• (nodebb)

    TRWTF is the fact that somebody somewhere probably still maintains this piece of software.

  • TheCPUWizard (unregistered)

    Been a long time since I even thought of Motif :) Those were the days. And that was not the only place where doing "what was in the manuals" did not work... Our department had a fairly large binder with items similar to this!

  • Ex-Consultant (unregistered)

    I still get The Shivers (TM) when I remember that time.

    Luckily my programming dude liked GUI-programming. It took me half a day to add a simple button to our Motif-application..

  • Quit (unregistered)

    I was expecting it to go like ...

    Sam went home, leaving Taylor to jiggle a mouse for a few hours. Taylor got tired of jiggling a mouse, so he abandoned it and instead decided to see what Sam had done. Giving a quick glance at the code which had been throwing an error, he couldn't find any changes. But he noticed that the function Sam told him was buggy was working correctly. He went to Pat and demonstrated that everything was fine. "See? I was right all along." Then he went back to his desk to release the code.

    And so on from there.

  • Appalled (unregistered)

    TRWTF is that he never TESTED it. And that's usually the case with most WTF's. Programmers are so lazy (or deadline bound by management). "It's dirt simple. I know it's right. Why should I waste xxx hours testing it?". This will be the bane of our industry, whether caused by ourselves or others, for the rest of eternity.

  • Peter (unregistered) in reply to TheCPUWizard

    Just a few months ago, I was cleaning house an threw out not only my set of X-Windows manuals, but also the 120MB cartridge tape with my purchased copy of Motif (which ran well under Linux)

  • (nodebb) in reply to strangeways

    TRWTF is the fact that somebody, somewhere, actually read the manual, paid attention to it, and used the library in question in accordance to the manual.

    Addendum 2017-04-05 08:50: (i mean "TRWTF" as in "WTF? that actually happened? unbelievable!", not like "WTF why would they do that?")

  • Ex-lurker (unregistered) in reply to sh_code

    As if there were any alternatives! Back then people had to learn from manuals or they wouldn't get very far in their careers.

    It was long before the internet. There wasn't a stackoverflow to copy the code from. It had to be written by the programmer.

  • null (unregistered)

    Did they leave a note in the manual so no one else got bit by the same bug?

  • Carl Witthoft (google) in reply to null

    Yes, but the note said "There's something that needs to be said about this routine but there's not enough room in the margin..."

  • Randal L. Schwartz (google)

    First, if you say "X-Windows", it proves you're not clueful. It is never called that by the documentation. It still makes me cringe to hear it mis-stated like that.

    Second, those Motif manuals were probably the first book series from Tim O'Reilly, who later founded the O'Reilly and Associates empire (later O'Reilly Media) from the result of publishing those books, along with my friend Steve Talbott, who had worked for me at Tektronix back in the day.

  • Chronomium (unregistered)

    It's nice to see the boss being one of the good guys for a change. He correctly identified which employee is the doofus and punished him accordingly.

    Granted it wasn't actually difficult to do so, but we've seen simpler cases get boondoggled up.

  • Zylon (unregistered)

    Apparently I have no idea why wiggling the mouse at regular intervals was a required part of this process.

  • (nodebb)

    "First, if you say "X-Windows", it proves you're not clueful."

    It proves you know how to subtly troll the unixbeards. Some of them would get vexed if you typed "unix" (all lowercase).

  • (nodebb)

    Sounds like what happened to my uncle in WWII. In England, he told a pilot to use a certain fuel mixture. Pilot instead used what "the book" said to use. Plane didn't fly well. Turns out "the book" didn't know about climate in England.

  • Lazerbaems (unregistered)

    Didn't they patch the manuals? I mean when I was a kid, my mom bought encyclopedias from an encyclopedia salesman along with an annual subscription that would send us book patches... additional books that would be like "never mind what that other book said, here's an updated article"

  • Ugh (unregistered)

    "TRWTF is that he never TESTED it. And that's usually the case with most WTF's. Programmers are so lazy (or deadline bound by management). "It's dirt simple. I know it's right. Why should I waste xxx hours testing it?". This will be the bane of our industry, whether caused by ourselves or others, for the rest of eternity."

    Tested what? The library? If you're sitting around testing libraries, you're wasting your employer's money.

  • Jerry Kindall (unregistered)

    Remember, the X Window System is not a system called X Window, it's a window system called X!

  • Tim Berners-Lee (unregistered)

    The real WTF, is that a site mocking people for technical misunderstandings has conflated "the internet" with "the web". My mother does that. She's wrong, too.

  • Lazerbaems (unregistered) in reply to Tim Berners-Lee

    The only time the word "web" is used in the article or comments is in your comment about its misuse.

  • Me (unregistered) in reply to Carl Witthoft


  • (nodebb) in reply to Lazerbaems

    Yes. But the article says "This was long before Tim Berners-Lee created the internet on top of DARPA-net", which is indeed conflating the internet with the web.

  • Robert (unregistered)

    TRWTF is Sam knowing of the bug and not making a note in the manual. Probably even while knowing that some junior developer worked with that library. I mean how could Taylor ever not make that mistake?

    And then Sam acts all high and mighty while Taylor is rightfully upset about the manual they told him to use havin errors they knew about.

    tl:dr Sam is a cunt

  • Cbuttius (unregistered)

    One somehow wonders how these things managed to run at all on the far lesser amount of hardware and slower processors they had back then, yet they ran and quite fast.

    That's because there was no bloatware. Applications were built by skilled programmers who know how to make the best use of limited resources and didn't hog them.

    And your operating system sat there waiting for you to run what programs you wanted to, and didn't force you to update things or run too many things for you. And this was UNIX before someone thought silly Windows features were a good idea.

  • Bitter Like Quinine (unregistered)

    Gosh yes, I shudder when I remember that row of pastel colored manuals even today. Hell, we even had volume 0 (the X protocol) just in case we ever needed to debug a network transaction at the byte level.

  • IP-guru (unregistered) in reply to Robert

    Robbert is dead right Sam should have pointed Taylor at the errata document that confimed the bug.

    That said Taylor should have at least tried the change suggested instead of refusing point blank - after all it is possibe that they had just dicovered a previously unknow or undocumented bug.

  • Peter (unregistered) in reply to Randal L. Schwartz

    I stand corrected!

    In any event, I was clueful enough to get the Motif Window Manager running on top of the X Windowing System after installing Slackware GNU-Linux from its 11 (or 13, or 15) 3.5" floppies.

    Whatever you call it, X has stood the test of time, along with Linux.

  • LzzrdBorth (unregistered) in reply to Scarlet_Manuka

    Indeed, it was St. Vincent who created the Internet. {aka Annie}

  • wizzleard (unregistered)

    this comment thread sounds like one of those stupid image macros baby boomers post on facebook showing a picture of some piece of shit tool or appliance and text that says "like if you know what this is share if you've used one!"

  • Ultimate in UX (unregistered)

    This reminds me of my first programming job after graduating university. I worked at a place that used QNX, an older version with the GUI before photon, which was very similar to X-windows. One time we were debugging a problem that seemed to be caused by altering the UI. After much scratching our heads, it turned out that somebody had stored a critical piece of data in the GUI of all places so changing the GUI would unbeknownst to us change the value of a piece of critical data and break the application until we discovered this wtf.

  • smf (unregistered) in reply to Zylon

    @Zylon "Apparently I have no idea why wiggling the mouse at regular intervals was a required part of this process."

    Maybe just to stop the computer going to sleep?

  • ASP.net Homework Help (unregistered)

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  • Case Study Analysis (unregistered)

    This post is truly astonishing one! I was pleased to peruse this, all that much valuable.

  • eric bloedow (unregistered)

    this reminds me of a scene in the Tom Clancy novel, "clear and present danger": the new Coast Guard ship was having engine problems. it turned out that the Turbocharger had been installed wrong, with the Fuel and Oil lines switched-and nobody noticed it because the manual was also wrong! in their defense, it was the first ship of a new class.

  • Peter Wolff (unregistered)

    According to my few decades of programming experience, you need 1% of the time to design the algorithm, 10% to type it in and correct syntax and simple logic errors, and 90% to find workarounds for things that don't quite work the way the manuals promise.

  • Alex (unregistered)

    Great Books of the Western World is a series of books originally published in the United States in 1952 by Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. to present the western canon in a single package of 54 volume...

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