Carriage Returns in files after copying

Stephen L Arnold sarnold at
Sun Aug 8 00:22:15 GMT 1999

On 8 Aug 99, "Dr Hugh Nelson" <hughnelson at> 
had this to say about Re: Carriage Returns in files after copying:  

> All Windoze machines have Wordpad.  This automatically adds CR 
> to LF as it opens a file.   Notepad doesn't do this.

I'm not sure I understand; are you saying I should let a brain-dead 
program decide for me whether a file should be one way or the other?

IMNSHO, both NotePad and WordPad are completely worthless (along 
with windoze, orifice, etc).  If someone works with both unix and 
dos text files (often source code), then they should know enough to 
use a tool that allows conversion *at the user's discrection* not 
without their consent.

Any competent text editor (vi, emacs, SlickEdit, Brief, PFE) will 
let you work with any file type, and in any format you want.  There 
are also utils to batch convert files back and forth.

The whole point is to know enough to use the right tool for the 
right job (I have no idea what job M$ was thinking about when they 
made WordPad), whether it's working with text files or designing 
and building critical real-time software.  And there is *way* too 
much variation in tool quality.

If there's one thing I've seen in my 20 years of computing 
experience (jr college, undergrad, grad school, 10 years of IV&V 
work, the last few years with linux/unix and windoze on my own) 
it's that most people's code sucks, certainly most commercial 
developers (and, I hate to say it, most science folks don't know 
diddly about software).  Even many of those who have a software 
engineering process on paper have still completely screwed-up the 
requirements, documentation, and what passes for a design.  The 
worst have no process, bad or no tools, and very little 
understanding of the way things really work.

Many people today still *write* code, they don't *design* software 
(and rarely do they use appropriate tools and materials).  For any 
significant piece of software, proper requirements analysis, 
design, and the right tools, are essential.  Imagine trying to 
build a house with a hammer that the head flies off every fourth 
swing, and every other nail does a 180 and buries itself in your 
knee...  Imagine using these tools to build a skyscraper and you 
begin to get the picture.

That's one of the amazing things about the GNU tools, Linux, and 
much of the accompanying software.  Even though much of it was not 
designed, ie, no formal methods, no OOAD or UML, etc, nor was it 
written in the only "safe" language, Ada95, but it's still of the 
highest quality (if you've never mis-handled exceptions in C++, 
then you might not appreciate that last part ;).  It's a shining 
triumph for Eric Raymond's favorite development model, Open Source 
(though I still like Richard Stallman's "free software" definition 
better) and The Cathedral & The Bazaar, as well as the quality of 
gcc and the accompanying GNU tools.  There are some very sound 
technical reasons why all the big commercial players are supporting 
linux; it's not just a current fad.

Sorry for the off-topic stuff again; I just got back from a 
software engineering conference this week (TOOLS USA '99 - see if you're interested in cutting edge OO stuff).

It was so cool, I can't even adequately describe just how cool it 
was 8-)  I got to see keynotes and go to intense tutorials with 
folks like David Parnas, Don Firesmith, Tucker Taft, Bertrand 
Meyer, and Brian Henderson-Sellers.  It was the ultimate crash-
course in cutting edge OO technology and applied research in the 

Distributed real-time object-oriented systems
Verification and Validation
Safety Critical Systems
Some of the latest "Patterns" stuff
Advanced UML stuff
Requirements engineering/analysis
cutting edge java, CORBA, COM/DCOM, C++, and Ada stuff
and, of course, Eiffel, and programming/design by contract, and 
SmallTalk, and even OO-Cobol.

I mean, we're talking about the guys who design advanced, human-
engineered programming languages, as well as the guys who invented 
all the OO design methodologies in use today.  I heard many 
extremely excellent talks (my favorites were the keynotes by Parnas 
and Tucker), went to two 4 hour tutorial sessions per day, and then 
strolled down the beach with them to a catered cook-out with salmon 
and draft Sierra Nevada (and some wine too).  That's geek heaven!

Actually, the strolling part was because the stupid shuttle bus 
didn't come until way late, and the beer/company was the best part 
;)  But Santa Barbara was sunny all week, and reasonably friendly.

Then I came back to the land of shitty, un-maintainable code, 
missing interface specs, meaningless testing, and all the other 
screwed-up stuff...

Gotta go (I hear the kids shooting some hoops)

Signing off from Steve's World (only slightly connected to reality)

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