[TUHS] long lived programs

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Fri Apr 6 07:23:59 AEST 2018

On Thu, Apr 5, 2018 at 5:03 PM, Norman Wilson <norman at oclsc.org> wrote:

> Sometimes the verification program just needs to be fixed.
> And sometimes the developers that seem set on doing the wrong
> thing really want help in subverting whatever is forcing that
> on them, because they really do know what the right thing is.
​I like to refer to this as acting intelligently.  And think a little about
why an earlier implementation had a particular artifact. It is amazing how
people can blindly follow ​

​something because it has been that way.   Not that you change things
willy-nilly (aka Henry's Spencer's wonderful line:  "4.2 BSD is just like
Unix ..... only different."

Two favorite examples are <CR><LF> and case folding.

Both are historical artifacts which made sense in an older age, but
hardware outgrew then.   Steve discussed the <CR><LF> stuff a few week ago,
so I'll not repeat; but it was always amazing to me that it got codified
forever, in the 'text' file idea in things like the C standard -- how
completely silly and what a waste of resources and engineering effort over
the years.

Case folding I find funnier however. Back in the days of 5 and 6 bit codes,
particularly when file names were stored in things like rad50 it made
perfect sense.   The basic character code did not handle upper and lower
well, and many keyboards were only one case anyway.   But by the time of
the 8 bit byte, CP/M and it's child DOS, blindly follow along.  Instead of
thinking why it was done and since we have a new file system format and
thinking -- hmmm maybe we don't need to have the same limitation.

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