Autocoding project proposal.

Kragen Sitaker kragen at
Sun Jan 27 17:52:33 CET 2002

"Timothy Rue" <threeseas at> writes:
> On 24-Jan-02 22:20:00 Kragen Sitaker <kragen at> wrote:
> >Well, I don't know about the bolts, but there are definitely some nuts
> >involved!  There's an explanation there of how some crop circles
> >explain the structure of "VIC".  But, hey, you could say the same
> >thing about Xanadu or geodesic domes.
> What is important with that pictogram? Who made it or the fact it does
> represent some concepts in a visual manner:

I present it as evidence that you're a bit crazy.

> > does list some
> >details.  There's some kinda ugly code there that implements "IQ", but
> >I can't really tell what it does by skimming it.
> Could you be more specific to what this "ugly code" is?

Sorry to be ambiguous; I meant

> As is a document that simple contains near hidden markers
> for what is a word, a sub-definition and a file. Which are : :: :::
> as mentioned in the documentation itself.

Yeah, I could actually figure out that much; I just couldn't figure
out what words, sub-definitions and files were.

> >Could you post an example consisting of some input, some output, how
> >you get the output with IQ, and why that output is useful?
> If you have python installed on your system and in your path assignment:
> get and put IQ verion 0.351 in a directory along with
> cd to that directory and from a shell
> ->python
> This will give you help of command line options
> ->python -k * *
> this will list all keys in the file and it may even look like
> a table of content.

python -k '*' '*' actually does that for me.
Playing with it a bit and reading your web pages suggests the
following bits:

- its output is in the same format as its input file and consists of portions
  of its input file (with transclusions, see below)
- the input is structured as a two-level outline (?)
- -k lists only the headings instead of also listing the contents
- the first argument after the name of the file is a pattern for the top-level
  headings ("words") to pick out; '*' means everything, but otherwise
  it looks like it might be a regex that's matched against the beginning of
  the heading
- the second argument after the name of the file is a pattern for the
  second-level headings ('sub-definitions') to pick out; '' or '*' means
  everything, omitting the argument entirely means nothing
- :: on a line by itself effectively ends sub-definitions and brings you back
  up to the "word" level
- ::: is a link to another file that is transcluded (which can be named by URL)
  although unfortunately the file that is transcluded in is in HTML
  and is therefore in the wrong format

So this is sort of marginally useful, but it's a long way between this
reality and the level of hype you're generating.  What am I missing?

> Regarding the Arexx ports and using them to automate programs, and how GNU
> doesn't really have an established single standard for adding such a port
> to programs, libraries, devices, etc., it is possible to figure this out
> so that it is simple to add such a port to existing program, etc.. In
> seeing the advantage of such, I realize GNU could in essense, change over
> nite in having ports installed in the majority of programs, etc..

Well, the Unixy programs have a shell interface; they're software
tools rather than programs you spend time in.  (Software tools became
so popular that eventually a wide variety of software got called
"tools", but originally the term meant a piece of software you'd use
in the same way you'd use a screwdriver, not the way you'd use a car
or an RDBMS.)

> Kragen, where do you fall in the spectrum mentioned in the beginning of
> this post?

I think you're too nuts to be able to tell which of your ideas are
good ones, and that you're overestimating the value of the ones you
have (and the clarity of your prose) as a result.  If you take the
time to learn to program, you will be able to tell which ones are good
and which ones aren't.  I also suggest that you develop relationships
with other people, in person, where you are helpful to them, because
this requires listening to them, which helps ground you.  And if
you're on any drugs that might be making your condition worse ---
amphetamines or caffeine, for example --- that you abstain.  (In my
case, excessive Ritalin caused the same condition, although
fortunately I didn't have Usenet access at the time --- I was nine.)

To answer your question, though, I'm spending a lot of my own time
working on this project and that, but also making a living.  I'd
rather spend my time on things that are likely to produce results, and
I think other people would too.

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