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Somebody get the sawdust! (0, Troll)

Ads are broken (718513) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569246)

Emetophilia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Emetophilia is a sexual fetish in which an individual is aroused by vomiting or observing others vomit. There are different levels of emetophilia. Most only discuss their vomiting and that of other people, as in Internet story boards. Many others collect pictures of people vomiting, and the most extreme emetophiles make these pictures and videos. When people carry emetophilia to an extreme by actually vomiting, especially on a partner, it is called a Roman shower, after the frequent induction of vomiting at Roman feasts.

An online site theorizes, "vomiting was probably something either arousing or frightening to emetophiles at some point ... it aroused powerful emotions, and the emetophile later called upon these emotions for purpose of sexual gratification." (Frequently Asked Questions about Vomiting (http://emetophobia.bravepages.com/vomiting.html))

Emetophilia is closely related to emetophobia, the fear of vomiting, since some people have developed emetophilia as a result of emetophobia and many emetophiles, ironically, continue to fear vomiting themselves despite the amount of time they spend fantasizing about other people vomiting.

Emetophiles are most interested in the vomiting of people they are interested in sexually. (e.g., heterosexual men seek to learn about the vomiting of heterosexual women, etc.) Fantasizing about celebrities vomiting is commonplace, and is perhaps fueled by the bumper crop of vomit scenes in the movies and on TV in recent years.

Re:Somebody get the sawdust! (-1, Offtopic)

Bleeblah (602029) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569250)

Dude...you wasted the almighty First Post to spamtroll?

Additional information (5, Informative)

HyperChicken (794660) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569252)

The books homepage, http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~knuth/taocp.ht ml [stanford.edu] offers the fascicle for download for free. http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~knuth/fasc1.ps .gz [stanford.edu] You can still get $2.56 for each bug found, I believe.

Mirrors:
http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu.nyud.net:8090/~ knuth/taocp.html [nyud.net]
http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu.nyud.net:8090/~ knuth/fasc1.ps.gz [nyud.net]

So who is Art, anyway? How does Mad Magazine fit? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569620)

I did read once that the "Art" in "The Art of Computer Programming" is actually another programmer. IIRC it was in one of Peter van der Linden's books.

The same story also claimed that Professor Knuth was also a contributor of some note to Mad Magazine.

Re:Additional information is online (1)

KarmaBlackballed (222917) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569752)

Knuth is okay. But I prefer google. More pages.

Seen that LONG ago (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569261)

That's hardly Knu. Haha, really, I had a link to it going back at least two years... can I find it? Nope, I got rid of it it was so old.

Re:Seen that LONG ago, and here's the proof (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569405)

I have this on my NT4 box.

1999-05-28 13:58 116 Amazon.com_ A Glance_ Art of Computer Programming.url

[InternetShortcut]
URL=http://www.amazon.com/ex ec/obidos/ASIN/0201038 048/o/qid=910738318/sr=2-1/002-8742586-1066816

According to this, it's already released (Apr 2004):

http://www.bestwebbuys.com/books/compare/isbn/02 01 038048

/.ed (3, Funny)

mrwoody (856093) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569266)

The next volume will be:
"The Art of Being Slashdotted"

Re:/.ed (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569587)

Your mom.

Re:/.ed (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569594)

Oh god, that was horrible! I mean it was great but it was horrible.

It's been a while. (5, Informative)

robbyjo (315601) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569268)

It's been a while. Dr. Knuth already finished pre-fascicle 4. Get it here [stanford.edu] . It's far from done (well, according to his plan [stanford.edu] ).

Nifty from the Knuth (3, Informative)

gateman9 (733995) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569274)

Nifty, but mainly from the whole CS angle. And it seems a bit more approachable that the third book was, although some of that has to do with the fact that I was relatively unschooled when I first read them.

It'll be a pleasure to add it to my bookshelf.

Re:Nifty from the Knuth (5, Insightful)

HyperChicken (794660) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569453)

Adding it to your bookshelf does no good: You have to read it.

Re:Nifty from the Knuth (1)

gateman9 (733995) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569492)

Ayuh, no book makes it to my bookshelf without first having been read. Although by the time this thing comes out (2007-ish IIRC), I may need more shelving.

Re:Nifty from the Knuth (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569696)

Nah, you just have to figure out how to learn by osmosis.

Actually, on of my friends was telling me about a conversation she had about what would be a cool superpower, and suggested the ability to touch a book and instantly gain all the knowledge inside. Think of heading to the library and just running your hand down the shelves...

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569275)

fp ?

Many own, few read (5, Insightful)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569284)

How many people have bought the entire Knuth series just to occupy the moral high ground on their bookshelf? For my money, Cormen/Leiserson/Rivest's "Introduction to Algorithms" is preferred for almost all related material you might want to investigate.

Re:Many own, few read (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569357)

TAOCP Volume 1, First Edition, 1968
TAOCP Volume 2, First Edition, 1969
TAOCP Volume 3, First Edition, 1973

Introduction to Algorithms, First Edition, 1990

Notice the slight gap in publication dates?

Re:Many own, few read (4, Informative)

fm6 (162816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569493)

I seem to recall reading that TAOCP was originally intended as a single volume. The project grew, because computer science grew as fast as Knuth could write. In the late 70s, Knuth joked that people should please stop doing any research, so he could finish the series!

I used to assume that Knuth simply acknowledged that CS had gotten too big to be summarized by a single introductory text. But it turns out that he's still working on it, even as the size of the project continues to grow. ("Volume 4" will actually be 4 volumes [stanford.edu] !) There's some weird obsession here, possibly characterized by Knuth's abandonment of email [stanford.edu] and certainly connected with his early retirement [stanford.edu] .

It's also strange that Knuth still insists providing code for a pseudo machine [stanford.edu] . I'm a CS flunkout, so my opinion isn't worth much, but this does seem to be a thoroughly obsolete idea. Especially when you consider how many effort Knuth expends redesigning the machine!

Re:Many own, few read (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569511)

Using MIX/MMIX is brilliant.

First, it stops copy-and-pasters. You have to actually read the books to gain knowledge.

Second, it shows the algorithms on a low level. Very good.

Third, as he's said, he doesn't have to update his book when the "language of the decade" changes.

Re:Many own, few read (3, Insightful)

Alomex (148003) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569545)

Knuth is stubborn. That is his best and his worst attribute. He should have given up on MIX and on writing volume 4 on his own a long time ago. On the other hand if he weren't that stubborn, he would have never produced the first two volumes or the TeX formatting engine.

Re:Many own, few read (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569597)

A pseudo machine is actually a very good idea. It lets you present the ideas that you want to present in a fashion that is clear-cut and precise, without relying upon a given platform being available however many years down the track.

Case in point: the first volume of TAOCP was published in the late 1960s. How many systems that were available in the 1960s are still available? None. Even IBM's mainframes have undergone architectural changes between then and now, although they do (or at least should; I don't follow that area closely) maintain backwards compatibility.

With MIX (and now MMIX), though, this isn't an issue. You can take the code from the old volumes and run it on an appropriate emulator without any problems whatsoever.

The goal of TAOCP is to educate. Not to train. The former teaches you to use your brain and apply the concepts to whatever platform you are using. The latter teaches you how to do things on one platform; move you to something different, and you're hosed.

Re:Many own, few read (1)

IWannaBeAnAC (653701) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569551)

Isn't that because he got frustrated with the state of typography in his books, so did the proper hacker thing and spent a decade or so writing TeX?

Re:Many own, few read (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569371)

[I haven't read "Introduction to Algorithms", so take this with a grain of salt.] The Knuth books are about more than the algorithms: They're about philosophy of programming.

Re:Many own, few read (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569396)

The Knuth books are about more than the algorithms: They're about philosophy of programming.

No, they really aren't. They are about algorithms.

Knuth isn't God. His books aren't the Bible. He's just a computer science professor who wrote some books on the topic of algorithms.

Yes, the books are thorough. Yes, they are dense and information packed. But no, they aren't the be-all and end-all of Computer Science.

You may now mod me down for speaking heresy.

Re:Many own, few read (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569402)

You're not speaking heresy. That's quite exact and true.

Some other books do a much better job at conveying the philosophy of programming, (for example SICP).

Re:Many own, few read (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569506)

Knuth isn't God. His books aren't the Bible. He's just a computer science professor who wrote some books on the topic of algorithms.

Yes. And Einsteins wasn't God either. His books aren't the Bible. He was just a theoretical physics professor who wrote some books on the topic of relativity. Your point is?

Re:Many own, few read (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569517)

The point is to stop worshipping the man and reading into the text things that aren't there.

Of course you were reading the whole thread, weren't you?

Re:Many own, few read (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569548)

The point is to stop worshipping the man and reading into the text things that aren't there.

Such as? FYI Knuth have written his own exegesis of the Bible [stanford.edu] so there is no point in confusing his other books with it, isn't it?

Of course you were reading the whole thread, weren't you?

Yes I was, with -1 threshold. It was an exceptionally painful experience thanks to uninformed and infantile trolls such as yours.

mods on crack? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569599)

+2 insightful? what about -1 obvious?

Wait a minute! (1)

PaulBu (473180) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569656)

Knuth isn't God.

Correct, so far...

His books aren't the Bible.

Wrong! [knauth.org]

Actually I think that I heard that his motivation for MetaFont (not TeX) was proper typesetting of the Bible, the link above might put you on a trail.

Paul B.

Re:Wait a minute! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569692)

A book discussing the Bible != the Bible.

Re:Many own, few read (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569673)

Don't be silly. We don't mod heretics down. We burn them.

Re:Many own, few read (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569387)

CLR is an excellent book for classroom teaching, and a reasonable place to go as a first reference, but it has very shallow coverage of most topics. Pick a topic that Knuth and CLR both cover, and for 25% of your questions both will cover, for another 50% Knuth will but not CLR, and for the remainder neither.

Of course, Knuth is somewhat out of date. And covers a much smaller set of topics. But frankly CLR only covers a small proportion of topics too, relative to all the things one might want to explore in CS - or even in algorithms.

I DO read them! (5, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569388)

How many people have bought the entire Knuth series just to occupy the moral high ground on their bookshelf?

That's absolute nonsense. I often will take one of his volumes off the bookshelf, put La Boheme on the stereo (the Pappano recording, of course) , pour myself a glass of Le Montrachet '78, and peruse Prof. Bluth's delightful words. You shouldn't be bitter just because you're too uncouth to understand them.

Re:I DO read them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569393)

Is this suppose to be funny?

Re:I DO read them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569468)

I suppose it is.

Re:I DO read them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569555)

supposed!
supposed!
supposed!

Re:I DO read them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569582)

Request to moderators: Mod down anyone who says "I know I'll be modded down for this."
What if they say it in their signature? Is there a "-1 as requested by poster"?

Re:Many own, few read (5, Interesting)

cecom (698048) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569391)

While I was growing up in Eastern Europe, it was completely impossible to find any of the volumes. They weren't available for sale and almost all copies had been stolen from the libraries (well, not exactly "stolen" but many people forgot to return the book and would much prefer to pay the library fine).

I eventually managed to get a hold of "Searching and Sorting" for a couple of days and I tried to read it. Needless to say, I didn't get far. One needs months to consume the whole thiing :-)

When I moved to the US, the first thing I did was to buy the series. I couldn't believe that it was actually available in stores! I have to admit though, I still haven't read the three volumes completely - ah, I miss the enthusiasm of my youth.

Didn't somebody say that one should never attempt to read the whole thing ? One should turn to a specific section and read it only when the need arises. That makes me feel better :-)

Re:Many own, few read (5, Interesting)

CEHT (164909) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569618)

Reading all volumes is one thing. Try reading them and finish all the exercises is another.

Re:Many own, few read (1)

miu (626917) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569411)

There are at least a couple of important subjects where the use of MIX in AoCP makes a subject more immediately accessible than Intro Algorithms.

I do agree that there are probably quite a few copies of AoCP occupying bookshelves for no reason other than to impress visitors.

Re:Many own, few read (1)

Mark_MF-WN (678030) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569421)

I've got both the first and second edition of Cormen/Leiserson/Rivest. It's a great text.

Re:Many own, few read (3, Informative)

gabbarbhai (719706) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569525)

And for the rest, its more of a convenience thing. The way it works is, you look in CLR (Cormen, Lieserson, Rivest). If you find useful leads from there, you go follow them, or go to google or citeseer or something.

After a while, you get a little more curious (or a bit stuck with counting things down to the last epsilon), so you go look at Knuth. Finally, if nothing else works, you sit down and prove it.

Personally, Knuth, Graham & Patashnik, and Hopcroft & Ullman have bailed me out more often than AoCP

Sedgewick does it for me (1)

melted (227442) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569607)

Algorithms in C, volumes 1 through 5. Absolutely the best comp sci book out there. One page of Knuth makes me sleepy. Sedgewick reads like a good detective story - you can't put it down.

Re:Sedgewick does it for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569617)

WORST BOOKS EVER! Go with Knuth. He actually explains things mathematically.

Re:Many own, few read (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569717)

I've got second edition of that book. (They added a fourth author, Stein, so I assume it's the same book.) Someone I know calls it the book of death 'cause it's big enough to kill someone with...

Re:Many own, few read (1)

multiplexo (27356) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569722)

Hah! I got my volumes for free out of the damaged returns bin when I worked for Amazon. I mock you! I mock you all!

Still Waiting (5, Interesting)

Detritus (11846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569290)

When I bought Volume 3, about 20 years ago, it included a postcard that the buyer could mail to the publisher, to be added to a mailing list for notification when Volume 4 was published. I sent in the postcard.

I'm still waiting.

Re:Still Waiting (2, Interesting)

Surazal (729) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569445)

You should really let us know if the notification comes when the book is released. I wanna see how good they keep their customer records. ;^)

"But when will it be published?" (3, Informative)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569294)

But when will it be published? Bookpool does not hazard a guess."
Um, they said 2007. So what, do story submittors not bother to RTFA either these days?

Re:"But when will it be published?" (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569767)

Bookpool says July 2005 (estimated).

killfile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569295)

I love bookpool but this mailing was premature and a waste of my time. Unfortunately since they've now been /.ed I can't get to their site to unsubscribe ;)

did anybody else think of the Monty Python skit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569298)

"Theory of the Brontosaurus"?

You can already buy some of it (2, Informative)

SJasperson (811166) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569312)

Check the left column of http://www.bookpool.com/.x/SSSSSS_C473S597521D0502 011740/ct/163 [bookpool.com] . You can buy parts of Vol. 1 (revised) and 4 already, in addition to the one part that's ready for free download. They also say they expect to be able to sell you the entire volume 4 in 2007. And I'll bet Knuth doesn't slip nearly as bad as Longhorn.

Re:You can already buy some of it (4, Funny)

antispam_ben (591349) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569467)

And I'll bet Knuth doesn't slip nearly as bad as Longhorn.

Whichever's out first, I bet Knuth is a lot more stable.

Re:You can already buy some of it (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569521)

Longhorn could be delayed by 20 some years and it would still have slipped less than this volume. My CS professor last semester was constantly complaining about the fact that he's been waiting since he was a senior in high school for the next volume.

Version 4! (1, Informative)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569314)

Hopefully he finishes it before he finishes living.

All the best to the man, but seriously, dude, get on the ball. You don't have that many years left. If you can distill what's in your brain into book form, you will have done all of us a huge service.

Re:Version 4! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569322)

I hope he finishes both Volume 4 and Volume 5 before he finishes living. And then revise 1-3, and then volumes 6 and 7. They're great books. (And wow, what sappy music on GrooveSalad right now to go along with this post)

Breadth-first preferred [Re:Version 4!] (1)

j.leidner (642936) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569647)

I have very high respect for who is perhaps the most persevering personality that I have ever heard of.

However I agree with you in that I'd prefer Dr Knuth to proceed with the completion of his book series in a breadth-first fashion rather than depth-first (i.e., dropping the habit to take a few years off to revise all existing volumes every couple of years). This would even able other people to assist him in refining the set and filling in the gaps; maybe he could even set up a wiki for the non-existing volumes to gather material in a more "open source" way.

But then who am I to tell the Aristotle of computer science what to do...

Re:Breadth-first preferred [Re:Version 4!] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569680)

Aristotle never bothered to check his facts.

Unless women really do have fewer teeth than men. And unless weasels really do give birth through their mouths.

2007 (2, Informative)

CEHT (164909) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569344)

Knuth made a suggestion that he would have vol 4 published in 2007. I wouldn't doubt his estimation if he wrote down a deadline for himself, and everyone else.

Kill Yr Idols: Donald Knuth (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569346)

From http://www.adequacy.org" [adequacy.org]

Donald Knuth. Donald F'ing Knuth, geek idol, computer scientist and gift to anagrammatists everywhere. Yet another of the secular saints of the Eric Raymond crowd, and writer of TeX and Metafont, the typesetting and font design programs which lie behind half the computer books in existence (specifically, the poorly typeset half in the ugly fonts). Writer of the as yet unfinished meisterwerk of algorithm design, "The Art of Computer Programming". The avuncular figure who gave many of today's prominent "hackers" their big break. An example to us all.

Hooey. While some might think it a little poor for us to be picking on a man in the autumn of his years who has done little actual direct physical harm to others, the raison d'etre of adequacy.org is to puncture overinflated reputations, and Knuth's is one of the windiest. Every single plank of his rickety edifice seems to be based on the massive intellectual inferiority complex of the geek nation; their belief that because they don't understand something, it must be difficult. Put it this way; in our opinion, the main reason that the Art of Computer Programming remains unfinished is that when the truth gets out about Knuth, the fact that he hasn't finished his book is the only reason anyone will want to recusitate him.

TeX and Metafont

According to the Jargon File, "Knuth began TeX because he had become annoyed at the declining quality of the typesetting in volumes I-III of his monumental "Art of Computer Programming" (see Knuth, also bible). In a manifestation of the typical hackish urge to solve the problem at hand once and for all, he began to design his own typesetting language. He thought he would finish it on his sabbatical in 1978; he was wrong by only about 8 years."

I'm sorry. Readers who are sane, or who have sane acquaintances, or who are not familiar with the wilder shores of computer programmers and their personality diseases, may not quite have taken in that last passage. For their benefit, I'll repeat it, in bold, and with a hyperlink to the source so that they can independently verify that I didn't make it up to slander Knuth.

Knuth began TeX because he had become annoyed at the declining quality of the typesetting in volumes I-III of his monumental "Art of Computer Programming" (see Knuth, also bible). In a manifestation of the typical hackish urge to solve the problem at hand once and for all, he began to design his own typesetting language. He thought he would finish it on his sabbatical in 1978; he was wrong by only about 8 years. [catb.org]

So in other words, Knuth is the kind of guy who would rather spend eight years locked away in a stinky computer lab, than pick up the phone once to complain to his typesetters and tell them to do it properly. Rather than trouble himself with five minutes of human interaction, he spent eight years snivelling over a keyboard. That's the calibre of individual we're dealing with here.

It completely beggars belief. For reference, here's how I would address this problem; brrring brrring, hello, typesetting department, jsm here, could you sort out the typesetting in my book please it's a disgrace, certainly sir, goodbye. Total time taken, five minutes max. By my calculations, this method is approximately 2,522,880 times more efficient than Knuth's. I say "approximately" because I didn't allow for leap years. I didn't allow for leap years because it's completely unimportant and a purely illustrative statistic in any case. That's an example of a "proportionate amount of effort", by the way; spending eight years correcting a typing error isn't. Not that you can do something so simple as correct a typing error in TeX without first committing an 800 page manual to memory. It's a Turing-complete language, you see, highly useful for people who want to solve the Halting Problem every time they need to change their line spacing, but how many of those do you meet in a typical day? None, unless you quite literally live in the computer lab [kuro5hin.org]

And furthermore, the finished product shows beyond a scintilla of doubt that those eight years were largely wasted (that is, assuming that Knuth was actually writing the program during that time; if he spent most of the time like a typical "hacker", drinking Mountain Dew and masturbating, they weren't entirely wasted). TeX is, relative to its reputation, the worst typesetting program ever invented:

  • It is ugly. The output of TeX comes in a special TeX font, which appears to have been specially designed to make people think that their printer is running out of toner. The spindly letters clash wonderfully with their bulky, overbearing bold versions, while the typesetting puts an extra pica or two into the line-spacing, guaranteeing that no matter how polished a TeX manuscript, it will always look like a rough draft that's been printed out double-spaced for editing. TeX is the program of choice for people who have produced extremely bad PhD theses, and want them to be as painful to read as they were to write.
  • It is unusable. TeX boosters optimistically try to claim that "Because one need not worry about the document layout, one is free to concentrate on the content". Which is true in a way; if one doesn't give a fuck what the finished product looks like, one is free to concentrate on the content, although quite why something which is also true of daubing shit on prison walls should be held up as a unique feature of TeX is perhaps another matter. TeX is a lean, clean algorithmic machine, designed to take massive, unwieldy input files and convert them into massive unwieldy output files, the difference being that the input files are full of bizarre counterintuitive syntax and the output files look like shit. And of course, if you want one of the many features unsupported by TeX (like, for example, page numbering starting on a number other than 1), you are free to dive into nine megabytes of uncommented C code and make the necessary "hacks" yourself. Ah the wonders of Open Source.

So in other words, Knuth produced a product that gives you results that look distinctly worse than if you'd used MS Word, while forcing you to learn a massive amount of practically useless contorted macro language. No wonder the self-styled "hackers" love it. The main purpose of TeX is as an indicator of books that can safely be ignored forever; as soon as you see the spindly characters march across the page, with their lines too far apart, you know that the piece of paper you are looking at was produced by a grade A wanker, who has enough spare short-term memory to learn TeX and wants the world to know it. Such people never have anything interesting to say.

Bluth managed, however, to anticipate the "Open Source Development Model" (whereby a weak product is innoculated from criticism by giving people free access to the source code, so that anyone who points out that the fucking thing doesn't work looks like a curmudgeon for carping about the problem instead of fixing it), by giving away $2.56 each to the legion of TeX sufferers who wrote to him complaining of bugs. He chose the amount of $2.56 because 256 is the eighth power of two. This counts as a joke in Open Source circles.

The Art of Computer Programming

The first work to be typeset in the then-new and then-horrifically buggy TeX was, of course, Bluth's own book, "The Art of Computer Programming". Again, we at the adequacy.org Reputation Destruction Squad have a number of issues with this product of Knuth's wayward genius:

  1. It isn't. Art, that is; it's a book of mathematical formulae with no art whatever in it. Knuth, a talented animator in his spare time, clearly knew a thing or two about art, so quite why he chose to bring the word "art" into the title of a wholly non-artistic computer manual is beyond me.
  2. It isn't all that good. Apart from being shot through with weak humor, TAOCP is a book that is almost exclusively loved by those who haven't read it. Like the other great compendium of cut'n'paste algorithms for people who don't quite understand what they're doing, Numerical Recipes, Knuth's book is the toolkit of a bodger; a jack of all trades, master of none, and written in a private language, unintelligible to anyone but its creator.

    Of course, this doesn't matter, as TAOCP is a coffee-table book, designed to be owned as a status symbol rather than ever read. Anyone who cares about algorithms uses more specialised manuals, and anyone who takes Knuth seriously is too stupid to read him. Frankly, they could have all but the first ten pages completely blank and less than a per cent of owners would ever know (this would also get rid of those pesky typesetting problems).

  3. It's half a fucking product. Like Schubert's Unfinished Symphony and Dickens' "Mystery of Edwin Drood", TAOCP's reputation is dependent on its half-complete status. It is judged, not on the basis of the book that actually exists, but rather as the Platonic, perfect compendium that exists in Bluth's pipe dreams. Of course, anyone wanting to know what Donald Bluth thinks about "Combinatorial Algorithms" and "Syntactic Algorithms", let alone "Compiler Techniques", has been shit out of luck for the last twenty years, but hey, writing TeX was more important.

Face it. The "Art" of Computer Programming will never be finished. Like Harold Brodkey, Donald Knuth's reputation rests completely on not finishing it. And in tribute to his unique method of finding a place at the pinnacle of the geek pantheon, this review essay

Re:Kill Yr Idols: Donald Knuth (4, Insightful)

bkazez (851595) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569410)

"So in other words, Knuth produced a product that gives you results that look distinctly worse than if you'd used MS Word, while forcing you to learn a massive amount of practically useless contorted macro language."
I tend to agree with most of the remarks about the quality of TeX's output, but I strongly disagree with the notion that TeX output looks worse than Microsoft Word. Although the font will be normal, although the linespacing will be more standard (even though the pica of extra spacing that's mentioned in this article doesn't exist in TeX), all one has to do is whip out Microsoft Equation Editor and see how it compares to TeX's equations. There's absolutely no comparison -- TeX wins easily.

Re:Kill Yr Idols: Donald Knuth (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569580)

While that's true, I'd say Equation Editor is a pretty arcane subset of Microsoft Word. For non-mathematical documents, Word output will look vastly better while leaving you with 30-70% of your sanity intact (depending on how much you had to fight to keep it from bulletting everything) versus 5-10% for a TeX user.

Re:Kill Yr Idols: Donald Knuth (1)

bkazez (851595) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569713)

Word definitely does look better for non-mathematical documents, but when it comes to math (and that's what TeX was designed for), I still assert that TeX wins. -- http://ben.kazez.com/

Re:Kill Yr Idols: Donald Knuth (1)

dido (9125) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569705)

Also (La)TeX has become de rigeur for publishing in scientific journals. Compare the submission guidelines [aps.org] for sending an article to any The Physical Review journals in any of the TeX variants they prefer to that of doing a submission with MS Word. The American Mathematical Society [ams.org] apparently won't even accept papers typeset in anything other than LaTeX.

For scientific publishing, LaTeX really is the way to go.

Re:Kill Yr Idols: Donald Knuth (1)

convolvatron (176505) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569474)

ok. i'll agree with you about the art of computer programming. the agenda is far greater than the content, although there is some stuff of utility in there.

however, tex, as awful of a language as it is, manages to produce output that has the symmetry and balance of (almost) a typesetter. comparing it to msword can only be a troll.

i've had as many problems as everyone else dealing with floats and other garbage, but tex looks nice. admit it.

(uncommented c code?)

If TeX is too hard.... (3, Informative)

the_womble (580291) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569623)

....and it is for me,

use Lyx, very good quality output - as printout, PDF or HTML and easier to use than MS Word.

Re:Kill Yr Idols: Donald Knuth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569530)

Dude, that was hilarious. I don't give a shit about Knuth, but your troll was AWESOME!

Mods, mark this one +5, Funny/Troll!

Re:Kill Yr Idols: Donald Knuth (4, Funny)

jjoyce (4103) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569592)

if he spent most of the time like a typical "hacker", drinking Mountain Dew and masturbating

Hey now, that was a pretty low blow. Many of us hate Mountain Dew.

Dear Knuth (5, Funny)

Letter (634816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569354)

Dear Knuth,

After Vol. 4 are you going to do some "prequels?" So 1-4 are actually, say, 3-6, and then the new Vols. 1 and 2 include new special effects capable only in LaTeX2e?

Letter

Re:Dear Knuth (1, Interesting)

johnnyb (4816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569571)

I actually wrote my own book as sort of a prequel to TAOCP. TAOCP assumes that you already have experience with some sort of assembly language. My book doesn't assume anything:

My book teaches programming using assembly language on Linux [cafeshops.com]

Re:Dear Knuth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569603)

You should have used a simulator to teach Assembly, like MMIX or MIPS (plenty of MIPS simulators abound). Using Linux and x86 was a mistake.

Book writing (-1, Troll)

jjga (612356) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569363)

I bet this book was written with MS Word!

slashdot new look (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569379)

Hey SLASHDOT,

I like the new Look!!!!!!!!!!!

Is it just me? (-1, Offtopic)

Eric(b0mb)Dennis (629047) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569395)

Or does slashdot look like shit?

Re:Is it just me? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569406)

The owners of the color "Slashdot Green" have filed a DMCA taken down notice with Slashdot.org and, as a result, with get butt ugly pages.

Re:Is it just me? (-1, Offtopic)

PissingInTheWind (573929) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569407)

No, man. It does look a bit "plain" right now.

Actually I think it's almost an improvement, and made me realize how tired Slashdot's colors are.

Re:Is it just me? (0, Redundant)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569414)

does slashdot look like shit?

You must be new here.

No, I'm New Here (2, Insightful)

New Here (701369) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569419)

No, I'm New Here

Re:No, I'm New Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569576)

Man, your karma must be shit.

Re:Is it just me? (-1, Offtopic)

Eric(b0mb)Dennis (629047) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569433)

Look, if the previous comments doesn't make sense to you-

When I made it, slashdot was missing all the green borders and all the hyperlinks were a bright blue.

Imagine it.

Now you can agree with me.

review of volumes 1 to 3 (2, Informative)

danny (2658) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569452)

You might be interested in my review of volumes 1 to 3 [dannyreviews.com] .

I'm off to ask Addison-Wesley for a review copy of volume 4!

Danny.

Re:review of volumes 1 to 3 (1)

cecom (698048) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569537)

Wow! A review of the bible ! :-)

actually, my review of the Bible is here (1)

danny (2658) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569596)

*grin*

Actually, my review of the Bible (well, one edition of it, anyway) is here [dannyreviews.com] .

Danny.

Question (3, Interesting)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569462)

Is this the same Knuth that wrote along with Morris and Pratt the famous string matching algorithm [uci.edu] ?

Re:Question (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569465)

Yes. You mean there's another Knuth?

Re:Question (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569488)

Yes. You mean there's another Knuth?

Well, there's been cases of repeated last names in science... I just never thought that a person both prominent and low-profile (who in here has studied information theory and text searching algorithms?) would appear on a popular site such as /.

I've been studied algorithms for years, and this close encounter...

I'M NOT WORTHY! _o_

I'M NOT WORTHY! \o/

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569497)

(who in here has studied information theory and text searching algorithms?) *raises hand* Anyhoo. My "You mean there's another Knuth?" was suppose to be a light, minorly comical remark. Ignore it.

Re:Question (5, Informative)

rsidd (6328) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569538)

Well, there's been cases of repeated last names in science... I just never thought that a person both prominent and low-profile (who in here has studied information theory and text searching algorithms?) would appear on a popular site such as /.

Well, here's another reason he'd appear on Slashdot: he wrote TeX [ctan.org] , which is even today the best free typesetting system. And it beats every commercial typesetting system for typesetting mathematics, which Microsoft, Adobe and others don't have a clue about after 20 years of research (indeed, most scientific publishers use TeX/LaTeX). You'll find it on your linux box: among other things, GNU TeXinfo uses it for printable manuals.

And yes, that's still the same Knuth -- he wrote TeX because he was unhappy with the publishers' typesetting of TAOCP.

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569725)

I have no idea about Adobe's end-user software for typesetting, but the postscript and PDF formats are just as sophisticated as TeX (after all, most TeX documents end up being converted into PS or PDF before they are printed/published on the web/whatever). LaTeX has the advantage that it is vastly easier to write than postscript, but I wouldn't dismiss Adobe's work.

I also rather like Mathematica's typesetting abilities.

However, I agree that TeX is a magnificent piece of software.

Re:Question (1)

dozer (30790) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569688)

Yes, it's the same Knuth. But Boyer-Moore [utexas.edu] is almost always a better algorithm to use.

Re:Question (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569747)

Actually... if you want to search multiple substrings in one HUGE string, it's much faster to make a suffix tree [dogma.net] . Recommended by genetists :)

Algorithmic Sith Lord (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11569485)

Secrets out. The book are so slow because of Don's Star Wars commitments:

Re:Algorithmic Sith Lord (1)

Elvis77 (633162) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569645)

Sorry Dude, I think its because of his other hobby, He says [stanford.edu] , "During our summer vacation in 2003, my wife and I amused ourselves by taking leisurely drives in Ohio and photographing every diamond-shaped highway sign that we saw along the roadsides."

I'd like to tell you [stanford.edu] about this one and I'm glad slow people [stanford.edu] have somewhere for their kids to go and play.

They sure have funny signs in Ohio

The Childe Knuth (5, Funny)

iJames (846620) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569536)

Man. At this rate, he's never going to get to the Dark Tower.

The fourth volume will be published... (0)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569732)

... posthumously.

There's a fun bit in (5, Interesting)

multiplexo (27356) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569769)

The Atrocity Archives [amazon.com] by Charles Stross where one of the characters reveals that the reason why Knuth hasn't released volume 4 is that it contains a hack that allows you to solve non-deterministic polynomial (NP) problems in polynomial time. This is such a huge secret that the world's intelligence agencies, who already know how to do this, have an agreement with Professor Knuth where as long as he doesn't publish volume 4 they won't render him metabolically challenged (i.e, "dead".

The Atrocity Archives is a way cool book, I heartily recommend it to /. geeks. Stross used to work as a programmer/sysadmin so it's a lot of fun if you've ever worked in IT.

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