[TUHS] non-blocking IO: Simplicity has been subtituted for efficiency

arnold at skeeve.com arnold at skeeve.com
Thu Jun 4 16:27:10 AEST 2020

John Gilmore <gnu at toad.com> wrote:

> I just happened to open a binder today of old papers about UNIX(tm),
> including Ken Thompson's "Unix Implementation" paper, which says at the
> bottom of the introduction:
>   "What is or is not implemented in the kernel represents both a great
>   responsibiity and a great power.  It is a soap-box platform on "the
>   way things should be done."  Even so, if "the way" is too radical, no
>   one will follow it.  Every important decision was weighted carefully.
>   Throughout, simplicity has been substituted for efficiency.  Complex
>   algorithms are used only if their complexity can be localized."

Words to live by.  I remember reading that paper early on in my
career and that this statement certainly influenced my subsequent
thinking about programming in general.


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