Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sudo Masochist

In a brainwave last night, I came up with a new pleasantly daft alter-identity.

What is a Sudo Masochist? Someone who gains dubious pleasure from the frustration of fiddling around on the Unix command line. [1]

( OK, I did warn you it was daft :) )

I always hated the command-line as a way of controlling a computer.

My first 3 computers, a Sinclair ZX81, Apple ][e then Apple ][gs all had to be controlled through the keyboard in one way or another ...... I always thought it was stupid, why have a computer if you have to struggle so hard to get it to do anything? The computer should be intelligent, not me !! (Which considering I was teaching myself 6502 Assembler, was pretty daft as well I guess).

My hate of the command-line was really reinforced when I did a short course in C programming at the then Polytechnic of Central London. None of us on the course learnt any C, we all struggled too much with the VaxVMS command-line and text editor to get anywhere with the language at all ...... anyway, I did not want to learn C, I wanted to learn Prolog (it sounded so much cooler) but I was the only person who elected to do the course that year :(

So then of course REAL computers came along!! I got a second-hand Mac IIci and thought: I am a confirmed GUI guy, I will never see the command-line again, and I was right for quite a long time ....... of course until MacOSX came along.

I use the command-line now of course, I suppose I grudgingly realise why it has survived all this time ...... I used to run MacHTTP on a Mac IIsi at Westminster University. I remember once an intense struggle in a hotel room in Melbourne on a slow modem and a long-distance call, trying to connect to it back in London via Timbuktu screen sharing, so I could click on a dialogue box which was blocking the OS.

So the other day I found myself doing a complete software download, compile, install and configure on a remote Mac via SSH of the Open Source CalDAV. Why? Because I was a bit bored and thought it might be interesting to play with.

Yup, I am a Sudo Masochist !!!!

On a whim this morning I grabbed the name on GMail :)
Much to my chagrin, the new account is immediately activated with IMAP available, and I am still waiting for it to be enabled on my main account :(

NB. For my non-geek readers, "sudo" is the command you use to pretend to be somebody else so you can issue a command on their behalf. Typically you pretend to be the 'root' user, the user who can do anything, even destructive things. Get a sudo command wrong and you can destroy your whole system.

Geek humour.


Sylvain Wallez said...

Hey, it was not Apple ][e, but Apple //e! Apple changed the typo after the Apple ][+

I know that because of the hundreds of hours I spent in front of the Apple //e I owned back in... er... a long time ago :-)

Jerm said...

He He He!!
Thanks for the correction Sylvain :)

Bertrand Delacretaz said...

The "sudo make me a sandwich" cartoon at is a good explanation as well. Sudo *is* very useful ;-)

Jerm said...

Thanks Bertrand :)

There's already a link to your blog, showing the cartoon, at the end of the post :-P