Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

01 Feb 2011, 7:47 a.m.

When Am I Ever Going To Have To Use This?

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2011 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Yesterday, while negotiating with potential clients, I used:

  • You know, standard reading, writing, and interpersonal speaking skills (many courses, school newspaper, speech & debate, Academic Decathlon)
  • Basic algebra to work out some price quotes (elementary school math classes)
  • US and world geography (K-12, history classes)
  • The wheelbarrow anecdote from Benjamin Franklin's autobiography to make a point about open source contributions as a marketing tool (eleventh grade American Literature)
  • Political science concepts of authority and legitimacy, in determining a client's needs regarding open source leadership (college)
  • Knowledge of Unix-style design (started in college, especially at the Open Computing Facility)
  • The innovation S-curve, and cautionary tales of platforms that never got uptake from customers and vendors (master's in tech management)

All that school comes in handy sometimes!


01 Feb 2011, 9:22 a.m.

I am so smart. I am so smart. S M R T! I mean S M A R T.

02 Feb 2011, 1:31 a.m.

Googling around to try and figure out what "Unix-style design" is.

1st hit tells me that microkernels are attractive "compared to monolithic UNIX-style design". <br/>2nd hit tells me about "small, fast programs that are suitable for Unix-style design (forks, pipes, etc)". <br/>3rd hit tells me it's something to do with security: "In the classic (unix-style) design, a properly configured system (1 process ID per website) can be quite secure." <br/>Hits 8 and 9 are content aggregators that picked up this blog post; hit 10 is this blog post. Remember when it used to take a few days for Google to index stuff?

02 Feb 2011, 7:34 a.m.

Avram, I do remember those days! I wonder whether Google's web history feature has disproportionately pushed results from my blog up in your search results, though.

My sense of Unix-style design, as I meant it above, is fairly close to the meaning in the second hit you mention, and pretty well summarized in Eric Raymond's "Basics of the Unix Philosophy" in The Art of Unix Programming (which I have not read).