Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Unix Haters

I'd hate for someone to think I'm some sort of operating systems bigot.

This is still funny.

Thus, ladies and gentlemen, The UNIX Haters Handbook.

Some of the technical bits are dated, but the funny never goes out of style.

The "drag-and-drop" metaphor tires to cover up the Unix file system, but so little of Unix is designed for the desktop metaphor that it's just one kludge on top of another with little holes and sharp edges popping up everywhere. Maybe the "sag-and-drop" metaphor is more appropriate for such ineffective and unreliable performance.

A shining example is Sun's Open Windows File Manager, which goes out of its way to display ore dump files as cute little red bomb icons. When you double-click on the bomb, it runs a text editor on the core dump. Harmless, but not very useful. But if you intuitively drag and drop the bomb on the DBX Debugger Tool, it does exactly what you'd expect if you were a terrorist: it ties the entire system up, as the core dump (including a huge unmapped gap of zeros) is pumped through the server and into the debugger text window, which inflates to the maximum capacity of swap space, then violently explodes, dumping an even bigger core file in place of your original one, filling up the entire file system, overwhelming the file server, and taking out the File Manager with shrapnel. (This bug has since been fixed.)

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