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How Unix geeks get things done

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Productivity goddess Gina Trapani from Lifehacker has been studying the Unix Philosophy and applying it to personal productivity. I think it’s an unusual idea, especially considering that, as the old saying goes, “philosophy is to real life as masturbation is to sex.” If you’re familiar with Linux or Unix you know what I mean.

Let’s think of these points as applying to the practice of NLP, though, and see where it takes us:

  • Write simple parts connected by clean interfaces. (Rule of Modularity)
  • Clarity is better than cleverness. (Rule of Clarity)
  • Fold knowledge into data so program logic can be stupid and robust. (Rule of Representation)
  • When you must fail, fail noisily and as soon as possible. (Rule of Repair)
  • Programmer time is expensive; conserve it in preference to machine time. (Rule of Economy)
  • Prototype before polishing. Get it working before you optimize it. (Rule of Optimization)
  • Design for the future, because it will be here sooner than you think. (Rule of Extensibility)

What do you think?

Go read the full article: Applying Unix Philosophy to Personal Productivity

Written by Michael DeBusk

February 16th, 2008 at 10:17 pm

2 Responses to 'How Unix geeks get things done'

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  1. Interesting… I’m doing more and more PHP programming, along with a bit of javascript and AJAX… I even wrote my first bash script the other week… and I find that I tend toward these principles without formally knowing them

    As guidelines for NLP they make pure commonsense. A clever model is no use if it cannot be installed… we need clarity


    17 Mar 08 at 08:16

  2. I’ve been itching to get back into programming, too. My time with Linux, the freedom and flexibility that Linux offers, makes me want more. I have to wonder what passes for programming in Windows environments, and how that shapes the way a NLPer might design an intervention.

    Michael DeBusk

    23 Mar 08 at 15:28

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