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Re: [Groff] Introduction

From: Miklos Somogyi
Subject: Re: [Groff] Introduction
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2005 16:07:05 +1000

On 19/10/2005, at 3:18 PM, Clarke Echols wrote:

The problem is that these engineers don't have managers with
sense enough to lean on them to learn to use better tools to
get more done in less time.  By learning to use the tools, and
nothing more complicated than simple shell scripts (I don't
have the skills to get fancy because I don't think they're all
that necessary when an easier approach works well), I was
able to consistently get more done than any 4-10 people
around me without straining myself.  This is not to brag, but
people waste an incredible amount of time and productivity
by not learning to exploit the capabilities of a Unix-like
machine instead of really dumb PCs.

Clarke, you don't have to sell me the advantages of tools. I've been using Unix
since the Sun-3 and made lots of tools during the last decades.

But not everyone is a toolmaker or even user, especially managers are not.
I can imagine that the CEO of a software/hardware company knows what
Unix is all about and may be able and willing "to lean on" recalcitrant employees.
Not so at other types of companies.
In my case, I had to lean on lots of managers to get the tools I needed.
With hardware I was successful, with software, I "only" got Unix, vi, troff and f77 and GL.
Not specific engineering tools, are they?

So I built up a huge library of fortran routines, a huge library of PostScript routines (including 3d), and a GL fluid flow animation package to be able to do my job. But only one of my colleagues was interested in them, and my managers were only interested in the final (engineering) product, they did not have the slightest interest in what was behind them.

If troff and Co is to survive, then changes are necessary. No use to tell managers to lean on engineers to use proper tools. They would rather lean on someone who wants something
else, not a PC.

To close it with an appropriate joke:

The Zen master bought a $2 hot dog and paid with a $10 bill. He was waiting and waiting for his $8. The vendor looked-up and realized what was going on in his mind, but said to him:

Hey, you are a Zen master. You know that change must come from within...


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