accidents. Such a tool would first chop off the user's brain, molding a mass of brainless imbeciles and microcephalic charlatans the likes of Larry Wall and Linus Torvald jolly asses. —Xah Lee

unix Shells

Shell programming terrifies me. There is something about writing a simple shell script that is just much, much more unpleasant than writing a simple C program, or a simple COMMON LISP program, or a simple Mips assembler program. Is it trying to remember what the rules are for all the different quotes? Is it having to look up the multi-phased interaction between filename expansion, shell variables, quotation, backslashes and alias expansion? Maybe it's having to subsequently look up which of the twenty or thirty flags I need for my grep, sed, and awk invocations. Maybe it just gets on my nerves that I have to run two complete programs simply to count the number of files in a directory (ls | wc -l), which seems like several orders of magnitude more cycles than was really needed. —Olin Shivers, author of scsh, 1994

Following is Acknowledgement from Scheme Shell. Funny.

Olin Shivers, Brian D. Carlstrom, Martin Gasbichler, and Mike Sperber


Who should I thank? My so-called “colleagues,” who laugh at me behind my back, all the while becoming famous on my work? My worthless graduate students, whose computer skills appear to be limited to downloading bitmaps off of netnews? My parents, who are still waiting for me to quit “fooling around with computers,” go to med school, and become a radiologist? My department chairman, a manager who gives one new insight into and sympathy for disgruntled postal workers?

My God, no one could blame me — no one! — if I went off the edge and just lost it completely one day. I couldn't get through the day as it is without the Prozac and Jack Daniels I keep on the shelf, behind my Tops-20 JSYS manuals. I start getting the shakes real bad around 10am, right before my advisor meetings. A 10 oz. Jack 'n Zac helps me get through the meetings without one of my students winding up with his severed head in a bowling-ball bag. They look at me funny; they think I twitch a lot. I'm not twitching. I'm controlling my impulse to snag my 9mm Sig-Sauer out from my day-pack and make a few strong points about the quality of undergraduate education in Amerika.

If I thought anyone cared, if I thought anyone would even be reading this, I'd probably make an effort to keep up appearances until the last possible moment. But no one does, and no one will. So I can pretty much say exactly what I think.

Oh, yes, the acknowledgements. I think not. I did it. I did it all, by myself.


Perl is a computer language. It stands for Pathological Elational Regex Language, aka Pathetically Euphoric Retching Language.

Dimwit: What's so good about your language?
Tom: We provide the Dim Wit feature.
Dimwit: (drools…)

Perl provides the DWIM feature. DWIM stands for Dim Wit I Am, and is pronounced Dim Wit. It is a fashionable locution of the Perl Republic, trumpeted by priests like Tom Christiansen.

The three characteristics of Perl programers: mundaneness, sloppiness, and fatuousness. —Xah Lee, 1999

I know a monger named Wall
who always peddles his Perl
if he had any grasp
he would just lisp
Wall is nothing but a troll
—Xah Lee, 2000-02

“…the integers are a subset of the rational numbers, so indeed, a whole number is a decimal number.” — Perl FAQ maintainers. (quoted by Godzilla 2002-02-27 in comp.lang.perl.misc)

Perl's gluing ability goes beyond computation, to people. To the poor and have-nots. It unites people in the computing field who are not endowed with fancy engaging brains. It is the sanctuary of dunces. The expressions of those thoughtless. The godsend for brainless coders. The means and banner of sys admins. The lingua franca of trial-and-error hackers. The song and dance of stultified engineers. —Xah Lee, 2000, from Perl's raison d'être

Perl Mongers on Complex Numbers

    This package lets you create and manipulate complex numbers. By default,
    *Perl* limits itself to real numbers, but an extra "use" statement
    brings full complex support, along with a full set of mathematical
    functions typically associated with and/or extended to complex numbers.

    If you wonder what complex numbers are, they were invented to be able to
    solve the following equation:

            x*x = -1


from perldoc on Math::Complex.

Perl Books Survey 2002 .

  perl5 -e'print "just another f@%#!^& perl moron.\n"'

See also: