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[chat] Re: [SLUG] Ximian / Gnome and Xalf

On Thu, Jul 12, 2001 at 09:32:45AM +0100, Sean Neakums wrote:
> >>>>> "JW" == Jeff Waugh <jdub@xxxxxxxxxxx> writes:
>     JW> (The cynical prat in me says: Did you honestly expect a global
>     JW> option, and software to interact and cooperate correctly on
>     JW> this platform?)
> Go read the ICCCM.  Come back when you're done crying.

d00d, that document is devilspawn. I've recently spent my nights in pain
implementing the selection mechanism. WHY OH WHY OH WHY? why me?  why did
I choose to do this? and what sick evil twisted mind wrote this damn spec?
I don't know why I'm working with it, I just wanted to make a useful program.
I didn't know what I was getting myself in to. Nobody knows until they try
it. And once you start, you're unable to stop. You can't stop, if you stop
then you haven't completed it to spec. You can't fail on this, it's just a
few pages of text, how can that be so hard? So what if they use Atoms for
everything. So what if there's no explicit correlation between the target
type of a SelectionNotify event and the type of the property it indicates?
So what if the distinction is ambiguous? So what if the document is
littered with such atrocities? It's not the spec's fault, the spec is
authoritative. It's obviously YOUR (the implementor's) fault for
misunderstanding it. If you didn't misunderstand it, you wouldn't be here
complaining about it would you?

It's all about understanding. Obviously, once you come to understand how
the Atoms all fit together and exactly what the sequence of events for an
incremental transfer is, and once you come to APPRECIATE how Atoms are so
guilelessly delicately cast and communicated, its BEAUTIFUL it really is,
I'm like SO GLAD I spent my last few evenings bashing my head against this
damn document because now I can SEE CLEARLY and it all fits into place and
you know what, it damn well better because you just know that if one Atom
is out of place or you mistake the requestor's property's window with your
property's requestor's window or you forget to delete an empty property at
the right time, then, well, you're screwed and the whole thing is going to
come tumbling down and then who's going to look like a fool, huh? The
malicious bastards who designed ICCCM? NO! YOU you idiot fool coder for
misunderstanding such a seemingly benign (maligned) document. It all makes
perfect sense and who ever heard of synchronous error handling anyway?

Name one fucking program in the whole world that uses MULTIPLE selections
by choice? "ooh, for performance" well kiss my ass, if no other program
is going to fucking care about my packet then why the fuck would I send
such a thing? Optimize ZERO you fucking overengineered piece of shit. And
XA_SECONDARY? Who the fuck uses the SECONDARY selection? and who actually
queries TARGETS? All anyone ever fucking does with the selection is COPY
TEXT!! That's what its fucking used for, that's what its good for so why
is it such a fucking pain in the date to just share a fucking STRING? How
about HOSTNAME? ooh I want to find a random HOSTNAME. I'll just ask
whichever random process happens to be the selection owner right now to
tell me it's fucking HOSTNAME! Yes, that sounds like a worthwhile bit of
behaviour, let's just stick it in Xmu and hope noone notices for the next
fucking 30 years. Same goes for the fricking IP_ADDRESS. Oh yeah, and
the user's name. getenv("USER")? Nooooooooo! primitive idiot. Let's just
query a random selection owner and hope it feels like telling us. Yes, yes,
remind me to put THAT into production code; about as reliable as cleaning
your motherboard with fried eel and it smells bad too. Can I have mine in
Motif please?

The ICCCM is the coding equivalent of the Medieval rack, except its
advertised as some kind of X11 swingers party. "Wanna see hot sexy X
applications getting it on with each other live? Wanna join in the
action? Come and lie down here, we're all waiting for you!"

ZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzip! Then they close the handcuffs and you realise
you're lying in a cold dark room and all you can see are Atoms blocking
you in and every time you think you understand CCRRreeeeeeeaAACK! they
turn the rack a notch and you turn the page to find another 20 paragraphs
of hellborne protocol fantasy.

I've seen more elegant protocols in unlikely places. When blowflies fight
over a pile of elephant shit, their pecking order is a more elegant
protocol than ICCCM. You should watch it some time; if you're an X hacker,
you'll see the beauty. You'll wanna dig right in there and get your hands
dirty. Italian cabbies. English football hooligans -- if I want to get a
short message to the other side of the field, do I use my ICCCM-based X
Window PDA? no, I tell it to a random hooligan, poke him in the ribs and
hope he gets riled up enough to start a riot. Will my message get to the
other side? who knows? at least the resulting carnage will be more orderly
than that fucking Interclient protocol.

ALL OR NOTHING! ALL OR NOTHING! Either you understand it ALL, or you are


I. C. C. C. M.


Manual, like in "manual labour", like in "pain"
Conventions, like in "not required, just do ALL OF IT or you SUCK!"
Communications, like in "fucking overengineered carrier pigeons"
Client, like in "see that guy with the limp, he was one of my ``clients''"
Inter-, like in "Inter-nal bleeding"

A million monkeys hacking at a million protocol hammers couldn't come up 
with this shit in a million years, that's because it's EVIL, E-V-I-L,
it's irrational, it's discontinuous, it is a truth within our codebase that
cannot be derived from the axioms, it's OUT THERE, it was given to us to
degrade us and as a warning to our children. We may have been stupid enough
to work with the ICCCM but what of humanity? the humanity! oh! <sob>