Unix Philosphy

Sometimes I’m reminded of a particular book or website and I feel that every programmer should know about it.

This excerpt from Eric S. Raymond’s “The Art of Unix Programming” should be mandatory reading for all programmers. If you haven’t read it, read it on-line or buy the book. It makes no difference if you code C#, C or Perl, this stuff is applicable.

After you read this book, apply the knowledge and then relax a bit by heading over to “Everyone Loves Eric Raymond” and smile. ;)

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0 thoughts on “Unix Philosphy”

  1. Perhaps new or misguided would have been a better choice of words, but in any case, Eric Raymond’s writings are garbage because he is not providing technical knowledge, he is providing dogma. If you want to really learn Unix well, you’re going to have to read a lot of stuff that you might consider “formal”. Even if writing by the likes of Eric Raymond impart superficial philosophy, they do so without giving you a real understanding of how to implement it or why you would want to. You read it, it sounds good, so you believe it without really knowing why.

    You can’t be a good Unix programmer without actually *learning* Unix, how the operating system works and why it works the way it does, things that Eric Raymond discusses only superficially. You need thorough, non dogmatic instruction to grasp these things. You wont get that instruction from Eric Raymond. People listen to Eric Raymond because he doesn’t make his readers think.

    You point out that Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment is largely geared towards Unix programming, and that’s true, (as the title of the book would indicate) but why would you read a book about Unix programming that wasn’t? If you absorb the material in Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment, you will get far more widely applicable knowledge on good programming practice than you ever could from all of Eric Raymond’s combined writings.

  2. I guess I’m an idiot by your standards, but yes, Steven’s book is a much more formal indroduction to C and Unix. But it is more geared to Unix only programming. Raymond’s book is geared more towards those who are new to Unix programming ideals or are coming from other platforms.

  3. That’s great if you’re an idiot. Otherwise, you could read something that’s actually good, like Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment.

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