[opensource] Printing files from the command line

Timothy Normand Miller millerti at cse.ohio-state.edu
Sat Feb 7 20:07:48 EST 2009

I don't completely agree that Resolve C++, as a language is completely  
useless to you.  Theoretically, you could continue to use the  
libraries after you graduate.  If you don't, then the language, in and  
of itself, is useless to you.  I have always said that trying to know  
all of the nuances of Verilog or VHDL doesn't improve your ability to  
translate a circuit design into HDL code.  Likewise, knowing one  
language or another does little for you as a software engineer.   
Languages come and go as fads, and different languages are best suited  
to different purposes.  You need to abstract away from the specific  
language and understand how to architect algorithms, properly engineer  
software, modularize, comment, debug.  First and foremost, you have to  
understand how to translate ideas into processes, optimize those  
processes, and then finally translate those processes into  
maintainable code.  It doesn't matter what languages you use:  If  
you're a major C or even Assembly guru and can write a fantastically  
optimized bubble sort, I'm still going to beat you with my hackish  
quicksort written in interpreted Ruby with any interesting amount of  

It's a waste of time to get caught up in the specifics when those  
specifics change with the direction of the wind.  (Not to say that you  
shouldn't find the specifics interesting.)  Otherwise, you'll never be  
able to adapt.  That being said, when working at Tech Source, I  
interviewed a number of people with CS degrees who did not seem to  
know any programming language.  While it's not the a CS department's  
job to teach you specific languages, it's kinda sad when someone is so  
uninterested in computers that they somehow make it all the way  
through a CS degree without having picked up at least a handful of  
languages on their own.  I'm not saying that you should be ashamed for  
not knowing some particular language.  Of all the languages, I've  
learned, I've never learned Perl.  What matters is that you cared  
enough to learn SOMETHING.  I doesn't matter if you know C++, PHP, and  
6502 assembly, or if you come out knowing Lisp, Haskell, and  
Smalltalk.  If you want to be strategic about it and come out being  
well-rounded, then make sure you choose languages that are VERY  
different from each other.  How about Lisp, Ruby, and Verilog.  :)

On Feb 7, 2009, at 7:00 PM, Aaron Joseph wrote:

> I almost want to make this a whole new topic, but I am going to  
> resist temptation.
> I understand that learning other languages is easy once you  
> understand 1. I know many languages, so I'm not all that worried  
> about resolve being my only one. I'll probably try to develop better  
> arguments before I go see Bruce.
> The problem with resolve is that you're required to take 3 quarters  
> of it... and then after that it's worthless to you. It would be more  
> meaningful for students to learn a useful language for 3 quarter  
> since the same underlying concepts can be applied using any  
> language. What other CSE classes is resolve useful for? Maybe in  
> 560, but java I think java is a way better language to use in that  
> class. You shouldn't have to learn a new language in order to take  
> the rest of your CSE classes. I'm not saying that java is the  
> ultimate language, but in my eyes it is far more useful than resolve.
> In order to try to prevent this from exploding into 30 more emails  
> I'll stop there. But if someone wants to start a new post about the  
> subject then feel free to do so because I feel very strongly about  
> the issue.
> --Aaron Joseph
> On Sat, Feb 7, 2009 at 6:25 PM, Paul Betts <paul at paulbetts.org> wrote:
> Why am I only on my phone when good mails like this show up?
> Anyway, short summary is, Resolve is great ideas hampered by a crap  
> language (C++) that really clouds the solid underlying concepts.
> -- 
> Paul Betts
> On Feb 7, 2009, at 14:46, Shaun Rowland <rowland at cse.ohio-state.edu>  
> wrote:
> On Feb 7, 2009, at 2:25 PM, Aaron Joseph wrote:
> Also, I never asked anyone to send me the key, I just wondered if  
> someone has successfully gotten it from soc lab or oit or some other  
> legal source. And it seems like the answer is that no-one like soc  
> lab or oit has it for free.
> That is a little much to infer from what was stated. I am not going
> to dwell on this. I gave my nudge about the subject.
> Shaun, no-one is going to think you're "the man" for trying to do  
> what's right. However you could have helped me out a little when I  
> was trying to argue why RESOLVE sucks at that UG forum!
> :-)
> Heh. I really don't want to start a big discussion about Resolve.
> But I can't resist giving my current impression - at least a little.
> It is impossible to broach the subject without writing a book.
> I have seen this argument come up so many times over the years.
> I knew C++ pretty well when I came into Resolve. I also used to
> wonder if it might be better to use another language which would
> have given me more practical experience. I can't remember how many
> of the things we learned there I had picked up reading on my own
> (that's pretty much how I learn for the most part), but I've
> always wondered if knowing a certain amount enabled me to fly
> through those courses while not having all the material sink
> in as much as it could have. I am not really worried about that
> now. I have a lot more experience than back then. Learning to use
> a new programming language is not a big deal IMO. That's more
> of a practical concern which I prefer to do on my own anyway.
> The "practical" side of the argument is greatly outweighed by
> the "learning the concepts" side - especially now that I am
> older.
> One of my problems when I was taking undergrad courses was
> that I was more interested in doing things on my own instead
> of doing homework... but that's another story. I am sure I'd
> still have that problem, but I hope I am more disciplined now,
> however it just might be hopeless :-)
> Anyway, Bruce is co-director of the CSE department's Reusable
> Software Research Group. He's a really smart guy. I'm sure that's
> an understatement. Even if I wanted to argue about Resolve, I'd
> put a _lot_ of thought into it first, probably come to the
> conclusion that I'm possibly missing something that someone
> who is an expert in the field knows, and then spend a lot
> more time investigating it. Maybe if I wanted to argue about
> it I'd end up learning even more reasons why the course sequence
> is a good idea as is. Actually, I already feel that's the
> case. The arguments for it being the way it is seem sound to
> me. Bruce cares a lot about teaching. I am sure he's thought
> about this much more than anyone else here, and he knows what
> he's doing. I'm not saying that because he's a faculty member
> of the department in which I work either.
> If one is worried about this being a main item on their resume
> and people wondering what it is, I don't see that as an argument.
> It is good to not discuss the fact it was Resolve, but what you
> have learned in the sequence. Besides, you'll probably have
> time to learn "resume enhancing" languages before you're resume
> would depend on such factors anyway. Once you know the art of
> programming, picking up a "practical" language is not a big
> deal I think. I've seen the Resolve argument come up over
> the years, and the "practical language" argument means nothing
> to me at this point.
> So, my short answer is that I think the Resolve sequence is
> fine - so if I spoke up, I'd end up being on the wrong side
> of your battle :-)
> I'll give you one seemingly supportive argument about how
> I was annoyed in a group project once when two of us
> wanted to use C++ and the other two said they knew real
> C++ and not just Resolve... and they didn't, so it was
> annoying. There are reasons why this experience was silly
> however: a) Why would I ever have wanted to use C++?
> b) Either language would not have made a big difference.
> c) These group projects annoy me because I am a pain
> to program with, caring about using white space correctly,
> caring about things like using private data instead of
> just making everything public (some people miss the point),
> and planning out design first... using revision control.
> d) It really had absolutely nothing to do with Resolve
> itself. See, on the surface it seems supportive, but it
> isn't :-)
> I know this is all extremely way off topic. I'm bored right
> now.
> -- 
> Shaun Rowland
> rowland at cse.ohio-state.edu
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Timothy Normand Miller
millerti at cse.ohio-state.edu

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