Subject: Re: Kernel config file
To: der Mouse <mouse@Rodents.Montreal.QC.CA>
From: Johnny Billquist <>
List: tech-kern
Date: 06/19/2007 11:09:03
Well, that pretty much summed it up for me. Thanks, Mouse.

I could possibly add that people in the past didn't normally think using 
lex and yacc was such a difficult task. Maybe times are changing.
But I guess I'm throwing wood on the fire now. :-)
But hey! I was just being accused of being a bit luddite...


der Mouse skrev:
>> As to your comments about not having to use tools, well we always use
>> tools now.  We just use ones named "vi" or "emacs" (or "ed" for the
>> truly insane).  Needing to use different ones doesn't seem like that
>> big a deal.
> You clearly have never stumbled into the middle of an editor
> religious-war flamefest.
> It actually *is* a big deal, though, because no one tool is going to be
> appropriate for all tasks.  That's why we still ship with two editors
> and people commonly install any of numerous others.  No matter what
> plist editor you build, it will be a Wrong Thing for at least some
> important cases.  The best I can think of, actually, is a tool which
> converts between XML and some human-comprehensible format in both
> directions, with a run of $EDITOR on a temporary file in between.
>> As to "what's so cool about XML," people have said it but you didn't
>> hear them.  There are a few reasons, but the big one for me is that
>> we end up with multi-stage parsers.  The first stage understands the
>> XML, and the second stage or layer understands what the XML is
>> describing.
> This to me is actually one of the biggest reasons to *avoid* XML: it is
> turning the human/computer relationship upside down.  Computers should
> do the drudgework so as to make humans' lives easier.  Switching to a
> language that makes humans' lives harder simply because it makes
> parsing easier is...backwards.
> Of course, you may disagree with one or more of the bases that argument
> rests on.  But I think that if you grant the bases, the conclusion is
> more or less inevitable.
>> One advantage is that we can future-proof tools.  If a tool looks for
>> a certain object hierarchy in a file, as long as it's there, it
>> works.  So we can add extra elements over time that older tools can
>> safely ignore.
> This is not so much an argument for XML per se as it is an argument for
> well-thought-out and extensible configuration languages.  XML may be
> one such, but it is not the only one, and quite possibly not the best.
> Not that I maintain it is - or isn't - the best such.  I've been
> staying out of *that* question and I intend to continue to do so.
> /~\ The ASCII				der Mouse
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