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From: rixstep001
Subject: Re:
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 16:47:12 -0400

Good of you to put Aaron 'Hill of Gas' down. He's a charlatan of the first rank and his ambition to sully your name had a lot of us very angry.

I have mixed feelings about this. We were glad to have a chapter in such a prominent cocoa book at all (and to have replaced the Java chapter, no less!) but you are not the first to have claimed 'Hill o' Gas' is a charlatan. I don't think he was intentionally out to sully our name, but he sure wasn't very nice to us either. The mere fact that we've got a chapter is an accomplishment, IMHO, and in the future we make take on more relevance within that comminuty.

Evidently, before the chapter went to press, it was sent to Adam Fedor (our project admin) for strict factual review. At the time I was unaware of this and I do wish it had been more widely distributed because a few outright falsehoods would have then been avoided. You can thank Greg Casamento, the author of Gorm and the individual who put together the BookClarifications page, for his work on reviewing the chapter.

Alex Perez co-maintainer

Hi Alex!

And nice of you to reply. You're spot-on in having mixed feelings.

We were never under the impression Aaron was much the programmer or teacher. He's a lot of hype and image but his texts - and most likely his courses - give very little to the readers and students. We've been teaching programming courses for a looong time and most of the texts, no matter who writes them, have a few things in common, such as API overviews and the like, and the good courses and books must give the student real life examples so that new skills can be applied immediately. Finally, there is never any excuse for bad program design, and Aaron's writings are riddled with silly ideas that would not get out of Comp. Sci. 101 with a passing grade.

When we remarked to him about the typos in his book, his response was classic Aaron:

'Take my course - it costs $3500.'

But no, we wouldn't dream of being so stupid, and fortunately there is a good text on the market, although the Hill of Gas marketing machine is shadowing it. It's a very very very good book.

No other book is needed. Granted, it is not GNUstep, but it is programming, and we'd assume it's much of the same thing even today.


We have to say we really like what you people at GNUstep are doing. We're running Apple but we're not Mac users so to speak. Our sole point of interest is Objective-C and NeXTSTEP. We want to see both technologies proliferate, as we think programming in general would improve everywhere. There is too much bad code in the industry right now, unfortunately: the grunts have bad tools. So that's our stake in it all.

It's hard to see what Aaron possibly wanted to win by his 'move' on GNUstep, but we know a bit about him and his kind - they lurk all over the Apple message boards - they're there but rarely come to the surface LOL - and also, the guy just isn't all that sharp. I suspect a lot of what he wrote is just 'headline syndrome': he got to the headlines - the surface of it all - and just didn't dig any deeper. A bad research habit if there ever was one.

I think we'll have to publish news of this in a number of places. In a newsletter to warn people off about the summabitch again, and online for an update to our 'not too kind' review of his book. <G>

So anyway, thanks so much for writing, and do keep up the good work, and if there is anything at all you suspect we might be able to help out with, drop a line.

High regards,

Rick Downes

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