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Unix is the Hole Hawg of operating systems

fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
Bartender

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11155
    
  16

I find this article very amusing.

The Hole Hawg is a very powerful, contractor grade drill. The article's point is that Unix is just like this drill. If you tell Unix to do something, it makes every effort to do exactly what you asked - none of this "Are you sure?" and "press cntl-z to undo" mamby pamby stuff. I like his style, particularly these two sentences.

"The Hole Hawg, following its one and only imperative, kept going."

"[T]he Hole Hawg rotated with the stupid consistency of a spinning planet. "


And I have seen Unix do exactly this...if you type "rm -rf" and hit enter, you better be damn sure you are in the right spot, because it will delete everything with the stupid consistency of a spinning planet. God help you if you are wrong.


There are only two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors
Jayesh A Lalwani
Bartender

Joined: Jan 17, 2008
Posts: 2272
    
  28

I had no idea what he Hole Hawg is until I read the article. I have only used the "toy" drills. The article makes a lot of sense.

Actually, the application we are building is also kind of like that. We started building it 1.5 years ago, and the idea was to build something that is very flexible and has a lot of power. We released it into the wild, and we have a whole bunch of usability problems (which we expected) that end up costing a lot in the amount of effort spent by customer support. We are going through this cycle of making it a lot more usable at the cost of flexibility.
Jeff Verdegan
Bartender

Joined: Jan 03, 2004
Posts: 6109
    
    6

fred rosenberger wrote:
"The Hole Hawg, following its one and only imperative, kept going."

"[T]he Hole Hawg rotated with the stupid consistency of a spinning planet. "


When I was building a deck on my old house, I started digging the holes for the footings using a shovel and post-hole digger. It didn't take long for me to give up on that and rent a power auger, which is like a larger, gasoline powered version of the Hole Hawg.

It's a lawnmower engine with handles and an auger bit.

Numerous times while I was using it to dig the holes, it would hit a rock, and like the Hole Hawg, it would just keep going. And if that meant it was easier to slam its handle into my ribs and shove me around in the other direction than it was to move the rock, that was just fine with the auger. I told it to spin, and it spun, and if the bit wouldn't spin, then by cracky the motor and the handles and whoever was attached to them bloody well would.
Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4646
    
    5

Jayesh A Lalwani wrote: We are going through this cycle of making it a lot more usable at the cost of flexibility.

Clearly you are making your application less like Unix and less like a Hole Hawg

Sometimes that is the right decision.
Anayonkar Shivalkar
Bartender

Joined: Dec 08, 2010
Posts: 1502
    
    5

fred rosenberger wrote:And I have seen Unix do exactly this...if you type "rm -rf" and hit enter, you better be damn sure you are in the right spot, because it will delete everything with the stupid consistency of a spinning planet. God help you if you are wrong.

This just reminded me of welcome message for sudo command :

We trust you have received the usual lecture from the local System Administrator. It usually boils down to these three things:

#1) Respect the privacy of others.

#2) Think before you type.

#3) With great power comes great responsibility.


Regards,
Anayonkar Shivalkar (SCJP, SCWCD, OCMJD, OCEEJBD)
Joe Ess
Bartender

Joined: Oct 29, 2001
Posts: 8836
    
    7

Neal Stephenson is a big fan of *nix. Many plot points of his novel Cryptonomicon revolve around "Freenix" (He couldn't use "Linux" because Linux has the copyright on that name)
Another good article of his about the power of *nux is In The Beginning Was The Command LIne


"blabbing like a narcissistic fool with a superiority complex" ~ N.A.
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