Accademic snobbery? Re: [Oberon] n-o: timer-reset chit-chat

John Drake jmdrake_98 at
Tue Oct 21 06:10:17 CEST 2003

Hello all,

Ok, just when I think I've heard it all. ;-)

I can only speak for myself.  I'm currently not
an accademic and I've never been an "Oberon
accademic".  Sure I worked it in when
possible (almost "against" my advisor's 
wishes) but it was never a crucial part
of anything I did.  From early on I have
been a "hobby programmer/user".  Currently
I work Oberon into my "real job".  I use
the ODBC driver in Linz Oberon V4 to do simple
data management tasks and the HTML-4 parser
available for System 3 (WebNavigator) to parse
SAS output.

That disclaimer out of the way I have my
own counter-rant.  Any non-commercial
programming community is only as strong as
it's "hobby" users, and frankly we all
leave a lot to be desired.  Accademic
snobbery preventing "HOWTOs"?  Please.
How hard is it to put together a HOWTO
on anything an put it on a web-site?
How much new Oberon documentation is
there?  As someone has already pointed
out there are HOWTOs in Oberon already.
(The HOWTOs for Gfx are fantastic).
Could there be more?  Certainly.  
Where's the best place to initially 
publish HOWTOs?  The web and in HTML!
Yeah, I know.  People want there stuff
to be part of "the distribution".  But
why wait for that?  Look at some of the
more vibrant programming communities
such as REBOL or Euphoria.  The 
documentation available in the form of
online tutorials written by end-users
far outstrips what's available in the
official distribution.

Native Oberon on sourceforge?  Not a
bad idea.  But it would be nice if there
was a CVS client for Native Oberon.
There is a WebDAV client and sever for
BlueBottle Oberon and a WebDAV client for
AOSWindows.  Has anyone besides a small
handfull of people actually tried it?
If no, why not.  If yes, where is the
feedback?  I was make some progress
testing it out a couple of months ago,
but lately I've been swamped with work.
(No virus problems here).

Games?  Wrote one (PacMan).  Anyone actually
working on a 2-D game and need some pointers?
W3C standard browser?  See WebNavigator.
Does it need work?  You bet!  But rather than
being "snobbish" about it, the author actually
asked for some help some time ago.

A computer community (especially a non-commercial
one) lives and dies on feedback.  Ok, so now we
all know someone had a problem compiling Coco
generated files under n-o.  Great.  Now how about
some info about the ATG grammar you were trying
to compile?  How about the error message you got?
How does the problem get fixed if it's not detailed?

One thing that Chris has said in the past that I
will agree with is that it's also important once
we've fixed something or worked a problem out
that we share what we did with the group.  I've
done that sometimes, but not always.  Again I'm
only working on "hobby" time.  Perhaps a web-portal
would by a good "groupware" option to consider,
or even a Wiki (if one doesn't already exist).
But the bottom line is that someone in the
community will have to take the "bull by the
horns" and actually do it.


John M. Drake
--- Vasile Rotaru <vrotaru at> wrote:
> easlab at wrote:
> > Very quiet here lately ?
> Indeed.
> > How many of you got nailed by the swen virus ?
> > Many, judging from NewsGroup reports.
> > Regretably (because 'bringing it out' would help
> the combined
> > effort to fix it) many people like to be macho and
> deny problems.
> >  I had to change:
> >   eas-lab at
> > to:
> >   easlab at
> > because my 10M mail-box quota was filling up each
> hour, with
> > swen virii.
>  I was affected also, but not that hard. I have
> choosen the "coward way"
> out of this and I have added a filter to my
> server-side mailbox which
> deletes every mail which is greater than 20000
> bytes. Most unwanted
> mails are.
> > 
> > The lack of these types of simple 'Howtos' for
> would be new users
> > is one reason why n-o usage will never grow.
> > 
> > One reason is the academic snobbery, that Howtos
> are for the gutter.
> > 
> > 
>   Well, unless something unexpected happens, n-o
> usage will never grow. As the FAQ says:  "The system
> is being maintained by volunteers", and even the
> latest release is "bitrotten" here and there. (The
> files generated by Coco wil not compile, for
> example).
>   But, I guess, the "academic snobbery" is something
> we will just have to live with. "Akademiker"-s
> should be first and mainly interested in research.
>   I remember to have heared about a dispute between
> Torvalds and Tannenbaum -- monolithic kernel versus
> microkernel. The monolithic kernels were not "hot
> stuff" when Torvalds wrote Linux, but this one
> happened to be wildly usefull.
>   Maybe a "" or something like
> this focused on "immeditate usability" may help, but
> I still doubt. You know computers nowadays can do a
> lot more, than just editing text and compiling
> programs, and people owning computers want to get
> the most of them. 
>   Games, multimedia and so on. Besides, you may
> think that Mozilla is "indecent sofware" (I kind of
> do), but still, it implements the W3C standards and
> it is available. And there are more data formats
> which need "pig software" to treat them, and the
> Oberon(n-o) manpower is so limited... So, I'm rather
> sceptical. 
>   Still, there would be no harm to open a thread
> about "Increasing the Oberon marketshare" and it may
> be even interesting.
> Cheers, Vasile
> --
> Oberon at mailing list for ETH Oberon and
> related systems

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