Ask ken

Guess who is participating in ‘Ask a Google engineer’? Ken Thompson, father of Unix and Plan 9. (You will need a fully-enabled Web 2.0 browser to even load that page, haha!)

Now it is your opportunity to ask Ken which is his favorite fighter jet plane or what did he feed Glenda; but be warned that the obvious questions, like “Whats the use of Rails framework, if we can’t compensate the faster development in Rails by hardware cost ?” have already been asked, so hurry before somebody aks how to best take advantage of Java’s great innovations like Garbage Collection!

Best answer so far:

Q: You once said : “The X server has to be the biggest program I’ve ever seen that doesn’t do anything for you.”. Could you elaborate ? Do you imply that graphical servers allowed non-professionals to deal with computers and that it turned harmful ?

A: I was caught saying this when I first subjected my infant C compiler to the X source. I was trying to debug my compiler by pawing through endless layers of conversion, reformating, copying, etc. I couldn’t find any code that did any work.

I now realize that X was just miles ahead in it’s programming style.

So, has Plan 9 programming style caught up with X yet?


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