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Re: What's the story behind the camel?

by VSarkiss (Monsignor)
on May 12, 2003 at 00:36 UTC ( #257317=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to What's the story behind the camel?

An old joke on commitees stated, "A camel is a horse designed by a committee"; similar to saying a jack of all trades is master of none.

Since Larry Wall first came up with Perl as amalgam of several different languages (Bourne shell, awk, sed, even BASIC-PLUS) it was a sort of "design by commitee": a camel of programming languages.

My memory's a little foggy, but IIRC the association was there even before the Camel book was published, so the cover choice was a natural one. Maybe TimToady or merlyn will remember more clearly which came first.

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Re: Re: What's the story behind the camel?
by Cody Pendant (Prior) on May 12, 2003 at 04:18 UTC
    So off-topic, but I've heard Stephen Jay Gould get very annoyed with the phrase "A camel is a horse designed by a committee".

    It's an insult to camels, which are not overburdened with extras, as the phrase implies, but perfectly adapted to their environment; it's also an insult to committees of course. I think he gets mad when people refer to aging rock stars as "dinosaurs" too.

    “Every bit of code is either naturally related to the problem at hand, or else it's an accidental side effect of the fact that you happened to solve the problem using a digital computer.”
    M-J D

      I don't think he's been bothered by it recently, unfortunately.

      Does he have anything to say about the common use of "lemmings"? ;-)

      Makeshifts last the longest.

Re: Re: What's the story behind the camel?
by benn (Vicar) on May 12, 2003 at 12:22 UTC
    I prefer to think of a horse as a camel designed by a capitalist - they look after it while it's making them money, but as soon as it breaks a leg...

    :) Ben.

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