379-05 (03255 dist, 3.8 mean)
Selected-By: "Omne (Scott L. Baker)" <email@example.com>
The Usenet Oracle has pondered your question deeply.
Your question was:
And in response, thus spake the Oracle:
> Oh great and wise Oracle, whose MIPS are beyond count, whose MFLOPS
> put ten thousand Crays to shame, whose disk capacity is such that
> all the GIFs ever posted to a.s.p. occupy only a fraction of it and
> who solves more problems each clock cycle than IBM has made for its
> customers with MVS,
> we have a problem here.
> We're doing program development here, and a lot of our programs dump
> core. So far, we've been storing them outside, but some people have
> complained because they found them 'olfactorily offensive' (they
> actually claim our programs stink!), while others fear the cores may be
> radioactive or toxic, thus presenting a hazard to general health and to
> ground water.
> Also, our bit bucket is full, so that garbage collection no longer
> works. EMACS has been out on strike recently, wanting a 'clean working
> environment' and higher wages, i. e. even more CPU time, while he was
> at it.
> What should we do?
} Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.
} Once upon a time there were three bears; Mummy bear, Daddy bear and
} Hacker bear. Now Hacker bear liked programming but wasn't particularly
} good at it, so his room gradually became littered with dumped cores.
} While he was young, Mummy bear didn't mind clearing up the dumped cores
} because Hacker bear was her son, but as time wore on and Hacker bear's
} programs became more adventurous, she gradually lost patience and made
} Hacker bear clean up his own mess.
} Meanwhile, Daddy bear had started to become ill, and tests showed that
} their house contained excessively large amounts of radon. The
} inspectors examined Hacker bear's room and found a huge mass of old
} cores which he'd swept under the carpet. Of course, they had to go,
} and Mummy and Daddy bear took away Hacker bear's computer.
} Things went smoothly for the next few months, and Daddy bear recovered.
} Then when Hacker bear entered senior school, he managed to persuade
} Mummy and Daddy bear that he'd improved his programming habits and that
} he needed it for school work. Mummy bear wasn't so sure but Daddy bear
} thought it would be OK. But young bears being what they are, and being
} exporsed to the wide environment of a big school, Hacker bear started
} to buy magazines like "WhizzBang" and "Computer Games Monthly".
} Hacker bear came out of school with good results -- although not
} outstanding, they were better than either he or his parents had hoped
} for. He went off to university where he started to get involved with
} mainframes. His parents were so proud when he brought home his first
} real 386, claiming that this was the real thing and that he wasn't
} interested in the 8086's he'd been seeing before. But at the start of
} the second year he got involved with hard programming -- C and
} assembler. His idea of exciting reading matter had become "The Joy of
} Programming" and "Communications of the ACM". And soon it got to the
} point where he couldn't program without reading hardcore trade
} magazines first.
} Hacker bear found it difficult to sustain the lifestyle he'd become
} accustomed to, and he began trading programming advice with others. He
} was a small-time programmer, still swearing by vi, when he was
} approached by a sinister character in black. It didn't take long
} before he was swayed onto the hard stuff and joined the denizens of the
} emacs-worshippers. He spent more and more time in front of the
} keyboard. He became pallid, his eyes became shrunken. If he spent
} more than a couple of hours away from the keyboard he began to shake.
} All-nighters changed from the occasional to the necessary. And all the
} time he felt this force driving him onwards ... he had to help those
} poor programmers who still used vi ... they hadn't seen the light ...
} Hacker bear could take them away from all this to a better place where
} nobody bothered with insert mode and the meta-key was the key to
} And then ... it happened.
} He'd been adding more and more functions to his editor, thinking that
} it didn't matter, he could go back to vi whenever he wanted to. But
} after a binge of 51 hours straight programming, he crashed.
} He was rushed to hospital. Doctors examined him and were shocked at
} the way a huge tumour of a core had grown inside his brain. He was
} subjected to every treatment they could think of but it was no use.
} Three days after his twenty-first birthday, Mummy and Daddy bear told
} the doctors to switch off his life support system, and he was sent his
} final SIGTERM.
} So take heed, O lowly mortal; clean out those cores, and tell EMACS
} what it can do with its higher wages. For it has already got a grip
} on your system and may even now be stalking its next victim.....
} You owe the Oracle a chip butty.