Re: Religious Wars (was: Re: [hackers-il] KDevelop vs. Eclipse vs. Emacs)
- "a trap of learning". Touche.On 9/5/07, Nadav Har'El <nyh@...> wrote:
On Sun, Sep 02, 2007, Omer Zak wrote about "Religious Wars (was: Re: [hackers-il] KDevelop vs. Eclipse vs.?Emacs)":
> However, the topic of religious (or holy) wars in this context is an
> interesting topic to explore at its own right, so I'm accepting the
> It seems to me that religious wars are about choice between two (or
> more) approaches, which are more or less equivalent - but require some
> time investment to switch from one to the other.
I don't fully agree. Such "wars" indeed exist, but are faught mainly by
trolls, who, for example, pop up on a Linux list and start debating whether
you should use Fedora, Debian or Ubuntu, when everyone knows that these are
basically permutations of more-or-less the same features, and if choice X
has some feature not in choice Y, then the next version of choice Y will surely
have it, and some new feature that X doesn't have.
The wars become more interesting, and more "religious", when the choices
are not equivalent, and both sides acklowedge specific differences between
the two choices - they just can't agree if the difference is good, or bad.
In real religions, for example, everyone agrees that a major difference between
Judaism and Christianity is Jesus Christ - it's just that Christians think
this is a *good* thing in christianity, and Jews think it's a *bad* thing.
Similarly, in software,
> The famous example of vi vs. emacs religious war illustrates this point.
> Both editors are powerful text editors, and both have some sort of
> scripting capabilities. However, to switch from one to the other
Actually, the VI/Emacs religious war broke out and continued when there was
a real difference between those editor's philosophy. Emacs indeed had powerful
scripting capabilities, but vi had none (it had a simple configuration file,
~/.exrc, but you couldn't call that scripting by a longshot). Emacs' camp
thought this made Emacs obviously better, while vi's camp disagreed and
ridiculed Emacs' scripting (saying things like "Emacs is a great operating
system, but it's missing a good editor). A second "religious" argument
between the vi and emacs camps was the style of keyboard binding. The vi
camp believed in "modal" binding (you have insert mode, and command mode)
and in combinations of single-key commands, while the emacs camp believed
in global binding (a key does the same thing everywhere) and key combinations
(liek control-alt-a). Each camp thought the other's method sucks.
Of course, these VI/Emacs wars are a thing of the 80s. Today, both XEmacs
and Vim have GUIs and scripting languages, and the differences between the
two editors are indeed starting to look cosmetic, rather than fundumental.
Both editors are starting to look like operating systems, rather than
> requires some time investment - to learn the other editor, to cultivate
> different mental habits, to re-create one's personal list of scripts,
> tips, riffs and shortcuts.
This doesn't explain the "holy war" aspect. If I have a lot of scripts and
knowledge about program X, why would that automatically send me to mailing
lists and write that Y sucks?
I think that I would write that Y sucks, only when I believe Y really sucks,
i.e., not only am I used to X, but there are significant differences between
X and Y which - at least to me - don't look like something consmetic or
"what I'm used to", but rather very important differences.
For example, as you probably know, I use zsh. I settled on zsh as my favorite
shell around 15 years ago - after having previously used ksh and bourne shell.
While Zsh is my favorite shell, I have nothing really bad to say about Bash.
It doesn't suck - it's probably great, just isn't as great as zsh ;-) So you
won't catch me slandering bash in mailing lists and joining crusades against
it. On the other hand, I do think that csh sucks, and can explain my reasoning.
I *will* join any crusade against csh that you invite me to... Because I
believe that csh is really inferior to zsh (and bash) - it's not just a
historic choice - and I don't want newbies to fall into the trap of learning
Nadav Har'El | Wednesday, Sep 5 2007, 22 Elul 5767
Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |The path of least resistance is what
http://nadav.harel.org.il |makes rivers and politicians crooked.
- A true religious war - and this is my humble opinion - requires common use cases, yet different postulates. In addition, some decent amount of people wishing to invest their time and efforts into the war must be present - otherwise, the war will fall into oblivion.
Qualities, that person willing to succeed in the religious war should pertain, in my humble^W arrogant (a la guerre comme a la guerre) opinion, are mental rigidity and unwillingness to separate between the cause, the aims and the means.
As one vague familiar with dialectics of materialism, I prefer to remain atheist in all what is related to tools and means, yet I do have one sound opinion:
Mediocre software may be profitable, but it is boring and ultimately bad for the developers.
And if we will return to the original question, from which this current thread was forked, let me say that both vim and GNU Emacs had been polished into state which is very close to the perfection, yet KDevelop and XEmacs still have some way to go up the path of perpetual self-improvement.