July 31st, 2005 at 07:25pm
Occasionally Slashdot readers leave interesting comments, usually I don’t notice them because I have better things to do, on this occasion I noticed a very good description of various programming languages by “WebCowboy”.
Thinking about it, you could have a similar discussion about languages–“C culture” vs. “Perl culture” vs “VB culture”. C might be like iron, C++ stainless steel. Java might be aluminum foil. Perl would be binder twine. VB…hmm….styrofoam peanuts…or silly string?
WebCowboy also had some interesting, although poorly spelled and punctuated, comments about mainframes.
I can’t say I really know for sure what a “mainframe toy” would be–mainframes don’t seem like fun at all. I think “mainframers” may have forgotten what childhood was like, or perhaps hatched from a pod fully grown, who knows. I do not have a lot of exposure to that philospohy/culture. If I HAD to pick a toy that was most mainframe-like I might say Mecanno, because like UN*X they are fery uniform in structure, however you have tediously fiddle with those little screws to put anything together, just like a mainframe–you have your “special screwdrivers” (arcane knowledge) and have to follow tedious processes to get things done. Or, perhaps it is like building a birdhous with popsicle sticks, where you have to tediously glue the pieces together with Elmers glue, wait for it to dry before putting it out. In either case, the result is very strong/robust but difficult or impossible to change do you don’t bother–you just retrofitr what is there until you get an extremely bizarre looking contraption that is ugly but still very sturdy and dependable.