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Long time nixers
The X-Windows Disaster

This chapter rants about how the X basic programs don't deal with basic graphical user interface.
Quote:X was designed to run three programs: xterm, xload, and xclock. (The idea of a window manager was added as an afterthought, and it shows.)

The chapter explains how the lack of user interface by the X protocol resulted in different user interface standards.
Quote:X gave programmers a way to display windows and pixels, but it didn't speak to buttons, menus, scroll bars, or any of the other necessary elements of a graphical user interface. Programmers invented their own. Soon the Unix community had six or so different interface standards.

The chapter criticizes the X design of implementing “mechanism, not policy” and separating the window management from the window server. That resulted in various different and inconsistent ways of user interaction, compared with the single consistent user interface of Macintosh (the author cites Macintosh a lot in this chapter).
All of it resulted in the creation of ICCCM, which, I agree, is a dense and difficult standard. Compare it with the modern and simpler EWMH.
Quote:In summary, ICCCM is a technological disaster: a toxic waste dump of broken protocols, backward compatibility nightmares, complex nonsolutions to obsolete nonproblems, [...]

The chapter then goes on the myths widespread by X:
  • X Demonstrates the Power of Client/Server computing: The chapter explains how the division of labor between the client and the server must only be decided on an application-by-application basis.
  • X Makes Unix “Easy to Use”: So little of Unix is designed for the desktop metaphor (such as “drag-and-drop”) that it's “just one kludge on top of another”. And then something I didn't know: xauth(1) has an interactive mode.
  • X is “Customizable”: The chapter explains how the X Resource system is broken.
  • X is “Portable”.
  • X is Device Independent: “X is extremely device dependent because all X graphics are specified in pixel coordinates.”

The chapter exalt the NeWS Window System a lot of times during the chapter. It also exalts the NeXT's window server.

csh, pipes, and find: Power Tools for Power Fools.

This chapter is the first of a series of ranting about how UNIX is a programmer-oriented system.

Yet another example of feature creep:
Quote:Unix power tools don't fit this mold. Unlike the modest goals of its designers to have tools that were simple and single-purposed, today's Unix tools are over-featured, over-designed, and over-engineered.

There are three main topics on this chapter:
  • The Shell (especially csh) and the inconsistencies between them, and the problem of quoting metacharacters;
  • Pipes, and how they are a simplistic IPC mechanism.
  • Find, and how arcane its syntax is

Programming: Hold Still, This Won't Hurt a Bit

Unfortunately, I had no time to read this chapter, my week was too busy (first week of this semester of the uni), I'm gonna read it in this afternoon, after doing my chores.

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RE: Nixers Book Club - Book #2: The UNIX-HATERS Handbook - by seninha - 13-02-2021, 07:24 AM