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The greatest programs no one knows about

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  • Erann Gat
    At the Feyerabend workshop the idea came up of putting together a book about the great programs that no one knows about and that are therefore being reinvented
    Message 1 of 12 , Oct 30, 2001
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      At the Feyerabend workshop the idea came up of putting together a book
      about the great programs that no one knows about and that are therefore
      being reinvented slowly and badly. The canonical example at the workshop
      was the natural language parser that Richard described. My professional
      situation is now settling down to the point where I could have time to
      edit such a work (and perhaps write a chapter for it as well). I'd like
      to guage the intereste among the Feyerabend crowd in contributing a
      chapter to such a book. If you think you might be willing to contribute
      would you please respond to me with a few-sentence description of the
      program you'd like to write about. Please include the following
      information: What was the program called? Who wrote it? When and where
      was it written? And (briefly) what did it do?

      Some ground rules: the program should be at least N years old for some
      value of N. I'm going to set N initially equal to 10, but I'm open to
      arguments for other values. Also, the requirement that no one knows about
      it shouldn't be taken too literally. It's OK if the existence of the
      program is widely known. If there are technical details that are not
      widely known but are applicable to contemporary concerns that's enough.
      The main point is to have a book that presents old solutions to problems
      that people are currently beating their heads against the wall about. So,
      for example, a detailed description of the programming environment on the
      original Alto machines would probably be OK despite the fact that the
      existence of Smalltalk is widely known.

      Also please give me an indication of your enthusiasm and availability,
      e.g., "I would like to contribute, but I'm busy and this will have to be
      done in my spare time so don't count on me." or "This is the greatest idea
      since the nand gate and I will move Heaven and Earth to get a chapter
      written before the new year."

      Thanks,
      Erann Gat
      gat@...
    • Uwe Zdun
      Erann, I think this is a great idea! I have a quite intimate knowledge of the Tcl internal C API which is used by quite a few projects as a generic component
      Message 2 of 12 , Nov 7, 2001
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        Erann,

        I think this is a great idea! I have a quite intimate knowledge of the Tcl
        internal C API which is used by quite a few projects as a generic component
        glueing and platforms independence API for C and C++. It is not exactly an
        unknown program, but this use is relatively little known compared to its use
        as a scripting language. But it is, in my opinion, one of the greatest and
        most useful C APIs ever written. And it is developed since 1987 ... so its
        quite old as well.

        If you like this idea and proceed with the book, I could supply a chapter
        quite quickly, say in 1-2 months ... I know a few of the Tcl core developers,
        perhaps I could convince them to work on it as well.

        Regards,

        Uwe



        On Tuesday 30 October 2001 11:44 pm, you wrote:
        > At the Feyerabend workshop the idea came up of putting together a book
        > about the great programs that no one knows about and that are therefore
        > being reinvented slowly and badly. The canonical example at the workshop
        > was the natural language parser that Richard described. My professional
        > situation is now settling down to the point where I could have time to
        > edit such a work (and perhaps write a chapter for it as well). I'd like
        > to guage the intereste among the Feyerabend crowd in contributing a
        > chapter to such a book. If you think you might be willing to contribute
        > would you please respond to me with a few-sentence description of the
        > program you'd like to write about. Please include the following
        > information: What was the program called? Who wrote it? When and where
        > was it written? And (briefly) what did it do?
        >
        > Some ground rules: the program should be at least N years old for some
        > value of N. I'm going to set N initially equal to 10, but I'm open to
        > arguments for other values. Also, the requirement that no one knows about
        > it shouldn't be taken too literally. It's OK if the existence of the
        > program is widely known. If there are technical details that are not
        > widely known but are applicable to contemporary concerns that's enough.
        > The main point is to have a book that presents old solutions to problems
        > that people are currently beating their heads against the wall about. So,
        > for example, a detailed description of the programming environment on the
        > original Alto machines would probably be OK despite the fact that the
        > existence of Smalltalk is widely known.
        >
        > Also please give me an indication of your enthusiasm and availability,
        > e.g., "I would like to contribute, but I'm busy and this will have to be
        > done in my spare time so don't count on me." or "This is the greatest idea
        > since the nand gate and I will move Heaven and Earth to get a chapter
        > written before the new year."
        >
        > Thanks,
        > Erann Gat
        > gat@...
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
        > feyerabend-project-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
        >
        >
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/

        --
        Uwe Zdun
        Institute for Computer Science, University of Essen
        Phone: +49 201 81 00 332, Fax: +49 201 81 00 398
        zdun@{xotcl,computer,acm}.org, uwe.zdun@...
      • Uwe Zdun
        Hi, sorry for sending it to the whole list ... it was an accident. --uwe
        Message 3 of 12 , Nov 7, 2001
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          Hi,

          sorry for sending it to the whole list ... it was an accident.

          --uwe
        • Erann Gat
          We forgive you. BTW, Uwe is the first person to volunteer to write a chapter. So if you ve been thinking that it would be nice to do but you re too busy and
          Message 4 of 12 , Nov 7, 2001
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            We forgive you.

            BTW, Uwe is the first person to volunteer to write a chapter. So if
            you've been thinking that it would be nice to do but you're too busy and
            others will pick up the slack now is the time to change your mind. Unless
            a few more people step up to the plate it's not gong to happen.

            Erann
            gat@...
            gat@...

            On Wed, 7 Nov 2001, Uwe Zdun wrote:

            > Hi,
            >
            > sorry for sending it to the whole list ... it was an accident.
            >
            > --uwe
          • Pascal Costanza
            ... I think we can discuss this publicly, because this enhances the probability that others join. ... OK, I comit myself to a chapter about the Oberon system.
            Message 5 of 12 , Nov 12, 2001
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              Erann Gat wrote:
              >
              > We forgive you.

              I think we can discuss this publicly, because this enhances the
              probability that others join.

              > BTW, Uwe is the first person to volunteer to write a chapter. So if
              > you've been thinking that it would be nice to do but you're too busy and
              > others will pick up the slack now is the time to change your mind. Unless
              > a few more people step up to the plate it's not gong to happen.

              OK, I comit myself to a chapter about the Oberon system. I don't know
              yet where to take the time from, but I think it's possible for me to do
              this.


              Pascal

              --
              Deadline for the Second German Workshop on AOSD: December 1, 2001
              http://i44w3.info.uni-karlsruhe.de/~pulvermu/workshops/aosd2002/

              Pascal Costanza Email: costanza@...
              University of Bonn Roemerstr. 164
              Institute of Computer Science III D-53117 Bonn (Germany)

              Fon: +49 (0)228 73-4505 Homepage:
              Fax: +49 (0)228 73-4382 http://www.pascalcostanza.de
            • Brian Marick
              ... A thought: a few people who were interested in writing on systems they didn t know could make a dent in this project. I envision them reading some papers,
              Message 6 of 12 , Nov 19, 2001
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                At 11:03 AM 11/12/01, you wrote:
                >Erann Gat wrote:
                > >
                > > We forgive you.
                >
                >I think we can discuss this publicly, because this enhances the
                >probability that others join.
                >
                > > BTW, Uwe is the first person to volunteer to write a chapter. So if
                > > you've been thinking that it would be nice to do but you're too busy and
                > > others will pick up the slack now is the time to change your mind. Unless
                > > a few more people step up to the plate it's not gong to happen.

                A thought: a few people who were interested in writing on systems they
                didn't know could make a dent in this project. I envision them reading some
                papers, interviewing one or more of the people who know the system cold,
                and writing it up. It could be an occasional series, entries posted on a
                web site or perhaps in IEEE Software or the like, eventually collected into
                a book.

                So the model would be Organick's Multics book, but in miniature.

                For example, I think Keykos (a capability security system) is interesting,
                but it's poorly described. (At least, it used to be.) If I could learn more
                and also write something up, I would. But not this year.

                --
                Brian Marick, marick@...
                www.testing.com - Software testing services and resources
                www.testingcraft.com - Where software testers exchange techniques
                www.visibleworkings.com - Adequate understanding of system internals
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