On Mon, Jul 18, 2011 at 6:08 PM, Steve Fabian <> wrote:
> Charles Dye wrote:
> | Unix programmers could definitely learn something
> | from Rex.)
> But they won't. They think documentation is for morons, and they *aren't.
> Future generations? They should learn by experimentation! After all, their
> time is free...
Nope. In some respects, Unix suffers from its origins. It was
written by programmers, for programmers. Unix was originally
developed by programmers who wanted a better environment for doing
software development than the one provided by the OS of the Digital
Equipment Corp. mini-computer they used. They had a spare machine
which could be a blank slate, and they could start from scratch.
And because Unix was designed for software development, and the start
of all software was an ASCII text file containing source code, Unix
developed a lot of tools for ricing, slicing, and dicing text files.
In the early days, Unix was a multi-user system, accessed by dumb
terminals which were hard wired to a host or connected via a modem,
and you learned Unix and the tools from other users at the site where
you used Unix. The assumption was that you had a guru on site to
answer the questions and provide the background knowledge, and back
then, you did.
Unix documentation is generally good, but it's a *reference*, not a
*tutorial*. If you don't know enough to *understand* the reference,
then you *need* a tutorial, but Unix documentation is not where you go
to find it. That's not what it's for. There is a plethora of
tutorial material for Unix. It's available and easy to find.
And programmers are generally the *last* people who should write
documentation. Their skill is writing the code, not explaining how to
use it, and PC software has suffered the curse of programmer written
documentation for as long as there have been PCs. The programmers who
can write good code and good docs are few and far between. Most
programmers can write good code in their sleep, but can't write good
*prose* to save their lives.