UNIX Philosophy

5th January 2021 at 8:28am

I'm digging into the original UNIX philosophy and Plan 9 (same creators), and I'm starting to realize how right they seem to be about operating system and overall personal computing.

In these OS, everything is represented as files (devices, window, mouse, etc.) and a few set of commands operate on files and string.

This simple philosophy is extremely powerful. For example, I can use the command crypt to encode a string and add it to a file. I can then use grep to search for a specific string in this file. With two commands, I just created a password manager.

Every files and directories have a set of permissions (Read, Write, Execute) for Super User, User and Other. What it means is that I can have my personal files in the cloud that have no permissions for Other, and my website that have read permission for Other.

No need for iCloud, Google Drive, etc. anymore. And everything is a file, so I can build even more tools on top of it (Notes, Day One, wiki...you name it).

It also means that people can build things on top of what I share. For example, if some people wants to display my website differently, they can use a few commands to search for the correct files (by tags, titles, etc.).

Related to

Opposite view

Backlinks: Areas of Interests in IT, Rethinking the desktop interface, Rethinking the OS