4.0203 Programming Macs, PCs, Unix (1/47)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Tue, 19 Jun 90 15:53:58 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 0203. Tuesday, 19 Jun 1990.

Date: Mon, 18 Jun 90 20:06:54 CDT
From: Richard Goerwitz <goer@sophist.uchicago.edu>
Subject: GUIs and lunar lander games gotten out of control

I quote:

Further to Goerwitz's remarks concerning the relative difficulty of
programming a Mac compared to a PC. It is facile and misleading to say
that it is easier to write programs for the PC than for the Mac. What
sort of programs?

A good question. Each computer is good at a specific range of tasks.
I admit that it's easier to put a lot of cute windows into a Mac pro-
gram than into something designed for a vanilla PC. If I didn't make
this clear, then let me reinforce it now: The Mac has a nice user in-
terface, and some nice tools to back it up. We here at the University
of Chicago are pretty much a Mac/Sun institution, with Macs being the
machine of choice for naive users. There's nothing wrong with the Mac.

Sure, if you want ot write a simple one-off utility for your own use this
is probably correct...

You are now beginning to become somewhat misleading yourself :-). Just
because a program doesn't have lots of pop-up windows and "fancy" fonts
doesn't mean that it is a simple one-off utility. Do you know what lex
or yacc are? Have you ever used a regex library? Let's be serious now.
Extremely powerful and useful software exists which assumes very little
in the way of a graphical user interface. Let's not give people who don't
write their own software that the Mac is better than "the PC" (i.e. an
ISA machine running MS-DOS) for everything but "simple one-off utilities."

Disclaimer: I emphasize that there are many, many good points to the Mac.
The reason I make these sorts of postings regarding both it and its com-
petitors is to encourage people to think of their computers more as com-
modities than as children, husbands, or wives. All too often I see peo-
ple who make major commitments of both time and money to a machine and/or
operating environment get kind of feverish about defending it. It's a
natural tendency, I'll admit. The fact that it's natural, though,
doesn't make it very smart.

If someone wants to take me to task, don't write in about how I've over-
looked this or that feature or convenience of your pet GUI or OS. Take
me to task about all my snide remarks about leaving the Macs and PCs for
my four year-old to play with, and tell me how my favored Unix environ-
ment is hardly more than a lunar lander game gotten out of control....

-Richard L. Goerwitz goer%sophist@uchicago.bitnet
goer@sophist.uchicago.edu rutgers!oddjob!gide!sophist!goer