Harley Hahn Quotations

Main page


Harley Hahn
Home Page

About Harley

Harley Hahn's
Usenet Center

Free Newsletter

Send a Message
to Harley

Harley Hahn's
Internet Yellow

Search Web Site

FAQ  |  Site Map

Quotes from
The Unix Companion (1995)

Page xxvii:
Unix is not like other computer systems. There is a feeling of elegance and charm that hides behind every esoteric command and within every technical rule.

Page xxviii:
In retrospect, we can see that the ideas within Unix served as the basis of modern operating system design. Still, I suspect that the original Unix programmers did not fully understand the significance of what they had invented; for Unix is nothing less than a way of thinking: a modern implementation of the nucleus of human creativity.

Page xxviii:
Live with Unix long enough and you will change. You will become more creative, and you will come to understand the spirit of creation in others.

Page xxviii:
More than any other computer system today, Unix will repay every moment that you spend learning and experimenting.

Page xxviii:
I am sure that no one ever decides to learn Unix just to experience beauty. We choose to use Unix for practical reasons: to do our work (or to play the games). But the wonderful thing is that the beauty comes by itself.

Page 2:
Unix today is nothing less than a worldwide culture, comprising many tools, ideas and customs.

Page 5:
It is impossible to learn everything about Unix. Concentrate on what you need and what you think you will enjoy.

Page 6:
Unix was not designed to be learned; Unix was designed to be used. In other words, it can be confusing and time-consuming to learn Unix. However, once you have mastered the skills you need, for whatever work you want to do, working with Unix is fast and easy.

Page 6:
Unix is easy to use, but difficult to learn.

Page 12:
Unix is a set of tools for smart people.

Page 20:
Unix system programmers will often talk about the connection between a client program and a server as the "client-server relationship". (Indeed, for many programmers, this is the most enduring relationship they have ever had.)

Page 30:
Leaving a terminal logged in is like leaving your car unlocked with the keys in the ignition.

Page 37:
A cracker is someone you would not want your sister to marry. A hacker in the family would be okay: it's just that everyone would receive their wedding invitations by electronic mail. (And, at the reception, the wedding cake would have computerized sensors connected to the Internet, so that friends from all over the world could use the finger command to determine how much cake remains at any given time.)

Page 38:
Be sure that, in the excitement of creating a totally rad password, you resist the temptation to tell someone just to show off how smart you are.

Page 41:
Two of the most important Unix traditions are to share and to help people.

Page 116:
There are some [online manual] descriptions that you will probably never understand completely. If you become frustrated, remind yourself that the people who do understand everything are less attractive and less socially proficient than you.

Page 130:
Once you get used to Unix, you will understand the mysterious feeling people have for the shell. You can't see it or touch it, but it is always there, ready to serve you by interpreting your commands and running your programs and scripts. (If you are a pantheist, all of this will make perfect sense.)

Page 214:
We sometimes use the word "finger" as a verb, meaning to use the finger program to check out someone. For example, you might say to someone you meet at a dance, "If you forget my home phone number, just finger me." (Yes, Unix people really do talk like this.)

Page 356:
Part of the charm of Unix is, all of a sudden, having a great insight and saying to yourself, "So THAT's why they did it that way."

Page 461:
Tools that are simple enough to use the first day are often a real pain after the first month.

Page 491:
For some people, emacs is a way of life, like religion or football.

Page 491:
If you want to master emacs, it helps to believe in reincarnation, because there is no way you are going to learn it all in a single lifetime.

Page 498:
emacs is not for weenies... Learning emacs will make permanent, irreversible changes to your brain cells.

Page 594:
You will find that the Unix file system has a compelling beauty: everything makes sense.

Page 687:
Unix has traditionally attracted the most talented computer users and programmers, for whom working on Unix was a labor of love. One reason Unix is so wonderful is that most of it was designed before the men in suits sat up and took notice. Perhaps you have wondered why Unix works so well and why it is so elegant: it is because the basic Unix philosophy was developed long before the business and marketing people started to make money from it.