The Art of Unix Programming (Eric S. Raymond) pdf, epub, doc

The Art of Unix Programming ePub and PDF Available
I just finished reading The Art of UNIX Programming. In short, I liked it a lot.

Here are a few fun quotes:

Controlling complexity is the essence of computer programming — Brian Kernighan [p. 14]

Software design and implementation should be a joyous art, a kind of high-level play...To do Unix philosophy right, you need to have (or recover) that attitude. [p. 27]

Microsoft actually admitted publicly that NT security is impossible in March 2003. [p. 69, Unfortunately, the URL he provided no longer works.]

One good test for whether an API is well designed is this one: if you try to write a description of it in purely human language (with no source-code extracts allowed), does it make sense? It is a very good idea to get into the habit of writing informal descriptions of your APIs before you code them. [p. 85, this is a good explanation for why I write docstrings before I write code.]

C++ is anticompact—the language's designer has admitted that he doesn't expect any one programmer to ever understand it all. [p. 89]

One thing Raymond does very well is document things that the rest of us implicitly assume. For instance, he described the various cultures revolving around UNIX. Now I know why I'm so mixed up! I sympathize with several different cultures such as:

* Old-school UNIX hackers
* The Open Source movement
* The Free Software movement
* BSD hackers
* MIT Lisp hackers
* The IETF

My copy of the book is from 2004, and as timeless as this book is, I still wish I could get a "post-modern" opinion on several topics. For instance:

* Linux is so commonplace these days, what should we do now that everyone takes it for granted?
* OS X has really won the hearts of a lot of developers. Is there any hope that the rest of the world will move closer to the Free Software ideal? (Please see my post A Hybrid World of Open and Closed Source Software http://jjinux.blogspot.com/2008/02/hy....)
* I'd love to get his take on Eclipse, TextMate, and modern-day Emacs and Vim.
* I'd also love to get his opinions on Ruby and Rails.

In general, I think it's a fair critique that there weren't enough critiques of Unix. He mostly saved them until the last chapter. I would have enjoyed more critiques throughout. As much as I love Unix, one of my favorite books is The UNIX-HATERS Handbook.

Similarly, all of his discussion on Emacs vs. Vi seemed a bit biased. I know it's hard not to be biased on this topic, but I was a bit frustrated when he called all of Emacs' complexity "optional complexity" and all of Vi's complexity "accidental and ad-hoc complexity." Because of his statements I even gave Emacs another shot. However, as usual, I was reminded that in theory Emacs is my favorite editor, but in practice I'm a Vim user http://jjinux.blogspot.com/2008/03/vi....

Nonetheless, I do have high praise for this book. When I was totally burnt out and couldn't code for two months, I found this book refreshing and relaxing. I owe Raymond my thanks :)

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The Art of Unix Programming (Eric S. Raymond) pdf, epub, doc

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Book info

  • Author:
  • Publisher:Addison-Wesley Professional
  • File: 4.2 Mb
  • Ganre: Computer Science
  • Release: 03.10.2003
  • ISBN: 0076092025368
  • Pages 560
  • Rating: 4.12 (598 votes)

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