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The Linguistic Interface (lubutu.com)
58 points by lubutu 1004 days ago | 6 comments



This has strong similarity to the thesis of the classic article "The Anti-Mac Interface": http://www.useit.com/papers/anti-mac.html

The connection to the ideas in the Kingdom of Nouns, though, is new and intriguing. It's obvious only in hindsight that job-specific apps can be thought of as nouns, while unix-style tools can be thought of as verbs.

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Another way to think about it is that a shell has some of the same advantages as functional programming. In particular, everything is easily composable. Taking small primitives and combining them systematically leads to significant expressivity. This is an important advantage over GUI apps which are not really composable in any consistent way.

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> GUI apps which are not really composable in any consistent way.

Production-biased GUI apps not being composable and linkable is a consequence of the political economy of software production dictated by their makers; not an inherent trait of the GUI as a form.

Some related reading:

http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?NoApplication

http://openendedgroup.com/index.php/2007/10/17/using-photosh...

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Previously by the author: "Ivo – a reimagined Unix terminal system" - http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3300264

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The piece reads like an extended explanation of the saw "Unix is user-friendly, just very particular about its friends." And well-done -

A real-world analog is being in a foreign place where you don't speak the native tongue. You're thirsty and need to use the bathroom. You'll likely be able to make your point through pantomime or by mimicking "language with an arrangement of pictographs," but knowing the correct vocabulary and syntax would get you there much more quickly. Needs more complex than water or water closet would be difficult or impossible to express without the verbal language.

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Fascinating article. I hadn't thought of the noun-verb analogy you made.

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