Monday, September 27

Burn the disk packs!*

Buried in Adam Rifkin's post on the Google Labs Aptitude Test is a request that I answer the one of the test's questions:

5. What's broken with Unix?

How would you fix it?

I think it was unwise of Adam to ask for my response to this question — after all, the name for this blog was originally supposed to have been Don't Get Me Started (turns out that had already been taken, several times). It's pretty difficult to take this question seriously, though, so the danger isn't all that great. And to be fair to the author of the GLAT, it's fairly clear that this question isn't meant any more seriously than the rest of the "test".

For Adam's pleasure I could try to answer the question, but to keep the answer's length reasonable I'd have to choose between Unix the thing and Unix the idea. Even that's not a clear distinction.

So, unless something else compels me, I won't answer, except with a parable. Uh, not actually a parable, but more like a rave. Not my rave but one I once heard. Uh not really the one that I heard, really my version of what I heard. At least I think I heard it. OK. Somebody (John Wharton?) explaining why he hated Intel's processor:

No, I won't use the freaking Pentium 4, 'cause inside a Pentium 4 is a Pentium III, and inside that is a Pentium II, and inside that is a freaking Pentium nothing, and it doesn't stop there. No, inside a Pentium is a 80486 which I won't use because inside that is a freaking 386, and inside that is a 80286. You know, of course, that inside the 286 is an 80186 and inside that is the freaked freaking 8086 which has an 8085 inside, and inside of that is an 8080, and as we all know, inside that is an 8008 and inside that is a 4040 and inside that is the freaking 4004 and inside that is a freaking japanese freaking calculator

Since I heard the original version in the mid-80's, the rave presumably started from the 386. And, of course, the speaker didn't actually say "freaking".

[*] Stoney again, I think; but Alan claims the slogan too.


Rabbi Jonathan B. Freirich said...


How does this differ with other questions, like, say:

"What is the problem with Windows and how would you fix it?"


"What is the problem with an internal combustion engine and how would you fix it?"

The problem with technology in general is that usually we are too lazy to go back to the drawing board and start over, IMHO.

ifindkarma said...

This wasn't the answer I was expecting.

This was much, much better than the answer I was expecting.

As they say on eBay, A++++. :)