is laziness a programer's virtue?

Discussion in 'Java' started by Xah Lee, Apr 15, 2007.

  1. Xah Lee

    Xah Lee Guest

    Laziness, Perl, and Larry Wall

    Xah Lee, 20021124

    In the unix community there's quite a large confusion and wishful
    thinking about the word laziness. In this post, i'd like to make some
    clarifications.

    American Heritage Dictionary third edition defines laziness as:
    “Resistant to work or exertion; disposed to idleness.â€

    When the sorcerer Larry Wall said “The three chief virtues of a
    programmer are: Laziness, Impatience and Hubrisâ€, he used the word
    “laziness†to loosely imply “natural disposition that results in being
    economicâ€. As you can see now, “Resistant to work or exertion†is
    clearly not positive and not a virtue, but “natural disposition that
    results in economy†is a good thing if true.

    When Larry Wall said one of programer's virtue is laziness, he wants
    the unix morons to conjure up in their brains the following
    proposition as true: “Resistant to work or exertion is a natural human
    disposition and such disposition actually results behaviors being
    economicâ€. This statement may be true, which means that human laziness
    may be intuitively understood from evolution. However, this statement
    is a proposition on all human beings, and is not some “virtue†that
    can be applied to a group of people such as programers.

    Demagogue Larry Wall is smart in creating a confusion combined with
    wishful thinking. By making subtle statements like this, he semi-
    intentionally confuses average programers to think that it is OK to be
    not thorough, it is OK to be sloppy, it is OK to disparage computer
    science. (like the incompetent unixers and perlers are)

    Can you see the evil and its harm in not understanding things clearly?
    This laziness quote by Wall is a tremendous damage to the computing
    industry. It is a source among others that spurs much bad fashion
    trends and fuckups in the industry. It is more damaging than any
    single hack or virus. It is social brain-washing at work, like the
    diamond company De Beers' tremendously successful sales slogan: “A
    Diamond is Forever†or Apple's grammatically fantastic “Think
    Differentâ€.

    The most fundamental explanation of why Larry Wall's sophistry are
    damaging to society is simply this: What he said is not true and they
    are widely spread and conceived as worthwhile. This is a form of mis-
    information. This is a manifestation of Love without Knowledge as i
    expounded before, with subtle but disastrous consequences (already).

    [DISCLAIMER: all mentions of real persons are opinion only.]

    ----
    This post is archived at:
    http://xahlee.org/UnixResource_dir/writ/perl_laziness.html

    Xah

    ∑ http://xahlee.org/
     
    Xah Lee, Apr 15, 2007
    #1
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  2. Xah Lee

    Dan Bensen Guest

    Xah Lee wrote:
    > Laziness, Perl, and Larry Wall
    > When the sorcerer Larry Wall said “The three chief virtues of a
    > programmer are: Laziness, Impatience and Hubrisâ€, he used the word
    > “laziness†to loosely imply “natural disposition that results in being
    > economicâ€.


    Programming by definition is the process of automating repetitive
    actions to reduce the human effort required to perform them. A good
    programmer faced with a hard problem always looks for ways to make
    his|her job easier by delegating work to a computer. That's what Larry
    means. Automation is MUCH more effective than repetition.

    --
    Dan
    www.prairienet.org/~dsb/
     
    Dan Bensen, Apr 15, 2007
    #2
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  3. Xah Lee

    Daniel Gee Guest

    You fail to understand the difference between passive laziness and
    active laziness. Passive laziness is what most people have. It's
    active laziness that is the virtue. It's the desire to go out and /
    make sure/ that you can be lazy in the future by spending just a
    little time writing a script now. It's thinking about time
    economically and acting on it.
     
    Daniel Gee, Apr 15, 2007
    #3
  4. Xah Lee

    Kay Schluehr Guest

    On Apr 15, 6:25 pm, "Xah Lee" <> wrote:
    > Laziness, Perl, and Larry Wall
    >
    > Xah Lee, 20021124
    >
    > In the unix community there's quite a large confusion and wishful
    > thinking about the word laziness. In this post, i'd like to make some
    > clarifications.
    >
    > American Heritage Dictionary third edition defines laziness as:
    > “Resistant to work or exertion; disposed to idleness.â€
    >
    > When the sorcerer Larry Wall said “The three chief virtues of a
    > programmer are: Laziness, Impatience and Hubrisâ€, he used the word
    > “laziness†to loosely imply “natural disposition that results in being
    > economicâ€. As you can see now, “Resistant to work or exertion†is
    > clearly not positive and not a virtue, but “natural disposition that
    > results in economy†is a good thing if true.
    >
    > When Larry Wall said one of programer's virtue is laziness, he wants
    > the unix morons to conjure up in their brains the following
    > proposition as true: “Resistant to work or exertion is a natural human
    > disposition and such disposition actually results behaviors being
    > economicâ€. This statement may be true, which means that human laziness
    > may be intuitively understood from evolution. However, this statement
    > is a proposition on all human beings, and is not some “virtue†that
    > can be applied to a group of people such as programers.
    >
    > Demagogue Larry Wall is smart in creating a confusion combined with
    > wishful thinking. By making subtle statements like this, he semi-
    > intentionally confuses average programers to think that it is OK to be
    > not thorough, it is OK to be sloppy, it is OK to disparage computer
    > science. (like the incompetent unixers and perlers are)
    >
    > Can you see the evil and its harm in not understanding things clearly?
    > This laziness quote by Wall is a tremendous damage to the computing
    > industry. It is a source among others that spurs much bad fashion
    > trends and fuckups in the industry. It is more damaging than any
    > single hack or virus. It is social brain-washing at work, like the
    > diamond company De Beers' tremendously successful sales slogan: “A
    > Diamond is Forever†or Apple's grammatically fantastic “Think
    > Differentâ€.
    >
    > The most fundamental explanation of why Larry Wall's sophistry are
    > damaging to society is simply this: What he said is not true and they
    > are widely spread and conceived as worthwhile. This is a form of mis-
    > information. This is a manifestation of Love without Knowledge as i
    > expounded before, with subtle but disastrous consequences (already).
    >
    > [DISCLAIMER: all mentions of real persons are opinion only.]
    >
    > ----
    > This post is archived at:http://xahlee.org/UnixResource_dir/writ/perl_laziness.html
    >
    > Xah
    >
    > ∑http://xahlee.org/


    I like Larry Wall, despite being not a Perl programmer, and when he
    secretly subverts the american, protestant working ethos I like him
    even better :)
     
    Kay Schluehr, Apr 15, 2007
    #4
  5. Xah Lee

    Jim Ford Guest

    Xah Lee wrote:
    > Laziness, Perl, and Larry Wall
    >
    > Xah Lee, 20021124
    >
    > In the unix community there's quite a large confusion and wishful
    > thinking about the word laziness. In this post, i'd like to make some
    > clarifications.


    Years ago I used to work with someone who used to say 'I'm a lazy person
    - I like to do things the easy way!'. I guess this is what Larry Wall means.

    Jim Ford
     
    Jim Ford, Apr 15, 2007
    #5
  6. On Sun, 15 Apr 2007 18:25:19 +0200, Xah Lee <> wrote:

    > Laziness, Perl, and Larry Wall
    >
    > Xah Lee, 20021124
    >
    > In the unix community there's quite a large confusion and wishful
    > thinking about the word laziness. In this post, i'd like to make some
    > clarifications.
    >
    > American Heritage Dictionary third edition defines laziness as:
    > “Resistant to work or exertion; disposed to idleness.â€
    >


    In this context I think you can safely take it to mean:
    Don't work hard, work smart.

    Avoid repetitious work. If somthing seems to elaborate find a more
    efficient way.

    In a course I took on verifiable programming I found working with Hoare
    logic
    extremely tedious. So I started using rewriting loops as recursive
    procedures and
    using induction instead. It took about a quarter of the time as the
    invariant of a loop
    fell out rather naturally this way. I failed the course, but when I took
    the course
    over again a year later I noticed that the book had been rewritten and now
    half the book
    was dedicated to Generator Induction. (Seems the professor noticed I
    failed in a interesting
    way and figured out it was not so stupid after all.) Naturally I had no
    problems the second time ;)

    This is just one example but it should convey the idea.

    --
    Using Opera's revolutionary e-mail client: http://www.opera.com/mail/
     
    John Thingstad, Apr 15, 2007
    #6
  7. Xah Lee

    James Stroud Guest

    Xah Lee wrote:
    > Laziness, Perl, and Larry Wall
    >
    > Xah Lee, 20021124
    >
    > In the unix community there's quite a large confusion and wishful
    > thinking about the word laziness. In this post, i'd like to make some
    > clarifications.
    >
    > American Heritage Dictionary third edition defines laziness as:
    > “Resistant to work or exertion; disposed to idleness.â€
    >
    > When the sorcerer Larry Wall said “The three chief virtues of a
    > programmer are: Laziness, Impatience and Hubrisâ€, he used the word
    > “laziness†to loosely imply “natural disposition that results in being
    > economicâ€. As you can see now, “Resistant to work or exertion†is
    > clearly not positive and not a virtue, but “natural disposition that
    > results in economy†is a good thing if true.
    >
    > When Larry Wall said one of programer's virtue is laziness, he wants
    > the unix morons to conjure up in their brains the following
    > proposition as true: “Resistant to work or exertion is a natural human
    > disposition and such disposition actually results behaviors being
    > economicâ€. This statement may be true, which means that human laziness
    > may be intuitively understood from evolution. However, this statement
    > is a proposition on all human beings, and is not some “virtue†that
    > can be applied to a group of people such as programers.
    >
    > Demagogue Larry Wall is smart in creating a confusion combined with
    > wishful thinking. By making subtle statements like this, he semi-
    > intentionally confuses average programers to think that it is OK to be
    > not thorough, it is OK to be sloppy, it is OK to disparage computer
    > science. (like the incompetent unixers and perlers are)
    >
    > Can you see the evil and its harm in not understanding things clearly?
    > This laziness quote by Wall is a tremendous damage to the computing
    > industry. It is a source among others that spurs much bad fashion
    > trends and fuckups in the industry. It is more damaging than any
    > single hack or virus. It is social brain-washing at work, like the
    > diamond company De Beers' tremendously successful sales slogan: “A
    > Diamond is Forever†or Apple's grammatically fantastic “Think
    > Differentâ€.
    >
    > The most fundamental explanation of why Larry Wall's sophistry are
    > damaging to society is simply this: What he said is not true and they
    > are widely spread and conceived as worthwhile. This is a form of mis-
    > information. This is a manifestation of Love without Knowledge as i
    > expounded before, with subtle but disastrous consequences (already).
    >
    > [DISCLAIMER: all mentions of real persons are opinion only.]
    >
    > ----
    > This post is archived at:
    > http://xahlee.org/UnixResource_dir/writ/perl_laziness.html
    >
    > Xah
    >
    > ∑ http://xahlee.org/
    >


    Laziness is re-posting something dated 2002.
     
    James Stroud, Apr 15, 2007
    #7
  8. Xah Lee

    Guest

    Of course, for functional languages, 'lazy' means something rather
    different...
     
    , Apr 16, 2007
    #8
  9. Xah Lee

    Cor Gest Guest

    Some entity, AKA ,
    wrote this mindboggling stuff:
    (selectively-snipped-or-not-p)

    > Of course, for functional languages, 'lazy' means something rather
    > different...
    >


    lazy means: just get a post-grad to do the grunt-work for free.

    Cor

    --
    The biggest problem LISP has is that it does not appeal to dumb people
    If this failed to satisfy you try reading the Hyper-Spec or woman frig
    (defvar MyComputer '((OS . "GNU/Emacs") (IPL . "GNU/Linux")))
    Read the mailpolicy before mailing http://www.clsnet.nl/mail.html
     
    Cor Gest, Apr 16, 2007
    #9
  10. Xah Lee

    D Herring Guest

  11. Xah Lee

    Rob Warnock Guest

    Daniel Gee <> wrote:
    +---------------
    | You fail to understand the difference between passive laziness and
    | active laziness. Passive laziness is what most people have. It's
    | active laziness that is the virtue. It's the desire to go out and /
    | make sure/ that you can be lazy in the future by spending just a
    | little time writing a script now. It's thinking about time
    | economically and acting on it.
    +---------------

    Indeed. See Robert A. Heinlein's short story (well, actually just
    a short section of his novel "Time Enough For Love: The Lives of
    Lazarus Long") entitled "The Tale of the Man Who Was Too Lazy To
    Fail". It's about a man who hated work so much that he worked
    very, *very* hard so he wouldn't have to do any (and succeeded).


    -Rob

    -----
    Rob Warnock <>
    627 26th Avenue <URL:http://rpw3.org/>
    San Mateo, CA 94403 (650)572-2607
     
    Rob Warnock, Apr 16, 2007
    #11
  12. Dan Bensen <> writes:

    > Xah Lee wrote:
    >> Laziness, Perl, and Larry Wall
    >> When the sorcerer Larry Wall said “The three chief virtues of a
    >> programmer are: Laziness, Impatience and Hubrisâ€, he used the word
    >> “laziness†to loosely imply “natural disposition that results in being
    >> economicâ€.

    >
    > Programming by definition is the process of automating repetitive
    > actions to reduce the human effort required to perform them. A good
    > programmer faced with a hard problem always looks for ways to make
    > his|her job easier by delegating work to a computer. That's what
    > Larry means. Automation is MUCH more effective than repetition.


    Indeed. A programmer is someone who, after doing similar tasks by
    hand a few times, writes a program to do it. This extends to
    programming tasks, so after writing similar programs a few times, a
    (good) programmer will use programming to make writing future similar
    programs easier. This can be by abstracting the essence of the task
    into library functions so new programs are just sequences of
    parameterized calls to these, or it can be by writing a program
    generator (such as a parser generator) or it can be by designing a
    domain-specific language and writing a compiler or interpreter for
    this.

    Torben
     
    Torben =?iso-8859-1?Q?=C6gidius?= Mogensen, Apr 16, 2007
    #12
  13. (Rob Warnock) writes:

    > Daniel Gee <> wrote:
    > +---------------
    > | You fail to understand the difference between passive laziness and
    > | active laziness. Passive laziness is what most people have. It's
    > | active laziness that is the virtue. It's the desire to go out and /
    > | make sure/ that you can be lazy in the future by spending just a
    > | little time writing a script now. It's thinking about time
    > | economically and acting on it.
    > +---------------
    >
    > Indeed. See Robert A. Heinlein's short story (well, actually just
    > a short section of his novel "Time Enough For Love: The Lives of
    > Lazarus Long") entitled "The Tale of the Man Who Was Too Lazy To
    > Fail". It's about a man who hated work so much that he worked
    > very, *very* hard so he wouldn't have to do any (and succeeded).


    You can also argue that the essence of progress is someone saying
    "Hey, there must be an easier way to do this!".

    Torben
     
    Torben =?iso-8859-1?Q?=C6gidius?= Mogensen, Apr 16, 2007
    #13
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