Re: [dev] (academic) reading suggestions associated to the minimalist/suckless design philosophy?

From: Patrick Bucher <>
Date: Sun, 1 Jul 2018 09:56:05 +0200

On Fri, Jun 29, 2018 at 11:42:36AM +0200, Jens Staal wrote:

> Dear all,
> Do you have any reading suggestions (preferably academic papers, but
> books might also work) in alignment with the "suckless philosophy" (or
> "minimalism").

Paul Graham: Taste for Makers ( --
an essay about good design.

Felix von Leitner: Writing Small And Fast Software
( -- slides for his talk where he
introduces his lobowfat. The emphasis is on small software, but also on
API design.

In general, I suggest you browse through Dijkstra's writings:

> It does not have to be specifically programming, it could also be
> engineering and design in general (art might be a stretch, but if you
> know some good litterature in that field I am open to that too).

In literature, ńĆechov was the ultimate champion of simplicity:

> On Sept. 3, 1899, Chekhov gave his most prescriptive advice to Gorki,
> a tip that influenced many 20th century writers like George Orwell and
> teachers of the craft such as Strunk and White.
> "Here is more advice; when you read proof, [galley proofs publishers
> provide authors for corrections, deletions and other changes] take out
> adjectives and adverbs whenever you can. You use so many of them that
> the reader finds it hard to concentrate and he gets tired. You
> understand what I mean when I say, 'The man sat on the grass.' You
> understand because the sentence is clear and there is nothing to
> distract your attention. Conversely, the brain has trouble
> understanding me if I say, 'A tall, narrow-chested man of medium
> height with a red beard sat on green grass trampled by passers-by, sat
> mutely, looking about timidly and fearfully.' This doesn't get its
> meaning through to the brain immediately, which is what good writing
> must do, and fast."

In music, take Bach's E-Major Fugue from the second volume of the Well
Tempered Clavier. Here's Glenn Gould's commented interpretation:

This is just a random collection of things that spontaneously came to my
mind on a sunday morning.

Received on Sun Jul 01 2018 - 09:56:05 CEST

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