- From: email@example.com
- Date: Tue, 15 Mar 1994 00:38:07 EST
- Subject: anti-foreword
- To the contributers to this book:
- I have succumbed to the temptation you offered in your preface: I do
- write you off as envious malcontents and romantic keepers of memo-
- ries. The systems you remember so fondly (TOPS-20, ITS, Multics,
- Lisp Machine, Cedar/Mesa, the Dorado) are not just out to pasture,
- they are fertilizing it from below.
- Your judgments are not keen, they are intoxicated by metaphor. In
- the Preface you suffer first from heat, lice, and malnourishment, then
- become prisoners in a Gulag. In Chapter 1 you are in turn infected by
- a virus, racked by drug addiction, and addled by puffiness of the
- Yet your prison without coherent design continues to imprison you.
- How can this be, if it has no strong places? The rational prisoner
- exploits the weak places, creates order from chaos: instead, collec-
- tives like the FSF vindicate their jailers by building cells almost compatible with the existing ones, albeit with more features. The
- journalist with three undergraduate degrees from MIT, the researcher
- at Microsoft, and the senior scientist at Apple might volunteer a few
- words about the regulations of the prisons to which they have been
- Your sense of the possible is in no sense pure: sometimes you want
- the same thing you have, but wish you had done it yourselves; other
- times you want something different, but can't seem to get people to
- use it; sometimes one wonders why you just don't shut up and tell
- people to buy a PC with Windows or a Mac. No Gulag or lice, just a
- future whose intellectual tone and interaction style is set by Sonic the
- Hedgehog. You claim to seek progress, but you succeed mainly in
- Here is my metaphor: your book is a pudding stuffed with apposite
- observations, many well-conceived. Like excrement, it contains
- enough undigested nuggets of nutrition to sustain life for some. But
- it is not a tasty pie: it reeks too much of contempt and of envy.
- Bon appetit!
- [And the cartoon that went along with it http://www.art.net/~hopkins/Don/unix-haters/DennisRitchie.gif]
Anti-foreword by DMR for the Unix haters handbook.
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