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Unix for Poets (2013) [pdf] (upc.edu)
118 points by signa11 24 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 17 comments

This is an excellent article. However, note that if you're using tr from GNU Coreutils, you have to use the 'A-Za-z' syntax for character ranges instead of '[A-Z][a-z]', since GNU tr doesn't use the SysV syntax [1]:

  GNU `tr' does not support the System V syntax that uses square
  brackets to enclose ranges.  Translations specified in that format
  sometimes work as expected, since the brackets are often
  transliterated to themselves.  However, they should be avoided
  because they sometimes behave unexpectedly.  For example, `tr -d
  '[0-9]'' deletes brackets as well as digits.
[1]: https://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/manual/html_node/Char...

I'm a big fan of Allison Parrish's work using word embeddings and other techniques to write computer-generated poetry.


wow, this is mind blowing, thanks for sharing!

This is a lovely article. I used various ideas from here and other sources to make a little tutorial which was intended to explain the power of composability of small programs to a student audience. The details are here https://thelycaeum.in/blog/2013/09/03/text_processing_in_uni...

"I did a quick search in Alta Vista on Netscape" (footnote, page 2)

Sounds more like 1998 than 2013 ...

P.S. Actually 1994: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=E6aqGvYAAAAJ&hl=en

Back in the mid '90s, I'd put it at 1995, there was a Hypercard bit of Unix-related poetry that I've never been able to find again. I believe it was an "ABC of Unix" sort of thing, with a poem or story for each letter. I recall the one about grep involving a woman whispering into her lovers ear how grep outputs matching lines unless -v is provided.

It was lovely, or at least my memory of it was that it was lovely. I've looked for it again over the decades, but I wonder if it was lost to HyperCard rot...


A is for Awk, which runs like a snail, and B is for Biff, which reads all your mail. ...

but the grep entry here is different from what you remember.

That one I'm very familiar with. :-) This was something entirely different...

Is it valid literary criticism to point out pointless uses of cat on page 25?

My three favourite words in the title at the same time?

I’m not sure I’d put a preposition in my shortlist of favorite words, but you do you I guess…

What is they really, really like for loops?

The third “word” might be PDF?

Or “2013”

The misuse of smart quotes in the code example is very distracting to me because backticks mean something in Unix.

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