Hardware and Software

Ξ February 28th, 2006 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Humour |

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Hardware and Software
Book Eight

Thus spake the master programmer:

"Without the wind, the grass does not move.
Without software, hardware is useless."


    A novice asked the master: "I perceive that one computer company is
    much larger than all others. It towers above its competition like a
    giant among dwarfs. Any one of its divisions could comprise an entire
    business. Why is this so?"

    The master replied, "Why do you ask such foolish questions? That
    company is large because it is so large. If it only made hardware,
    nobody would buy it. If it only maintained systems, people would treat
    it like a servant. But because it combines all of these things, people
    think it one of the gods! By not seeking to strive, it conquers
    without effort."


    A master programmer passed a novice programmer one day. The master
    noted the novice's preoccupation with a hand-held computer game.
    "Excuse me", he said, "may I examine it?"

    The novice bolted to attention and handed the device to the master. "I
    see that the device claims to have three levels of play: Easy, Medium,
    and Hard", said the master. "Yet every such device has another level
    of play, where the device seeks not to conquer the human, nor to be
    conquered by the human."

    "Pray, great master," implored the novice, "how does one find this
    mysterious setting?"

    The master dropped the device to the ground and crushed it under foot.
    And suddenly the novice was enlightened.


    There was once a programmer who worked upon microprocessors. "Look at
    how well off I am here," he said to a mainframe programmer who came to
    visit, "I have my own operating system and file storage device. I do
    not have to share my resources with anyone. The software is
    self-consistent and easy-to-use. Why do you not quit your present job
    and join me here?"

    The mainframe programmer then began to describe his system to his
    friend, saying: "The mainframe sits like an ancient sage meditating in
    the midst of the data center. Its disk drives lie end-to-end like a
    great ocean of machinery. The software is a multi-faceted as a diamond
    and as convoluted as a primeval jungle. The programs, each unique,
    move through the system like a swift-flowing river. That is why I am
    happy where I am."

    The microcomputer programmer, upon hearing this, fell silent. But the
    two programmers remained friends until the end of their days.


    Hardware met Software on the road to Changtse. Software said: "You are
    the Yin and I am the Yang. If we travel together we will become famous
    and earn vast sums of money." And so the pair set forth together,
    thinking to conquer the world.

    Presently, they met Firmware, who was dressed in tattered rags, and
    hobbled along propped on a thorny stick. Firmware said to them: "The
    Tao lies beyond Yin and Yang. It is silent and still as a pool of
    water. It does not seek fame, therefore nobody knows its presence. It
    does not seeks fortune, for it is complete within itself. It exists
    beyond space and time."

    Software and Hardware, ashamed, returned to their homes.


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