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Jargons of Info Tech industry

 
 
Xah Lee
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      08-12-2005
Jargons of Info Tech industry

(A Love of Jargons)

Xah Lee, 2002 Feb

People in the computing field like to spur the use of spurious jargons.
The less educated they are, the more they like extraneous jargons, such
as in the Unix & Perl community. Unlike mathematicians, where in
mathematics there are no fewer jargons but each and every one are
absolutely necessary. For example, polytope, manifold,
injection/bijection/surjection, group/ring/field.., homological,
projective, pencil, bundle, lattice, affine, topology, isomorphism,
isometry, homeomorphism, aleph-0, fractal, supremum/infimum, simplex,
matrix, quaternions, derivative/integral, ... and so on. Each and every
one of these captures a concept, for which practical and theoretical
considerations made the terms a necessity. Often there are synonyms for
them because of historical developments, but never “jargons for
jargon's sake” because mathematicians hate bloats and irrelevance.

The jargon-soaked stupidity in computing field can be grouped into
classes. First of all, there are jargons for marketing purposes. Thus
you have Mac OS “X”, Windows “XP”, Sun OS to Solaris and the
versioning confusion of 4.x to 7 to 8 and also the so called
“Platform” instead of OS. One flagrant example is Sun Microsystem's
Java stuff. Oak, Java, JDK, JSDK, J2EE, J2SE enterprise edition or no,
from java 1.x to 1.2 == Java 2 now 1.3, JavaOne, JFC, Jini, JavaBeans,
entity Beans, Awk, Swing... ****ing stupid Java and **** Sun
Microsystems. This is just one example of Jargon hodgepodge of one
single commercial entity. Marketing jargons cannot be avoided in modern
society. They abound outside computing field too. The Jargons of
marketing came from business practice, and they can be excusable
because they are kinda a necessity or can be considered as a naturally
evolved strategy for attracting attention in a laissez-faire economy
system.

The other class of jargon stupidity is from computing practitioners, of
which the Unix/Perl community is exemplary. For example, the name Unix
& Perl themselves are good examples of buzzing jargons. Unix is
supposed to be opposed of Multics and hints on the offensive and
tasteless term eunuchs. PERL is cooked up to be “Practical Extraction
& Reporting Language” and for the precise marketing drama of being
also “Pathologically Eclectic Rubbish Lister”. These types of
jargons exudes juvenile humor. Cheesiness and low-taste is their
hall-mark. If you are familiar with unixism and perl programing, you'll
find tons and tons of such jargons embraced and verbalized by unix &
perl lovers. e.g. grep, glob, shell, pipe, man, regex, more, less,
tarball, shebang, Schwartzian Transform, croak, bless, interpolation,
TIMTOWTDI, DWIM, RFC, RTFM, I-ANAL, YMMV and so on.

There is another class of jargon moronicity, which i find them most
damaging to society, are jargons or spurious and vague terms used and
brandished about by programers that we see and hear daily among design
meetings, online tech group postings, or even in lots of computing
textbooks or tutorials. I think the reason for these, is that these
massive body of average programers usually don't have much knowledge of
significant mathematics, yet they are capable of technical thinking
that is not too abstract, thus you ends up with these people defining
or hatching terms a-dime-a-dozen that's vague, context dependent,
vacuous, and their commonality are often a result of sopho-morons
trying to sound big.

Here are some examples of the terms in question:

• anonymous functions or lambda or lamba function
• closure
• exceptions (as in Java)
• list, array, vector, aggregate
• hash (or hash table) ← fantastically stupid
• rehash (as in csh or tcsh)
• regular expression (as in regex, grep, egrep, fgrep)
• name space (as in Scheme vs Common Lisp debates)
• depth first/breadth first (as in tree traversing.)
• operator
• operator overloading
• polymorphism
• inheritance
• first class objects
• pointers, references
• tail recursion

My time is limited, so i'll just give a brief explanation of my thesis
on selective few of these examples among the umpteen.

In a branch of math called lambda calculus, in which much theories of
computation are based on, is the origin of the jargon _lambda function_
that is so frequently reciprocated by advanced programering donkeys. In
practice, a subroutine without side-effects is supposed to be what
“lambda function” means. Functional languages often can define them
without assigning them to some variable (name), therefore the
“function without side-effects” are also called “anonymous
functions”. One can see that these are two distinct concepts. If
mathematicians are designing computer languages, they would probably
just called such thing _pure functions_. The term conveys the meaning,
without the “lamba” abstruseness. (in fact, the mathematics
oriented language Mathematica refers to lambda function as pure
function, with the keyword Function.) Because most programers are
sopho-morons who are less capable of clear thinking but nevertheless
possess human vanity, we can see that they have not adopted the clear
and fitting term, but instead you see lambda function this and that
obfuscations dropping from their mouths constantly.

Now the term “closure” can and indeed have meant several things in
the computing field. The most common is for it to mean a subroutine
that holds some memory but without some disadvantages of modifying a
global variable. Usually such is a feature of a programing language.
When taken to extreme, we have the what's called Object Oriented
Programing methodology and languages. The other meaning of
“closure” i have seen in text books, is for it to indicate that the
things in the language is “closed” under the operations of the
language. For example, for some languages you can apply operations or
subroutines to any thing in the language. (These languages are often
what's called “dynamic typing” or “typeless”). However, in
other languages, things have types and cannot be passed around
subroutines or operators arbitrarily. One can see that the term
“closure” is quite vague in conveying its meaning. The term
nevertheless is very popular among talkative programers and dense
tutorials, precisely because it is vague and mysterious. These
pseudo-wit living zombies, never thought for a moment that they are
using a moronic term, mostly because they never clearly understand the
concepts behind the term among the contexts. One can particular see
this exhibition among Perl programers. (for an example of the
fantastically stupid write-up on closure by the Perl folks, see
“perldoc perlfaq7” and “perldoc perlref”.)

in the so-called “high-level” computing languages, there are often
data types that's some kind of a collection. The most illustrative is
LISt Processing language's lists. Essentially, the essential concept is
that the language can treat a collection of things as if it's a single
entity. As computer languages evolve, such collection entity feature
also diversified, from syntax to semantics to implementation. Thus,
beside lists, there are also terms like vector, array, matrix, tree,
hash/“hash table”/dictionary. Often each particular term is to
convey a particular implementation of collection so that it has certain
properties to facilitate specialized uses of such groupy. The Java
language has such groupy that can illustrate the point well. In Java,
there are these hierarchy of collection-type of things:

Collection
Set (AbstractSet, HashSet)
SortedSet (TreeSet)
List (AbstractList, LinkedList, Vector, ArrayList)

Map (AbstractMap, HashMap, Hashtable)
SortedMap (TreeMap)

The words without parenthesis are Java Interfaces, and ones in are
implementations. The interface hold a concept. The deeper the level,
the more specific or specialized. The implementation carry out
concepts. Different implementation gives different algorithmic
properties. Essentially, these hierarchies of Java show the potential
complexity and confusion around groupy entities in computer languages.
Now, among the programers we see daily, who never really thought out of
these things, will attach their own specific meaning to
list/array/vector/matrix/etc type of jargons in driveling and
arguments, oblivious to any thought of formalizing what the **** they
are really talking about. (one may think from the above tree-diagram
that Java the language has at least put clear distinction to interface
and implementation, whereas in my opinion they are one fantastic ****
up too, in many respects.)

---------------------
This post is archived at
http://xahlee.org/UnixResource_dir/writ/jargons.html
© Copyright 2002 by Xah Lee.

Xah
http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed)
http://xahlee.org/

 
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Erik Max Francis
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      08-12-2005
Xah Lee wrote:

> Jargons of Info Tech industry
>
> (A Love of Jargons)
>
> Xah Lee, 2002 Feb


Congratulations, this time you managed to get to your second paragraph
before your Tourette's kicked in.

--
Erik Max Francis && (E-Mail Removed) && http://www.alcyone.com/max/
San Jose, CA, USA && 37 20 N 121 53 W && AIM erikmaxfrancis
Behind an able man there are always other able men.
-- (a Chinese proverb)
 
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Jrgen Exner
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      08-12-2005
Xah Lee wrote:
> Jargons of Info Tech industry
>
> (A Love of Jargons)
>
> Xah Lee, 2002 Feb
>
> People in the computing field like to spur the use of spurious
> jargons. The less educated they are, the more they like extraneous

[...]

Just for the records at Google et.al. in case someone stumbles across Xah's
masterpieces in the future:
Xah is very well known as the resident troll in many NGs and his
'contributions' are less then useless.

Best is to just ignore him.

But for heaven's sake unless you want to embarrass yourself really badly
don't take any of his postings serious because he has proven again and again
that he has no clue whatsoever about computer science or programming.

jue


 
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Roedy Green
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      08-12-2005
On 11 Aug 2005 18:23:42 -0700, "Xah Lee" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote or
quoted :

>The Jargons of
>marketing came from business practice, and they can be excusable
>because they are kinda a necessity or can be considered as a naturally
>evolved strategy for attracting attention in a laissez-faire economy
>system.


Jargon is a name that hides what it does. The idea is those in the
know can sound much more intelligent than they really are.

In Java you have the JDK -- Java Development Kit. That is a pretty
clear name for what it is.

You have the JRE the Java Runtime Environment. I might have shortened
it to Java Base.

Oak, Tiger, Dragonfly etc are internal codenames. They are really
nobody's business but Sun's.


You have JAF -- Java Activation Framework. Now that's jargon. You have
no idea knowing its name what it is for.

JMF Java Media Framework could have been shortened to Java Media.

JavaMail is pretty clear.

Java Web Start is self-explanatory. Perhaps Java Web Launch would be
a tiny bit clearer.

J2EE Java 2 Enterprise Edition. The 2 is a lot of Bullshit. Sun
marketing people keep trying to screw with the logical progression of
version numbers. The edition says nothing, and the Enterprise gives
you a hint this is not for hobbyist programmers.


J2SE Java 2 Standard Edition. This is needlessly wordy. they could
have called it Standard Java.

If you use short names then you don't need acronyms. Without
acronyms, names can be self-explanatory.

I think your beef is not with Jargon, but with so many acronyms.

 
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Keith Thompson
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      08-12-2005
Roedy Green <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
> On 11 Aug 2005 18:23:42 -0700, "Xah Lee" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote or
> quoted :

[ the usual nonsense ]
>
> Jargon [...]

[snip]

Take a look at the Newsgroups: line. Then look for other articles Xah
Lee has posted, and see if you can make sense of any of them. If you
must post a followup, at least limit the newsgroups to those where it
might be topical.

+-------------------+ .:\:\:/:/:.
| PLEASE DO NOT | :.:\:\:/:/:.:
| FEED THE TROLLS | :=.' - - '.=:
| | '=(\ 9 9 /)='
| Thank you, | ( (_) )
| Management | /`-vvv-'\
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| | @@@ / /|,,,,,|\ \
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\||/ | | | jgs (______Y______)
/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\//\/\\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\
================================================== ============

--
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Ulrich Hobelmann
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      08-12-2005
Jrgen Exner wrote:
> Just for the records at Google et.al. in case someone stumbles across Xah's
> masterpieces in the future:
> Xah is very well known as the resident troll in many NGs and his
> 'contributions' are less then useless.


And you are the resident troll-reply service, posting this reply every time?

> Best is to just ignore him.


You just broke that rule.

> But for heaven's sake unless you want to embarrass yourself really badly
> don't take any of his postings serious because he has proven again and again
> that he has no clue whatsoever about computer science or programming.


Fine. Many people don't. Whoever takes the time to read Xah's postings
(I don't) will probably be able to find that out by himself.

--
I believe in Karma. That means I can do bad things to people
all day long and I assume they deserve it.
Dogbert
 
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Thomas Fritsch
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      08-12-2005
Xah Lee wrote:
> [...]
> My time is limited, so i'll just give a brief explanation of my thesis
> [...]

This is what psychology calls a disordered self-perception.

--
"Thomas:Fritsch$ops:de".replace(':','.').replace(' $','@')

 
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Mike Schilling
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      08-12-2005

"Jrgen Exner" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:BATKe.19727$0d.11740@trnddc07...
> Xah Lee wrote:
>> Jargons of Info Tech industry
>>
>> (A Love of Jargons)
>>
>> Xah Lee, 2002 Feb
>>
>> People in the computing field like to spur the use of spurious
>> jargons. The less educated they are, the more they like extraneous

> [...]
>
> Just for the records at Google et.al. in case someone stumbles across
> Xah's
> masterpieces in the future:
> Xah is very well known as the resident troll in many NGs and his
> 'contributions' are less then useless.


He sent a lovely one to some of the language groups the other day,
explaining why Jonathan Swift was a poor writer.


 
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jan V
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      08-12-2005
> Xah is very well known as the resident troll in many NGs and his
'contributions' are less then useless.
>
> Best is to just ignore him.


Did you know that some deranged people take sexual pleasure out of starting
fires? Apparently some of the latest forest/bush fires in southern Europe
were even started by firemen (with their pants down?).

Maybe characters like Xah take some kind of sexual pleasure out of posting
his kind of posts... the tought doesn't bear thinking, does it?


 
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joe@invalid.address
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      08-12-2005
"Mike Schilling" <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

> "Jrgen Exner" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:BATKe.19727$0d.11740@trnddc07...
> > Xah Lee wrote:
> >> Jargons of Info Tech industry
> >>
> >> (A Love of Jargons)
> >>
> >> Xah Lee, 2002 Feb
> >>
> >> People in the computing field like to spur the use of spurious
> >> jargons. The less educated they are, the more they like extraneous

> > [...]
> >
> > Just for the records at Google et.al. in case someone stumbles across
> > Xah's
> > masterpieces in the future:
> > Xah is very well known as the resident troll in many NGs and his
> > 'contributions' are less then useless.

>
> He sent a lovely one to some of the language groups the other day,
> explaining why Jonathan Swift was a poor writer.


That's remarkable, considering he doesn't realize "jargon" is a
collective noun.

Joe
 
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