C: The Complete Meta-Nonsense


S

spinoza1111

This thread shall be the center for compaints about Peter Seebach's
document "C: The Complete Nonsense", which is as far as I can tell the
sole source of the false rumors about Herb Schildt's books, a source
amplified by the confusion of a citation with that of a citation of a
citation.

I shall start the ball rolling: Peter, what goes around, comes around.

"Page 284
All of the header files are listed in capitals; the standard specifies
them in lower case. It is not required that a C compiler reject all-
caps, but nor is it required that it accept them. "

Herb here relies on the relative prevelance of case insensitivity in
Windows systems and before them, in IBM systems. It has long been a
sort of fashion statement in unix to be case sensitive. There are
arguments pro and con both ways, but by omitting this information
Peter is able to make Yet Another unwarranted implication about
Seebach's competence.

It is tribalism to confuse shibboleths such as these with knowledge,
where a "shibboleth" is used to recognized tribe members. It is a
barbarism.

Seebach implies that the practice is indeed standard but cites this to
pad his antiresume re Schildt.

Also, "but nor" is completely illiterate.
 
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S

Seebs

This thread shall be the center for compaints about Peter Seebach's
document "C: The Complete Nonsense",
Wonderful!

which is as far as I can tell the
sole source of the false rumors about Herb Schildt's books,

There are a number of problems with this clause.

The first is the implicit assertion that there are false rumors about
Schildt's books, an assertion not yet demonstrated to be true. But let
us handwave that away and assume that the phrase "false rumors" is
a poor choice of words for "wholly accurate beliefs" or something similar.

Then it remains only to ask: What about the multiple other sources which
people have referred you to? Why is it that, shortly after some anonymous
user started harassing the Wikipedia staff using various proxies to circumvent
a justified ban, and they finally told him that my page on the topic was
sufficient to qualify as a citable source, suddenly you're obsessed with
that PARTICULAR page rather than any of the other sources?

Hmm. Questions for the ages.
a source
amplified by the confusion of a citation with that of a citation of a
citation.

Not noticably.
I shall start the ball rolling: Peter, what goes around, comes around.

Round round round round I get around?
"Page 284
All of the header files are listed in capitals; the standard specifies
them in lower case. It is not required that a C compiler reject all-
caps, but nor is it required that it accept them. "
Herb here relies on the relative prevelance of case insensitivity in
Windows systems and before them, in IBM systems. It has long been a
sort of fashion statement in unix to be case sensitive. There are
arguments pro and con both ways, but by omitting this information
Peter is able to make Yet Another unwarranted implication about
Seebach's competence.

Lots of noise, but you miss the key point: If you use all-caps names
for headers, they're likely to not work on some fairly common systems.

Your focus has, time and again, come back to a vague notion that the
goal is to teach, not to be correct. But how does it help the reader
if you consistently use capital letters where they aren't particularly
guaranteed to work?

I did not claim that I had presented every last possible shred of relevant
data -- I merely pointed out that the names Schildt shows may not work.

If you had some kind of argument for why writing the names in all caps
would be essential to effective teaching, you could argue the case, but
merely pointing out that it's possible that they work somewhere is not
so persuasive.
Seebach implies that the practice is indeed standard but cites this to
pad his antiresume re Schildt.
Also, "but nor" is completely illiterate.

Ahh, yes. Complete illiteracy, once thought to be the realm of being
unable to distinguish letters from random markings, is now revealed to
be the use of a conjunction in conjunction with another conjunction,
when only the second of the pair is needed. Absolutely, this is
the sort of thing up with which we must not put.

But I can see that you're not going to be happy until I've gone back to
that document, not as a kid fresh out of college with no particular
credentials, but as a veteran of a decade or so of standards work with
hundreds of thousands of my own words published, to go clean the page
up and make it a much stronger and more persuasive document. Seems silly
given that the book's ten years old, but I have to listen to my fans.

-s
 
S

spinoza1111

There are a number of problems with this clause.

The first is the implicit assertion that there are false rumors about
Schildt's books, an assertion not yet demonstrated to be true.  But let
us handwave that away and assume that the phrase "false rumors" is
a poor choice of words for "wholly accurate beliefs" or something similar..

Then it remains only to ask:  What about the multiple other sources which
people have referred you to?  Why is it that, shortly after some anonymous
user started harassing the Wikipedia staff using various proxies to circumvent
a justified ban

It wasn't a justified ban. I was welcome as a contributor in
2005..2006 and a number of pages including Kant and Adorno retain a
lot of my material. Then, in 2006, a poster to Kant named
amerindianarts, who was unqualified to write about philosophy, was
offended by one of my private responses and started issuing all sorts
of bans...despite the fact that a professor of philosophy who was at
the time moderating the Kant page wanted me to contribute. The issue
snowballed to the point where I was supposed to undergo some sort of
Star Chamber proceeding where I would have to admit the wisdom of
wikipedia and the new crop of convenience store clerks who'd appointed
themselves editors, and as you know I don't eat shit.
, and they finally told him that my page on the topic was
sufficient to qualify as a citable source, suddenly you're obsessed with
that PARTICULAR page rather than any of the other sources?

Your page isn't citable according to standards of citeability and
common decency, since it itself is based on no source except your own
fantasies and prejudices. You could have at least have had it peer
reviewed and you did not. It is not an adequate source merely because
a bunch of half-literate convenience store clerks at Wikipedia say it
is.
Hmm.  Questions for the ages.


Not noticably.


Round round round round I get around?


Lots of noise, but you miss the key point:  If you use all-caps names
for headers, they're likely to not work on some fairly common systems.

This is arguably a bug of those systems, but had been Herb I would
have mentioned this issue.
Your focus has, time and again, come back to a vague notion that the
goal is to teach, not to be correct.  But how does it help the reader
if you consistently use capital letters where they aren't particularly
guaranteed to work?

The computer science or programming teacher is not, whatever his
students might claim, required to teach sub-academic mechanics. The
student is in part responsible for figuring out lab assignments.

I did not claim that I had presented every last possible shred of relevant
data -- I merely pointed out that the names Schildt shows may not work.

Your point had not to do with substance but with mechanics. In my own
C classes I did more presentation on IBM v unix differences than did
Herb because I knew more than he and/or made a choice he did not. His
omission of your hobby-horse justified you pointing this out on Amazon
or in a review in a computer journal. It did not justify what you did.
If you had some kind of argument for why writing the names in all caps
would be essential to effective teaching, you could argue the case, but
merely pointing out that it's possible that they work somewhere is not
so persuasive.

I have known about this problem for 20 years since I worked from 1981
to 1986 at Bell Northern Research Mountain View, which had both a DEC
20 and an IBM mainframe. At BNR I noticed that the less competent DEC
specialists made big deals about this difference whereas the best
people (Bob Gaskins, who invented Power Point, and Whitfield Diffie,
the cryptography expert) did not. Bob worked closely with my boss,
who'd come from IBM and Whitfield and I had a cordial relationship.
The DEC people who made a big "deal" out of the innate superiority of
case sensitivity were incompetent for the most part.
Ahh, yes.  Complete illiteracy, once thought to be the realm of being
unable to distinguish letters from random markings, is now revealed to
be the use of a conjunction in conjunction with another conjunction,
when only the second of the pair is needed.  Absolutely, this is
the sort of thing up with which we must not put.

OK, point taken. We must not generalize from too small a data set.
Therefore I look forward to your withdrawing the Vicious Little
Tirade.

In pointing these errors out, I hope to teach you perspective and the
reality of the Homeric nod, although I, and as I am sure Herb would
admit, he, are closer to Homer Simpson than the poet.
But I can see that you're not going to be happy until I've gone back to
that document, not as a kid fresh out of college with no particular
credentials, but as a veteran of a decade or so of standards work with
hundreds of thousands of my own words published, to go clean the page
up and make it a much stronger and more persuasive document.  Seems silly
given that the book's ten years old, but I have to listen to my fans.

No, you are not qualified to publish documents of this nature. Please
replace it by an apology and get on with your life.
 
S

Seebs

It wasn't a justified ban.

I don't think I buy it. You have a mysterious tendency to rant about
things without understanding them, pick fights, and end up becoming
unpopular.
wikipedia and the new crop of convenience store clerks who'd appointed
themselves editors, and as you know I don't eat shit.

Just spew it.
Your page isn't citable according to standards of citeability and
common decency, since it itself is based on no source except your own
fantasies and prejudices.

The opinions of a qualified expert in the field are sufficient to qualify
something as justifying a claim.
You could have at least have had it peer
reviewed and you did not. It is not an adequate source merely because
a bunch of half-literate convenience store clerks at Wikipedia say it
is.

That may well be.

But it sure is suspcious that, now that they've said it is, you're suddenly
hugely obsessed with this particular page, despite having had several other
sources for similar opinions and observations presented to you.
This is arguably a bug of those systems,

Or a bug of systems where it's not the case. Just about anything can
be argued.
but had been Herb I would have mentioned this issue.

Which would be a lot of hassle to go to when there is simply no need to
ever write the names in anything but the canonical form. No problem, no
hassle, everything works.
The computer science or programming teacher is not, whatever his
students might claim, required to teach sub-academic mechanics. The
student is in part responsible for figuring out lab assignments.

That's a bullshit excuse. The job of a writer is to cover the material
clearly and correctly. Especially, I might add, in a book claiming to
be "The Complete Reference".
Your point had not to do with substance but with mechanics.

It turns out that mechanics are part of the substance of using computers
effectively.
His
omission of your hobby-horse justified you pointing this out on Amazon
or in a review in a computer journal. It did not justify what you did.

Because putting something up on your personal web page is WAY more serious
than publishing a review in a computer journal, right?
OK, point taken. We must not generalize from too small a data set.
:)

Therefore I look forward to your withdrawing the Vicious Little
Tirade.

Ahh, but it's not generalized from too small a data set; it's cherry-picked
from a much larger data set. That's different.
In pointing these errors out, I hope to teach you perspective

You'd have to have some.
No, you are not qualified to publish documents of this nature.

Actually, I sort of am.
Please replace it by an apology

I refer you to the Defendant's response in Arkell v. Pressdram.
and get on with your life.

For reading Usenet, I normally use an irony meter that's certified to
be able to survive the EMP from a 50 megaton bomb, but you just slagged
it anyway.

-s
 
C

Colonel Harlan Sanders

It wasn't a justified ban. I was welcome as a contributor in
2005..2006 and a number of pages including Kant and Adorno retain a
lot of my material. Then, in 2006, a poster to Kant named
amerindianarts, who was unqualified to write about philosophy, was
offended by one of my private responses and started issuing all sorts
of bans...despite the fact that a professor of philosophy who was at
the time moderating the Kant page wanted me to contribute. The issue
snowballed to the point where I was supposed to undergo some sort of
Star Chamber proceeding where I would have to admit the wisdom of
wikipedia and the new crop of convenience store clerks who'd appointed
themselves editors, and as you know I don't eat shit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Log&type=block&page=User:Spinoza1111

12:12, 25 October 2006 Shell Kinney (talk | contribs) blocked Spinoza1111 (talk | contribs) with an expiry time of indefinite ?(user claims to have left Wikipedia but continues to harass and attack other users via talk pages)
04:36, 20 October 2006 Luna Santin (talk | contribs) blocked Spinoza1111 (talk | contribs) with an expiry time of 48 hours ?(Continued personal attacks)
04:36, 20 October 2006 Luna Santin (talk | contribs) unblocked "Spinoza1111 (talk | contribs)" ? (unblock to change duration)
05:29, 19 October 2006 Luna Santin (talk | contribs) blocked Spinoza1111 (talk | contribs) with an expiry time of 24 hours ?(Personal attacks)
08:54, 6 September 2006 Andrew Norman (talk | contribs) blocked Spinoza1111 (talk | contribs) with an expiry time of 1 week ?(Personal attacks)

Pages and pages of your own words linked there condemning you.

You insisted on inserting your opinions into various articles, simply
asserting they are facts. When asked to support these, you just do as
you do here, shouting down any conflicting facts and call the
questioner an idiot.

Wikipedia has evolved procedures for dealing with assholes like you,
so eventually you were banned, temporarily, at which point you
redoubled your abuse using anonymous IPs, then finally the ban was
made permanent.

Usenet is where you always return to, since more structured
communities all eventually spit you out.

But it's obvious that the real reason you act like this is you enjoy
the conflict. You don't have any friends (except for John Nash, who
you last saw 30 years ago), but you can always come here and get a
rise out of Heathfield, or more recently Seebach. Though of course
either or both of them may be just stringing you along for their own
amusement. (Seebach for instance suckered you by feeding you the
"autistic" line, which you now regurgitate at every opportunity.)

One thing is sure, the only effect your crusade is having on Schildt's
reputation is to highlight his failings. But that's secondary to the
real object of all these 500 post threads; to make you the center of
attention.
 
S

spinoza1111

I don't think I buy it.  You have a mysterious tendency to rant about
things without understanding them, pick fights, and end up becoming

....or understanding them at greater depth, perhaps. But yes, I like
fighting.
unpopular.


Just spew it.


The opinions of a qualified expert in the field are sufficient to qualify
something as justifying a claim.

Who is the qualified expert at "C: The Complete Nonsense?" You admit
you were a kid when you wrote it.
That may well be.

But it sure is suspcious that, now that they've said it is, you're suddenly
hugely obsessed with this particular page, despite having had several other
sources for similar opinions and observations presented to you.

Excuse me, where were those source presented? Give yourself some
credit. "C: the Complete Nonsense" is the single stop source for anti-
Schildt bullshit, and I know of no independent source of criticism of
Schildt.
Or a bug of systems where it's not the case.  Just about anything can
be argued.


Which would be a lot of hassle to go to when there is simply no need to
ever write the names in anything but the canonical form.  No problem, no
hassle, everything works.


That's a bullshit excuse.  The job of a writer is to cover the material
clearly and correctly.  Especially, I might add, in a book claiming to
be "The Complete Reference".


It turns out that mechanics are part of the substance of using computers
effectively.

That's untrue. The mechanics can be the work of low-level
functionaries.
Because putting something up on your personal web page is WAY more serious
than publishing a review in a computer journal, right?

Wrong. You had no independent reviewer as did I in my published
articles in .Net Programmer's Journal and "Build Your Own .Net
Language and Compiler, nor as Herb had at McGraw-Hill. A reasonably
competent editor would have rejected your copy: that's why McGraw Hill
shitcanned it. It was a disorganized mass of trivia and opinion
masquerading as fact.

You pussies pick your fights carefully and still lose. I note you
don't comment on the C version of the infix2Polish grammar-based
conversion, because when you can't make cheap shots you don't fire,
yet I want your opinion because you're good coders all the same.
Ahh, but it's not generalized from too small a data set; it's cherry-picked
from a much larger data set.  That's different.

Where is the big data set? I've asked this repeatedly.
You'd have to have some.


Actually, I sort of am.

No, you're sort of not.
 
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S

spinoza1111

Pages and pages of your own words linked there condemning you.

You insisted on inserting your opinions into various articles, simply
asserting they are facts. When asked to support these, you just do as
you do here, shouting down any conflicting facts  and call the
questioner an idiot.

Wikipedia has evolved procedures for dealing with assholes like you,
so eventually you were banned, temporarily, at which point you
redoubled your abuse using anonymous IPs, then finally the ban was
made permanent.

Usenet is where you always return to, since more structured
communities all eventually spit you out.

But it's obvious that the real reason you act like this is you enjoy
the conflict. You don't have any friends (except for John Nash, who
you last saw 30 years ago), but you can always come here and get a
rise out of Heathfield, or more recently Seebach. Though of course
either or both of them may be just stringing you along for their own
amusement. (Seebach for instance suckered you by feeding you the
"autistic" line, which you now regurgitate at every opportunity.)

One thing is sure, the only effect your crusade is having on Schildt's
reputation is to highlight his failings. But  that's secondary to the
real object of all these 500 post threads; to make you the center of
attention.

It's not an opinion that to write the history of philosophy one has to
do philosophy. Nor is it an opinion to say that wikipedia has been
taken over by 14 year old Hitler Youth and convenience store clerks.
It's an acknowledged fact. Do your homework: there are any number of
bitter former wikipedians blowing the whistle on the fraud and tax
cheat Jimmy Wales, and I hope to see his hairy ass in jail on tax
charges.
 
J

jacob navia

Colonel Harlan Sanders a écrit :
But it's obvious that the real reason you act like this is you enjoy
the conflict. You don't have any friends (except for John Nash, who
you last saw 30 years ago), but you can always come here and get a
rise out of Heathfield, or more recently Seebach.

There is not a lot of posters here that care about C. Specially
heathfield apparently is the major promoter of endless discussions
about anything where he can write about his prejudices about everything
(assembly, Design patterns, whatever).

For heathfield and Kiki, Spinoza1111 is a welcome partner.
 
M

Mark Bluemel

"Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, but the pig enjoys
it" (attributed variously).

I'd also suggest what is reportedly a Malagasy proverb "In a fight
with a fool, it's the wise man who quits".
 
S

spinoza1111

Colonel Harlan Sanders a écrit :


There is not a lot of posters here that care about C. Specially
heathfield apparently  is the major promoter of endless discussions
about anything where he can write about his prejudices about everything
(assembly, Design patterns, whatever).

For heathfield and Kiki,Spinoza1111is a welcome partner.

Jacob, they prefer to stay away from code apart from telling people
their code sucks. I came in here on topic only to find Heathfield et
al. changing the topic to the incompetence of the people who disagreed
with them.

Above all, Heathfield et al. love pointers. Instead of taking the risk
to write code extempore here and discuss it, they prefer pointers to
sources that putatively affirm the incompetence of their enemies, and
dismissing open questions as having been answered. This is to avoid
being wrong, for they so abuse people they think wrong, or who make
trivial mistakes, that they are afraid of the treatment they visit on
others.

They multiply pointers to the failings of Schildt et al. deliberately
with the malign and dishonest intent of deceiving people into
reasoning from large N (where N==the number of times a canard, or a
citation of a canard, or a citation of a citation of a canard, is
repeated) to the largeness of what usually turns out, on
investigation, to be small n, where n==the actual number of data
points.

For example, "C: the Complete Nonsense" lists ONLY 20 separate anti-
Schildt canards, most of which are trivia and all of which were
rejected by technical editors at McGraw Hill as errata. It identifies
this small n set as "currently known" while in a self-contradictory
and dishonest fashion it ALSO implies that "several hundred" are
known! Yet this single document appears to be the sole source for the
anti-Schildt case, since on the Internet a "buzz" is created by
repetition.

I am not, *mon cher Monsieur*, here to do Heathfield et aliter any
favors. I am here to rip them a new asshole and destroy their
dominance of this newsgroup, so that it can be a fair and open forum.
 
R

Rich Webb

"Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, but the pig enjoys
it" (attributed variously).

I'd also suggest what is reportedly a Malagasy proverb "In a fight
with a fool, it's the wise man who quits".

Or a corollary to Murphy's Law:
"In any situation, the craziest person in the room controls the agenda."
This formulation is attributed to Blue Meme, who continues "Reasonable
people tend to try to accommodate, find common ground and compromise.
Those with limited capacity for reason tend to take harder and more
extreme positions, and take more extreme actions to defend those
positions. And, sadly, the dynamics of such a conflict tend to favor the
crazy."
 
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C

Colonel Harlan Sanders

Nor is it an opinion to say that wikipedia has been
taken over by 14 year old Hitler Youth and convenience store clerks.
It's an acknowledged fact.

Like all your "facts", all the vast conspiracies of Nazis directed at
you, acknowledged by you, and you alone. And that you keep repeating
and possibly believing them, indicative of a seriously disturbed mind.
Do your homework: there are any number of
bitter former wikipedians blowing the whistle on the fraud and tax
cheat Jimmy Wales, and I hope to see his hairy ass in jail on tax
charges.

If you have any information regarding tax fraud, why the hell don't
you inform the IRS, and they will certainly act on it.
Well?
Why don't you?
Take ten minutes, send an email.
You'd be vindicated.
The fact that you do not, will not and cannot shows that you are just
a windbag, for all you macho talk and threats, you never follow
through.
 
S

Seebs

It's not an opinion that to write the history of philosophy one has to
do philosophy.

Yes, it is. And a stupid one at that.
Nor is it an opinion to say that wikipedia has been
taken over by 14 year old Hitler Youth and convenience store clerks.

Actually, it is. And again, a stupid one.
It's an acknowledged fact. Do your homework: there are any number of
bitter former wikipedians blowing the whistle on the fraud and tax
cheat Jimmy Wales, and I hope to see his hairy ass in jail on tax
charges.

This doesn't establish your claim, even if it's true.

-s
 
S

Seebs

...or understanding them at greater depth, perhaps.

No. People who understand things in greater depth can provide justifications
other than bald assertion that intelligent people would agree with them.
But yes, I like fighting.

Quite obvious. Shame you're no good at it, but at least you're having fun.
Who is the qualified expert at "C: The Complete Nonsense?" You admit
you were a kid when you wrote it.

Ahh, but I'm a qualified expert now, and while I think the page is poorly
organized, the substance is sufficient to establish the claim.
Excuse me, where were those source presented?

Usenet. Repeatedly. In these very threads.
Give yourself some
credit. "C: the Complete Nonsense" is the single stop source for anti-
Schildt bullshit, and I know of no independent source of criticism of
Schildt.

Your inability to read responses in threads you started is not my problem.
That's untrue. The mechanics can be the work of low-level
functionaries.

The people who claim this always seem to go bankrupt trying to get anything
to work. It turns out it just ain't so.

.... Uh. Dude. THAT WAS MY POINT. That sentence there? It is an example
of a literary form known as "sarcasm".

Your material (quoted above in >> >) implies that a review in a computer
journal could be justified, but that posting on the internet is MUCH more
serious (in the sense of "taking serious steps" -- a graver or more extreme
measure) and requires a higher standard of justification.

That's stupid. I commented on it.
You had no independent reviewer as did I in my published
articles in .Net Programmer's Journal and "Build Your Own .Net
Language and Compiler, nor as Herb had at McGraw-Hill. A reasonably
competent editor would have rejected your copy:

No. A mediocre editor would have rejected it. A competent editor would
have sent it back for revision with suggestions as to organization.
that's why McGraw Hill shitcanned it.

You keep claiming this, but it's already been pointed out that this event
never occurred.
It was a disorganized mass of trivia and opinion
masquerading as fact.

Actually, it's a disorganized mass of trivia, opinion, and fact, not
particularly masquerading as anything. But since some of the trivia are
factual, and some of the opinions are essentially universal among competent
C programmers, that's good enough.
You pussies pick your fights carefully and still lose. I note you
don't comment on the C version of the infix2Polish grammar-based
conversion, because when you can't make cheap shots you don't fire,
yet I want your opinion because you're good coders all the same.

Er, what C version of it? If you posted it within the last 12ish hours
or so, I probably haven't seen it. While I spend far too much time on
Usenet, I do occsionally sleep or even work at my regular job and stuff.
Where is the big data set? I've asked this repeatedly.

And you've been told, repeatedly.

To reiterate, since you apparently couldn't figure it out:

The big data set is the pool of errors in the book. No one that I know of
has had the time or patience to actually write these all down, but that
doesn't change anything; data exist whether or not they've been written
down.
No, you're sort of not.

If you have reasoning, you're welcome to present it at any time. No
one is stopping you.

Hmm.

Come to think of it, maybe that's the problem. If I start telling you
that you are *forbidden* to actually argue your points, will that cause you
to do it?

-s
 
S

Seebs

"Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, but the pig enjoys
it" (attributed variously).

Certainly, my engagements with Spinny have left a number of pigs wondering
where their vocal instructor went, but consider that if you just accept that
he's clearly not reacting rationally at any particular level, it is actually
really funny. In short, it is amusing and suprisingly likely to yield
an occasional nugget of genuinely interesting discussion of C, albeit usually
that's a discussion between two other people rather than one involving him
directly.

Still, you can sometimes learn more from bad claims than good ones, because
understanding why they're wrong is extremely informative.

-s
 
K

Kenny McCormack

Please Jacob, rise above the silly name calling.
I still want to believe you're above that level.

Would all those who've referred to Mr. Nilges as "Spinny" please tender
their resignations from the high court now? Thank you.
 
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S

Seebs

Would all those who've referred to Mr. Nilges as "Spinny" please tender
their resignations from the high court now? Thank you.

'k. I hereby resign from the high court.

That said, the guy's an absolute kook, and I have no intention of ceasing
to refer to him by a funny nickname. Yes, it indicates that I don't take
him seriously. So did my suggestion of a spinoza1111 drinking game, and
the comment about the clown nose.

I'll change my mind when we see his coherent, reasoned, arguments based
on actual evidence of the claim that the C standard exists solely to allow
vendors to fire compiler developers and preserve profits.

-s
 
C

Chris McDonald

spinoza1111 said:
Schildt bullshit, and I know of no independent source of criticism of
Schildt.

I suspect that you've, yet again, chosen your weasel words carefully,
but why don't the criticisms of Schildt's doorstops on Amazon count as
"independent" sources?

If someone buys a book, strongly dislikes it, and expresses their dislike,
have they lost their "independence"?

If so, any such positive review should be discounted, too.
 
J

John Bode

This thread shall be the center for compaints about Peter Seebach's
document "C: The Complete Nonsense", which is as far as I can tell the
sole source of the false rumors about Herb Schildt's books, a source
amplified by the confusion of a citation with that of a citation of a
citation.

I shall start the ball rolling: Peter, what goes around, comes around.

"Page 284
All of the header files are listed in capitals; the standard specifies
them in lower case. It is not required that a C compiler reject all-
caps, but nor is it required that it accept them. "

Herb here relies on the relative prevelance of case insensitivity in
Windows systems and before them, in IBM systems.

So? Why not use canonical forms that are guaranteed to work
*everywhere*, regardless of whether the underlying platform is case-
insensitive or not?

This was the thing that frustrated me the most about his book and one
of the reasons why it wound up in the trash; a good chunk of his
examples wouldn't even compile for me since I was working on VAX/VMS,
and the VAX C compiler would inevitably choke on some DOS-ism. Why
limit your audience by writing examples that only work for a subset of
possible platforms? Why not write examples that work on all systems
with conforming compilers? K&R did it. H&S did it. Why couldn't
Herb?
It has long been a
sort of fashion statement in unix to be case sensitive. There are
arguments pro and con both ways, but by omitting this information
Peter is able to make Yet Another unwarranted implication about
Seebach's competence.

Seebach correctly points out that using all caps may not always work.
One would think that information would be valuable.
It is tribalism to confuse shibboleths such as these with knowledge,
where a "shibboleth" is used to recognized tribe members. It is a
barbarism.

Okay, let's talk about *knowledge*. Let's talk about another example
cited by Seebach:
Page 53
The following code:
/* Write 6 integers to a disk file. */
void put_rec(int rec[6], FILE *fp)
{
int len;
len = fwrite(rec, sizeof rec, 1, fp);
if (len != 1) printf("write error");
}
Is described as causing all of rec to be written, no matter what
size of array is being used.

This is *not* a trivial mistake. We're not arguing over style, we're
not arguing over platform idiosyncracies. This is basic shit that
Shildt gets *wrong*; any student who read this was grossly misinformed
#include <string.h>

char s1[] = "hello ";
char s2[] = "there.";

void main(void)
{
int p;

p = strcat(s1, s2);
}

Hello instant security hole!

Again, these aren't trivial mistakes, and they aren't rare in
Schildt's book. God knows how many students and professionals
repeated those mistakes in their own code.

I said it in another thread, I believe there's a correlation between
the popularity of Schildt's books and the generally abysmal quality of
C code written in the '80s and '90s. Schildt caused real harm to the
industry, and your quixotic defense of his honor is puzzling to say
the least. Unless you are Herb himself, it simply doesn't make sense
why someone would waste their time defending the indefensible.
 
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S

spinoza1111

So?  Why not use canonical forms that are guaranteed to work
*everywhere*, regardless of whether the underlying platform is case-
insensitive or not?

This was the thing that frustrated me the most about his book and one
of the reasons why it wound up in the trash; a good chunk of his
examples wouldn't even compile for me since I was working on VAX/VMS,
and the VAX C compiler would inevitably choke on some DOS-ism.  Why

Then Vax was arguably wrong. And why are we discussing out of date
systems, and why is Richard Heathfield quoting Aho/Sethi et al (Dragon
compiler book) 1986? Are we in a time warp?
limit your audience by writing examples that only work for a subset of
possible platforms?  Why not write examples that work on all systems
with conforming compilers?  K&R did it.  H&S did it.  Why couldn't

No they didn't. No intelligent programmer (there are very few)
programs by moronically copying code snippets. Nothing really works,
without change, for all platforms, and this isn't Herb's doing: it's
what vendors do to make money. Even if the code doesn't have to be
changed for a particular target, anyone who expects not to have to
probably change and in consequence doesn't do his homework, deserves
what he gets.
Herb?


Seebach correctly points out that using all caps may not always work.
One would think that information would be valuable.

Yes, it is. Even more valuable would have been an explanation of the
culture divide in computing between case insensitivity in IBM
mainframes and subsequently PCs, and Vaxen and many other systems
which were case-sensitive.

It's not Herb's fault that this difference exists. I do feel that for
best results, he needed a co-author who was expert on non-Microsoft
systems. But this lack was absolutely no reason for the campaign of
abuse to which he was subjected.
It is tribalism to confuse shibboleths such as these with knowledge,
where a "shibboleth" is used to recognized tribe members. It is a
barbarism.

Okay, let's talk about *knowledge*.  Let's talk about another example
cited by Seebach:
Page 53
The following code:
   /* Write 6 integers to a disk file. */
   void put_rec(int rec[6], FILE *fp)
   {
     int len;
     len = fwrite(rec, sizeof rec, 1, fp);
     if (len != 1) printf("write error");
   }
Is described as causing all of rec to be written, no matter what
size of array is being used.

This is *not* a trivial mistake.  We're not arguing over style, we're
not arguing over platform idiosyncracies.  This is basic shit that
Shildt gets *wrong*; any student who read this was grossly misinformed
on the semantics of arrays as function parameters.

The shit is in the design of C.
Or how about this:
#include <string.h>
char s1[] = "hello ";
char s2[] = "there.";
void main(void)
{
  int p;
  p = strcat(s1, s2);
}

Hello instant security hole!

It's actually a bug in C akin to the sprintf issue (sprintf
intrinsically unsafe on all platforms). As I have said, a professional
doesn't accept the correctness of code in books any more than a
mathematician expects all the statements in an elementary math
textbook to be true in literal terms and given what we now know:
explanations in calculus in particular can be wildly off-base.

As a humanist and not an autistic twerp who worships abstractions and
machines because he can't get laid, I think Schildt's peace of mind
and reputation was MORE important than using a language in which it is
(almost by design) insanely difficult to write correct code. The
standards efforts had a chance to rectify this situation and they
failed to owing to vendor greed.
Again, these aren't trivial mistakes, and they aren't rare in

Actually, they are. Seeback lists only twenty mistakes and says in "C:
The Complete Nonsense" that these are the known errors.
Schildt's book.  God knows how many students and professionals
repeated those mistakes in their own code.

I said it in another thread, I believe there's a correlation between
the popularity of Schildt's books and the generally abysmal quality of
C code written in the '80s and '90s.  Schildt caused real harm to the
industry, and your quixotic defense of his honor is puzzling to say
the least.  Unless you are Herb himself, it simply doesn't make sense
why someone would waste their time defending the indefensible.

Coders who write crap code are in general aliterate or autistic and
either don't read at all, or read standards manuals exclusively.
People who actually can read do so critically. As in the case of my
own experience in 1970 (getting a book about the IBM 7094 in a class
that used the 1401) the "errors" are a learning experience.

I today teach classes in *critical* reading of texts such as Joseph
Conrad. You don't understand until you've found aporias and errors in
a text so arguably Schildt does his readers an unintentional service
with his errors, which as I have said, are fewer in number than
claimed.

In an ideal world computer books would contain "nothing but the
truth". But in the real world, programmers, who proclaim their
dedication to truth, actually are so completely dependent on their
jobs and health insurance that when one reads THEIR code, it is full
of errors and bad practice in nearly all cases. This is because as
paraprofessionals, the rate of speed at which they must work is
consistently set above the rational and humane, and the result is real
code that really sucks.

Furthermore, I see where you don't have the balls to post a fix to the
strcat. Let me try:
char s1[] = "hello ";
char s2[] = "there.";
void main(void)
{
int p;
p = strcat(s1, s2);
}

No, that doesn't work, does it?

OK, how about

s1[6] = '\0'; p = strcat(s1, s2);

That might work (I haven't tested it.)

The point is that C IS A JOKE especially in string handling. As soon
as any competent programmer starts using C (whether Bjarne Stroustrup
in the 1970s or I in the early 1990s) he is appalled by it and starts
using its macro and function facility to craft his own C.

Stop blaming, and scapegoating, Schildt for your own poor taste in
programming languages.
 

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