[TUHS] more about Brian...

Rich Morin rdm at cfcl.com
Thu Feb 3 15:47:52 AEST 2022

> On Feb 1, 2022, at 23:47, arnold at skeeve.com wrote:
> ... in general, I think the principle of "ANYTHING written by Brian
> Kernighan is worth reading, at least once" applies, ...

I've been having a good time watching YouTube videos that have Brian either interviewing or being interviewed by assorted folks.  My favorite one, so far, is this "fireside chat":

	VCF East 2019 -- Brian Kernighan interviews Ken Thompson

In any case, the K&P book I'd _really_ like to see brought up to date is "The Elements of Programming Style".  It could have been subtitled "How to write small, simple programs that work."  It's still a very fine book, but I'm not sure that the current crop of beginning programmers would be patient enough to deal with the sadly dated example code.

If you're still here, I'll give you a vignette from many years ago.  My spouse and I were both early fans of AWK, having been introduced to it around 1983 by our friend Jim Joyce.  Indeed, she used AWK to process line printer plot files (dendograms, for the curious) into a format that my homegrown SunCore interpreter could render for screen display and printing on our dot matrix printer.  Some of them ended up in her Master's Thesis...

Anyway, we traveled with Jim to Copenhagen for a EurOpen conference.  At the closing banquet, I got to an empty table before anyone else and tossed down a "no smoking" placard.  Vicki and I then sat down.  Shortly thereafter, Brian walked past and saw the placard.

	Brian:  "Is this a non-smoking table?"
	Us: "It is now. (:-)"

So, he sat down and we had a chance to dine with a personal hero (and all-around nice guy). The next day, we got on a train to Stockholm, on our way to Helsinki (to teach a Unix Intro course with Jim).  Our four-person compartment turned out to include Brian, Vicki, me, and a long-suffering European businessman.  IIRC, we pestered Brian for hours about AWK, Bell Labs, and so forth.  He was unfailingly gracious and a wonderful person to spend the trip with.


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