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"Reading this book has filled a gap in my education. I feel a sense of completion, understand that UNIX is really a style of community. Now I get it, at least I get it one level deeper than I ever did before. This book came at a perfect moment for me, a moment when I shifted from visualizing programs as things to programs as the shadows cast by communities. From this perspective, Eric makes UNIX make perfect sense."
--Kent Beck, author of Extreme Programming Explained, Test Driven Development, and Contributing to Eclipse
"A delightful, fascinating read, and the lessons in problem-solvng are essential to every programmer, on any OS."
--Bruce Eckel, author of Thinking in Java and Thinking in C++
Writing better software: 30 years of UNIX development wisdom
In this book, five years in the making, the author encapsulates three decades of unwritten, hard-won software engineering wisdom. Raymond brings together for the first time the philosophy, design patterns, tools, culture, and traditions that make UNIX home to the world's best and most innovative software, and shows how these are carried forward in Linux and today's open-source movement. Using examples from leading open-source projects, he shows UNIX and Linux programmers how to apply this wisdom in building software that's more elegant, more portable, more reusable, and longer-lived.
Raymond incorporates commentary from thirteen UNIX pioneers:
I. CONTEXT.1. Philosophy.
Culture? What culture?
The durability of Unix.
The case against learning Unix culture.
What Unix gets wrong.
What Unix gets right.
Basics of the Unix philosophy.The Unix philosophy in one lesson.
Applying the Unix philosophy.
Attitude matters too.2. History.
Origins and history of Unix, 1969-1995.
Origins and history of the hackers, 1961-1995.
The open-source movement: 1998 and onward.
The lessons of Unix history.3. Contrasts.
The elements of operating-system style.
What goes around, comes around.
II. DESIGN.4. Modularity.
Encapsulation and optimal module size.
Compactness and orthogonality.
Unix and object-oriented languages.
Coding for modularity.5. Textuality.
The Importance of Being Textual.
Data file metaformats.
Application protocol design.
Application protocol metaformats.6. Transparency.
Some case studies.
Designing for transparency and discoverability.
Designing for maintainability.7. Multiprogramming.
Separating complexity control from performance tuning.
Taxonomy of Unix IPC methods.
Problems and methods to avoid.
Process partitioning at the design level.8. Minilanguages.
Taxonomy of languages.
Designing minilanguages.9. Transformation.
Ad-hoc code generation.10. Configuration.
What should be configurable?
Where configurations live.
How to choose among configuration-setting methods.
On breaking these rules.11. Interfaces.
Applying the Rule of Least Surprise.
History of interface design on Unix.
Evaluating interface designs.
Tradeoffs between CLI and visual interfaces.
Transparency, expressiveness, and configurability.
Unix interface design patterns.
Applying Unix interface-design patterns.
The Web browser as universal front end.
Silence is golden.12. Optimization.
Don't just do something, stand there!
Measure before optimizing.
Non-locality considered harmful.
Throughput vs. latency.13. Complexity.
Speaking of complexity.
A Tale of Five Editors.
The right size for an editor.
The right size of software.
III. IMPLEMENTATION.14. Languages.
Unix's Cornucopia of Languages.
Why Not C?
Interpreted Languages and Mixed Strategies.
Trends for the Future.
Choosing an X toolkit.15. Tools.
A developer-friendly operating system.
Choosing an editor.
Special-purpose code generators.
Make in non-C/C++ Development.
Emacs as the universal front end.16. Re-Use.
The tale of J. Random Newbie.
Transparency as the key to re-use.
From re-use to open source.
The best things in life are open.
Where should I look?
What are the issues in using open-source software?
Evolution of C.
Specifications as DNA, code as RNA.
Programming for Portability.
Portability, open standards and open source.18. Documentation.
The Unix style.
The zoo of Unix documentation formats.
The present chaos and a possible way out.
The DocBook toolchain.
How to write Unix documentation.19. Open Source.
Unix and open source.
Best practices for working with open-source developers.
The logic of licenses: how to pick one.
Why you should use a standard license.
Varieties of Open-Source Licensing.20. Futures.
Essence and accident in Unix tradition.
Problems in the design of Unix.
Problems in the environment of Unix.
Problems in the culture of Unix.
Reasons to believe.A. Glossary of Abbreviations.