[TUHS] man-page style
gtaylor at tnetconsulting.net
Sun Dec 2 07:34:43 AEST 2018
On 12/1/18 1:52 PM, Norman Wilson wrote:
> Bill's half right. I didn't invent a language; I used what was there.
Can I ask what language you did use? Was it m4 or something else?
> I decided that the best way to deal with Sendmail's own configuration
> language was to treat it as I would the assembly language for a
> specialized, irregularly-designed microprocessor:
> 1. Understand as well as possible what the instructions actually do;
> 2. Write the simplest possible program that will get the job done;
> 3. Avoid extra layers of macros and so on that hide the details, because
> that also hides the irregularities and makes it harder to understand
> and debug;
> 4. By the same reason, don't just copy someone else's program that does
> something complicated; write your own and do things simply.
> Sendmail has plenty of design flaws (not just in the language), as
> I'm sure Eric will acknowledge; but I think the biggest problem people
> have had with it that most people copied the rather-complicated sample
> configuration files shipped with the source rather than just reading
> the manual, doing a few experiments to understand the behaviour, and
> writing something simple.
I see the same lack of understanding in a lot of things.
> On the other hand, I've never quite understood why so many people
> treat device drivers as scary and untouchable, copying an existing one
> and hacking it until it seems to work rather than understanding what
> the device actually does and writing a simple program to control it.
> So perhaps my brain just doesn't work normally.
For me, I don't know where to get good documentation of what the device
actually does and how to make it do it. I also don't have a good (read:
any) understanding of the OS / kernels that I'd connect the device to.
So, writing software to connect the device (I don't fully comprehend) to
the OS / kernel (that I don't fully comprehend) in a language (that I'm
not fluent in) is an uphill battle for me. I have great respect and
gratitude for the people that do write device drivers.
I don't create the Lego bricks. But I do try to build interesting and
useful things out of the Lego bricks that others have built.
Grant. . . .
unix || die
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