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Larry Wall link

Did anybody else follow the link in 'A Hard Drill Makes an Easy Battle.'

It makes an interesting contrast to Joel's efficient style of writing.

Did anybody manage to read the whole article without losing interest?

Does anybody know what he was actually trying to say?

Ged Byrne
Wednesday, November 21, 2001

I think you are comparing apples to oranges. You will notice that the Larry Wall paper was meant for a published medium (i.e book) while Joel's articles are expressly meant for Web publishing. Of course Joel's articles are more readable <on the Web> but Larry's article has a lot more depth to it, and is tougher to read.

This is sortof like saying that a newspaper article is "more efficient" than an article in Time, because it is distilled and more easily readable. As with most compression techniques, this one is certainly lossy!

Dileep Krishna
Wednesday, November 21, 2001

The Larry Wall paper was the text of a speech he gave at a 1998 Perl conference. The speech was describing the state of the Perl community (see http://www.wall.org/~larry/ for more details)

Alan Hecht
Wednesday, November 21, 2001

Ahh, a speech.  That make sense.  Tangendental wanderings like this do make very good speeches, but terrible text.

It seems to have a religous tone to it.  Not evangelical, more like a vicar's sermon.

Ged Byrne
Wednesday, November 21, 2001

BTW, the quote that starts the article did not originate with Larry Wall.  It's a straight paraphrase of a principle enunciated most famously by Jon Postel in RFC 791, which was published in 1981.  There may well be even earlier formulations, but that's the earliest one I can find and Jon was always pretty good about quoting sources.

Jeff Darcy
Wednesday, November 21, 2001



Look at

http://www.perl.com/search/index.ncsp?sp-q=larry+wall+talks

I find Larry Wall talks very entertaining.

Leonardo Herrera
Wednesday, November 21, 2001

FWIW, I found 'A Hard Drill Makes an Easy Battle' nearly as rambling and incoherent as a Larry Wall speech. What exactly was the point? Debugging a windows app requires testing on different configurations? Strong typing is better than weak typing? VMware is cool?

It seemed like a lot of random padding around the idea that yes, you need to debug the software you write. Too bad, I have found a few of Joel's other pieces very useful.

Hideo Naruse
Thursday, November 22, 2001

If the text was a speech, that does not change the essence of my point. A good length speech lends itself to communicating complex thoughts; certainly a person like Larry is quite capable of doing that.

In comparison Joel's article would qualify for a sound-bite. I am not trying to put down Joel - he writes great stuff - but I think anyone who accuses Larry of incomprehensibility just doesn't understand him or his brilliant subtlety.

As someone else on this thread said, Joel has just one point in his article - "software should be strict on the input, which leads to better maintainability". I strongly disagree with this premise. I suspect that usability is directly proportional to flexibility; basically the computer program should make allowances for the human (whether user or programmer), not the other way around!

Dileep Krishna
Thursday, November 22, 2001

I've spent a little more time reading Larry's stuff, and I find it interesting.  He really know his onions.

I can see that my initial reaction was mislead.  But for the uninitiated all that talk of 0s in different languages can sound like the ramblings of a madman.

Picturing them in my head as a conference speech makes it much easier for me to understand what he is doing.  The repetition is needed when delivering a speech, people only hear half of what you say, so you have to say everything at least twice  Also, hard facts and figures are just wasted in this format.

I see that he uses a very different style for his written articles.  I guess this is no surprise, considering he is an expert on language.

Ged Byrne
Friday, November 23, 2001



How glad is to see people actually learning :-)

I think Wall is simply a genius (How you would catalog a guy who claim himself as a linguist but is capable to write software that is used by millions of people? And I'm not talking about perl only... just look at "diff").

Leonardo Herrera
Friday, November 23, 2001

Wall did not write diff, but patch.

John
Saturday, November 24, 2001


Yes? Oops... thanks for the tip.

Leonardo Herrera
Saturday, November 24, 2001

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