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Re: Something is very wrong with this group

On Mon, Mar 02, 1998 at 12:05:06PM -0000, bruce@va.debian.org wrote:
> From: Tyson Dowd <trd@stimpy.cs.mu.oz.au>
> > And the big problem is, many hackers _love_ word games. Asking hackers
> > to names something is probably both the best and worst thing you can do.
> It's sure something I won't do again. The perception of Unix has been hurt
> by these word-games. Perhaps some of the foreign-language speakers don't
> understand the pun behind it, which refers to castration. No marketing
> person was within a mile of the guys who picked that name. Names like
> "cat" and "grep" are given as a classic example of poor design. They can
> be understood in the context in which these decisions were made: Unix was
> not intended to be used by anyone but computer science researchers. Had
> those researchers expected its success, they would have done things
> differently.

But, Bruce, those names have also some charm hidden in them. There is a good
reason for all those strange names - there are a lot more tools in Unix than
in DOS, and there are lots of editors, pagers, word processors and ways to
do one and the not so same thing. They can't all have the obvious names
"EDIT", "TYPE", "WORD" etc. And I'm very happy with "cp" and "ls", they are
much shorter then "COPY" and "DIR" and easier to type.

I like "cat", too. It is an abbrev of concatenate, just to show you that I
know it, and I'm no foreign english speaker. You can use the tools without
understanding the name. And the understanding comes later. I see no problem
there. Most people with point-and-click-syndrom won't use this tools anyway.

Perhaps "cat" is more a problem for a native english speaker than for a
non-native english speaker, as it has no meaning by itself in other
languages (well, at least in German). Maybe some marketing strateges have
lots of reason why Unix is poor designed from their POV. But I like it. Many
people like it. I think you overstate this a bit.

OTOH, you are right that it does not hurt to care about this from now on (as
long as you don't want to change "cat" to "type" and "grep" to "search" ;).
Most of the names on the list were bad choosen (no offense, but it reminded
me a bit of the "logo contest"). But I have no better name. And "trove"
sounds nice but has the same problem as all the other suggestions, abbrev.,
acronyms, standard unix commands, etc... it is not in my dictionary ;)

PS: On a Windoze machine, the name would be "setup" or "install". We already
have install. How about "setup", if you have a favour for marketing
strateges doing computer work :)

"Rhubarb is no Egyptian god."        Debian GNU/Linux        finger brinkmd@ 
Marcus Brinkmann                   http://www.debian.org    master.debian.org
Marcus.Brinkmann@ruhr-uni-bochum.de                        for public  PGP Key
http://homepage.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/Marcus.Brinkmann/       PGP Key ID 36E7CD09

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