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Srinath Vadlamani
Works at Paratools, Inc.
Lives in Boulder area, CO
88 followers|21,783 views
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Srinath Vadlamani

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Srinath Vadlamani

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Great job!
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I like simple stories like this that have great messages. 
 
A lesson in shortcuts.

Long ago, as the design of the Unix file system was being worked out, the entries . and .. appeared, to make navigation easier. I'm not sure but I believe .. went in during the Version 2 rewrite, when the file system became hierarchical (it had a very different structure early on).  When one typed ls, however, these files appeared, so either Ken or Dennis added a simple test to the program. It was in assembler then, but the code in question was equivalent to something like this:
   if (name[0] == '.') continue;
This statement was a little shorter than what it should have been, which is
   if (strcmp(name, ".") == 0 || strcmp(name, "..") == 0) continue;
but hey, it was easy.

Two things resulted.

First, a bad precedent was set. A lot of other lazy programmers introduced bugs by making the same simplification. Actual files beginning with periods are often skipped when they should be counted.

Second, and much worse, the idea of a "hidden" or "dot" file was created. As a consequence, more lazy programmers started dropping files into everyone's home directory. I don't have all that much stuff installed on the machine I'm using to type this, but my home directory has about a hundred dot files and I don't even know what most of them are or whether they're still needed. Every file name evaluation that goes through my home directory is slowed down by this accumulated sludge.

I'm pretty sure the concept of a hidden file was an unintended consequence. It was certainly a mistake.

How many bugs and wasted CPU cycles and instances of human frustration (not to mention bad design) have resulted from that one small shortcut about  40 years ago?

Keep that in mind next time you want to cut a corner in your code.

(For those who object that dot files serve a purpose, I don't dispute that but counter that it's the files that serve the purpose, not the convention for their names. They could just as easily be in $HOME/cfg or $HOME/lib, which is what we did in Plan 9, which had no dot files. Lessons can be learned.)
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Trying this out.
Sign up for HelloFax & Google Drive for a chance to win a MacBook Air & 1 TB of storage
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J is for Jaguar.
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Super computer at ORNL.  Will be the "fastest" in the next year.
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Hotel Bavaria
Gollierstraße 9, 80339 München, Germany
Very helpful staff and very accommodating. Being an american I was surprised by the lack of a bed sheet and wash cloth but those are both unnecessary. I recommend this place for any business traveler. This rooms could be small for a family stay.
Atmosphere Very GoodDecor Very GoodService Very Good
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This is great.  Puts git in more of a visual perspective.
Interactive Git Cheatsheet, categorizing commands based on what they affect.
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This is even foreign and intimidating to people in the field.  I think that the main message from the website is that this type of graphical representation of concepts goes a long way. 
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Who knows how to change the circles of an existing post?
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Found it: far right of line of pster's name is time/date then the "who can view" type heading.  Public, limited, etc.
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Have him in circles
88 people
Patricia Kelly's profile photo
Dave Kindig's profile photo
Julie Query's profile photo
kyle john's profile photo
Nathaniel Sizemore's profile photo
Brad Ewald's profile photo
Colleen Rozier's profile photo
Karl Mundt's profile photo
Natural Genetics's profile photo
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Currently
Boulder area, CO
Previously
Goldsboro, NC - Overseas - Carlsbad, New Mexico
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Occupation
Computational Scientist
Employment
  • Paratools, Inc.
    Computational Scientist, 2015 - present
    Performance analysis and development for current and future HPC applications.
  • UCAR/NCAR
    Software Engineer III, 2012 - 2015
  • Tech-X Corp
    Computational Scientist, 2012
  • Univ. of Washington
  • Univ. of Colorado
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Very helpful staff and very accommodating. Being an american I was surprised by the lack of a bed sheet and wash cloth but those are both unnecessary. I recommend this place for any business traveler. This rooms could be small for a family stay.
Atmosphere: Very GoodDecor: Very GoodService: Very Good
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
Very fast and better than fair priced service. They removed a very tall and dangerous cottonwood.
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
3 reviews
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Public - 3 years ago
reviewed 3 years ago