AT&T Archives: The Unix Operating System: take away

In this video ( , watching the commands is still like looking at an art, as if the discovery of Unix is just happening for me.

Today’s shell commands with apparently bloated options, definitely no more are orthogonal by comparison with original design, though much better still in comparison with say powershell (not used much. so please excuse & correct. Note it is about user interaction, not the capability). The evolution, need, demand for more power ( what else ? ) slowly made perceiving the real beauty difficult.

Just a take away for me:

  • Any DSL should be easy, orthogonal in its vocabulary and if possible consistent with philosophy in case somebody can think even deep, like with English (I am familiar with it. Definitely many like Russian may be equally potential.) where the discoveries are interesting (for me) at least ( Common synonyms/meanings for more than one word ).

  • If required start another DSL’s design but not make the actual one loose its crafted mesmerism in case harmony can not be maintained when expanding.

  • Should also see if there is a way to fuse a little art element. For example, Plan 9 file system with its examples is really an art for me. The meaning for different combinations with DSL elements when designed carefully has lot of art potential, especially those edge cases or invalid combinations according to grammar can be potential places to fuse such things.

Btw, I think C is a combination of two languages, which have not augured / harmonized well: c & preprocessor.

So achieving this kind of harmony can be one of the accurately quantize-able measures of the DSL’s design. But if it is difficult, we can leave it as long as the DSL is a hit.


If you found the Unix approach of composition of systems via pipes amazing you may find my article about flow design interesting:
The approach utilizes the concept of Unix pipes and brings it into a programming paradigma usable in every procedural language. This article show on a example on how the approach may be applied to Java and an outlook for appropriate DSL.
I’m currently working on this DSL which may be extended to a turing complete language both providing a language concept for this paradigma.


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Thanks for the reply and sharing the links. I have looked at the example part and it immediately triggered a thought which I have put as a post on this forum itself:

I have not studied the material given yet completely but hopeful to come back again to refer in future for I do see some resemblance.