Cult-like behaviour [was Re: Kindness]

Chris Angelico rosuav at
Sun Jul 15 16:26:04 EDT 2018

On Mon, Jul 16, 2018 at 6:06 AM, Terry Reedy <tjreedy at> wrote:
> On 7/15/2018 7:37 AM, Marko Rauhamaa wrote:
>> One of the classic Unix and Internet tenets is that text is bytes is
>> text.
> Tenets of a faith may be wrong ;-).  An informatic paradigm from more than
> 45 years ago may be outdated and in need of revision.
> On byte storage and on the Internet, **everything** is (encoded) bytes, so
> saying 'text is bytes' says nothing because it is trivially true.

True, but only at *some* abstraction levels. We have to dive down low
enough that it's no longer text, but not so low that the bytes become
bits, or electrical signals. The ONLY reason that people think
"everything is bytes" is that most application programmers never have
to go to the lower abstraction layers - in the same way that most
application programmers pretend that TCP/IP sockets are pipes that you
push stuff onto and it comes out at the other end. It would be just as
valid for an accountant to assert that all money amounts are pencil
strokes - not numbers, not marks on paper, but movements of a pencil.


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