A tree to grow

Zane H. Healy healyzh at aracnet.com
Wed Aug 30 23:23:32 CDT 2006

At 8:49 PM -0500 8/30/06, Jay West wrote:
>Zane wrote....
>>As for questioning where those of us who didn't see previous discussions on
>>this, the example that was provided should make that obvious.  It was a
>>*SMALL* thread that was of no interest, and there was no clue in the subject
>>line that this announcement took place.
>A "small thread of no interest" that was titled "The Definition of 
>On-Topic"??? You might want to re-read that statement a few times so 
>that the complete (something)ness of it sinks in to you.

Oh, good grief!  The part that you cut clearly shows I'm talking 
about the "Ten Year Rule".  From your email the other day.

The revocation date was 2005/05/08:

If you look at that message, the subject line is "ScottFree 
interpreter for Pocket PC", though in looking I take back the part 
about it being a small thread (I'd thought it was only about 5 
messages for some reason).  Still there is *nothing* there to 
indicate the revocation of the "Ten Year Rule", unless you were 
actually reading the thread, and there was nothing in that subject to 
make me interested.

I've included your definition of "On Topic" from January 2005 below 
for those without web access (I don't know if Tony can access the 
Web).  I've read through it several times in the past three days, and 
I still think it's vague.  About the only thing I can see for sure is 
that you're saying that Windows in any form isn't "Classic".  Other 
than that I'm not sure if everything else is pretty much on topic, or 
if Unix is off topic (at which point a whole lot is off topic).  I'm 
not trying to start a fight or anything with that last sentence, I'm 
being serious.  In reading the definition below, I can't figure out 
if "Windows" is the only _current school of thought_ or not.  Reading 
the thread that followed what I've posted below, it would appear that 
not everyone was clear at that time.

CLASSICCMP used to have a FAQ which included stuff such as pretty 
much everything that has been in this whole mess of threads and 
arguments.  I for one think it's WAY past time to update Section 2. 

>>Some people may have the free time to read every post, but I'm 
>>guessing most of us don't.
>Why not, you and others obviously expect ME to read every post.

Have I *EVER* said that I expect you to?  Has anyone said that?  If 
they have, and there is no polite way to put this, they're fools.

>Ya know what, I just don't need the grief.

Believe it or not, I'm not trying to argue or pick a fight, I'm 
simply trying to understand this new definition of "Classic Computer".


"The definition of On Topic", Jan 2005
There's way too many problems with defining something as classic based on
it's age. Some things (songs, cars, etc.) become virtually classic the day
they are invented. I would put forth the following dictionary definition of
the word:

'Classic: forming a tradition or linked to one, often in opposition to more
recent schools or theories'.

Since (like it or not), modern operating systems and processors/hardware are
"recent schools or theories", they are by definition not classic. The older
software and hardware are generally "in opposition to" these more recent
schools of thought. There's many examples - one would be how we used to
spend hours looking to save an instruction cycle or two bytes of code as
contrasted to the "memory and processor cycles are cheap" paradigm that is
current thought generally. In addition, the very uniqueness of each of the
old machines as opposed to the current "everything is windows-based" and all
pretty similar. So there's the distinction of many varied systems, some
better in some areas while the rest are innovative or better in the
remaining areas. These are in direct opposition to the "sameness" of current
platforms. A third example is how many of us at least try to understand the
complete system, down to the chips on the board. The recent school of
thought is you just have to know how to use word & excel. There's quite a
few more examples which I'm sure you all are cognizant of.

And because of the fact that we are all here talking about these systems,
well, that speaks for the tradition we're linked to.

Windows can't be considered "classic" because it IS the recent school of
thought/theory. When it hasn't been the prevailing school of thought for a
while, AND it is in opposition of the then current school of thought - it
may well become classic and perfect for discussing here. This is not likely
to happen in our lifetimes. A major strike against that ever happening is
that it was (is) SO pervasive so I'm not sure it ever be "classic". But in
the final analysis, this argument is one that will be decided by our
children & grandchildren, not us.

This is exactly why I'm not opposed to DOS being discussed on the list. It
comes from the days of the traditions I speak of above, before 90% of the
cpu and memory was dedicated to a pretty gui.


Jay West

| Zane H. Healy                    | UNIX Systems Administrator |
| healyzh at aracnet.com (primary)    | OpenVMS Enthusiast         |
| MONK::HEALYZH (DECnet)           | Classic Computer Collector |
|     Empire of the Petal Throne and Traveller Role Playing,    |
|          PDP-10 Emulation and Zane's Computer Museum.         |
|                http://www.aracnet.com/~healyzh/               |

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