Herbert Schildt is the author of a series of books on computer programming, including about a dozen about C, which are widely considered by the C community to be, to put it bluntly, shit. Two of them, C: A Complete Reference and The Annotated C Standard have been roundly criticized by Peter Seebach and Clive Feather, respectively, and inspired a number of scathing reviews on the Association of C and C++ Users website. Even Steve Summit’s C FAQ includes a warning about The Annotated C Standard.
Recently, a certain Edward Nilges has been waging a highly entertaining crusade against Schildt’s critics on comp.lang.c (C as a Platonic pathology) and comp.lang.c.moderated (Statement on Schildt submitted to wikipedia today)).
The whole point of this entry is to share with you some exquisite gems from the latter thread:
Seebach: I am mystified by these criticisms. I don’t see how you find any “religious fundamentalism” in my views of programming.
Nilges: That’s because complementarily to your mathematical and scientific intelligence, you have failed to see a textual isomorphism between religious fundamentalism and your technical fundamentalism.
Nilges: You’re here worse than student “Otto” who sits in the back of the class with twenty years of assembler and no health insurance, soured (in CS Lewis’ words) by true miseries, and maddened by false promises, and decries C as a Communist plot.
You’re the plainclothes cop in the back of the class who in a police state objects to the prof’s narrative because it didn’t mention the leading role of the Party, or here, the holy, phallic register as opposed to the stack.
I’m dead serious, Peter. The difficulty of programming creates psychosexual noise even in the best brain, and the stack just bothered people, being flexible and soft: whereas the registers are always “there”, crystalline and hard.
Further down in the same message:
Nilges: Having left programming, in no little disgust at the personalities of programming, after thirty years, I teach English and creative writing in addition to intro computer science. I have learned that intolerant students, who believe words are things, make the slowest progress.
He’s certainly qualified for the “creative writing” part. Not so sure about the “intro computer science”. I wonder what his students think of him.
Nilges: My favorite “theory” is that Schildt showed up at an early meeting and took your girlfriend away. I have no other way of explaining your unprofessional conduct […]
Seebach: If you and [Jacob] Navia [author of lcc-win32; see Zero overhead overflow checking on comp.std.c] are saying I’m doing something wrong, I think I’m going to have to take that as complimentary.
This links in nicely with Francis Glassborow’s complaint in <firstname.lastname@example.org>:
Glassborow: I am deeply insulted that you have not added my name to the above 2 [meaning Feather and Seebach].
I wonder what Schildt thinks of all this—if he’s even aware of it. In his place, even if I wasn’t embarrassed about having my books torn apart in this fashion, I’d certainly be embarrassed by Nilge’s defense.
Coincidentally, the moderation delay on comp.lang.c.moderated has gone down to almost zero since this thread began. The moderators must be having the time of their lives seeing this play out…