Re: [dev] Conversation with Anselm R. Garbe of

From: Uriel <>
Date: Wed, 16 Sep 2009 06:35:32 +0200

On Wed, Sep 16, 2009 at 3:40 AM, Jack Woehr <> wrote:
> Look at the great ideologues of the recent decades. Richard M. Stallman,
> lop, lop, lop. Theo DeRaadt,
> lop, lop, lop. I love and respect these guys but when you bow down to an
> absolute ideology, you
> have to sacrifice a lot. The strength of the ideological approach is that
> you know in advance how to
> do anything. The weakness is that reality Is Not Completely Like You Think
> and Compromises Must
> Be Made. Just think back on the flame wars you've read on the net around the
> Great Ideologues.
> Anselm is a Little Ideologue and he has Enough Sense of Humor and Humility
> to succeed very nicely
> despite the dangers of Ideology and the flames and wasteful splurges of
> human effort Ideology can
> sometimes give birth to.

Anselm's ideology shifts a few light years randomly every nanosecond,
as for humility, when I first joined #wmi I was mocked and ridiculed
when I told him OO was a really stupid idea that made his stupid
little project a billion times more complex than it needed to be. It
was not until I beat him up for months about it that he started to
change his ways.

But one has to admire and respect Anselm for (at least) one reason:
even if at first he always refuses to admit he could ever be wrong,
and clings to ever more absurd rationalizations to justify his
position, this often turns out to be just a front to save face, and
unlike almost anyone else in the software industry, he is actually
*listenting* and he proceeds to actually test the ideas that one
suggests him, and in the face of the results changes his views and

This is something the rest of the software industry seems totally
incapable of: learning from their mistakes, and Anselm not only
learns, but does put what he has learned in practice. He often goes
and takes the lesson too far, missing where compromise and subtle
tradeoffs are, but in a way taking what he has just learned as far as
it can go is also a good exercise, and much better than what most
people do which is clinging as closely as possible to what they know
and are familiar with.



P.S.: And Jack, for the love of ken, stop sending HTML email to this
list and start to format text properly! Before it drives me to take a
copy of PoSix, run to the nearest crowded shopping mall and start
crushing people's craniums with it. Thanks.

> And suckless-ism is scientifically valid, I believe, for the small project.
> I think it runs into trouble on the
> very large project. I think that because we had a lot of the same attitudes
> in the Forth community and
> the result of this kind of terse, highly technical code written in a highly
> personal style out of conformance
> with what the masses understand an expect, you create interface problems on
> a large team.
> And despite our hubris, we Forthers back in the 1980's, our belief that
> three or four of us could rewrite
> the Universe (some went as far as to implement TCP/IP stacks, etc., in pure
> Forth), there are Really Some
> Projects that are Inherently Large and require Lots of Programmers. Then
> sacrifices in purity of style
> must be made in the interests of the Greatest Common Denominator.
> Just my silly thoughts.
> --
> Jack J. Woehr            # «'I know what "it" means well enough, when I find
> # a thing,' said the Duck: 'it's generally a frog
> or
> # a worm.'» - Lewis Carroll, _Alice in Wonderland_
Received on Wed Sep 16 2009 - 04:35:32 UTC

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