Banazîr the Jedi Hobbit (banazir) wrote,
Banazîr the Jedi Hobbit

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Right is right and wrong is wrong!

Do only what only you can do.
    -E. W. Dijkstra

taiji_jian is going to laugh at me for still harping on this, but 99% of you haven't heard it, so here goes:

When you want to look up an IP by hostname (e.g.,,, etc.), what program do you use?

I use nslookup. gondhir revealed the other day that he uses ping, to which I took exception because:

  • 1. Its specification does not (to my knowledge) guarantee that it prints an IP address; this is a side effect of certain implementations, whereas the primary purpose of nslookup is to map names to and from IP addresses.

  • 2. It uses active sensing when the ("non-authoritative") answer may be readily available on the local domain name server without recourse to going out into the great wide Internet.

  • 3. It is interactive. Some versions of it print continuously to standard output, and some stop after a default maximum of 4 pings (the Windows version, for example).

gondhir made sarcastic light of my aversion to hitting Ctrl-C when I shouldn't have had to, which earned him a pedantic little rant about streams, OS specificity, program control flow (Ctrl-C being a BREAK mechanism), and interactivity being taken for granted by punk kids today, with their hair and their clothes. :-D

Mon 24 Oct 2005:

[20:43:11] banazir: In any case, my point was
[20:43:32] banazir: that ping has a specific function - to actually signal the host computer using TCP/IP and see if it gets a response
[20:43:33] * sui_degeneris isn't afwaid of ^c
[20:43:39] banazir: Well
[20:43:49] banazir: I'm not afraid of giving broken URLs, Denise
[20:43:54] banazir: But wrong is wrong.
[20:44:33] gondhir: "Yew must noly use programs for the purpose they were designed for!"
[20:44:39] taiji_jian: (Bill is, in fact, correct. But it's more fun to needle him. :)
[20:56:18] gondhir: yer trying to hold me bax, OB1!
[20:56:21] taiji_jian: IOW
[20:56:21] gondhir: I *HATE* YEW!
[20:56:24] taiji_jian: Ping is easy and sloppy
[20:56:26] taiji_jian: ROFL
[20:56:30] banazir: lolol
[20:56:35] banazir: Yes!
[20:56:36] banazir: Quicker
[20:56:37] banazir: Easier
[20:56:39] *** taiji_jian has changed the topic on channel #teunc to Graham hat of Bill know no limit!.
[20:56:39] banazir: More SEDUCTIVE

Laugh it up, fuzzball!
It's still the case that only a Sith deals in infinite loops!

Case in point: the late E. W. Dijkstra is famously said to have once visited a CS department where someone let him run a demo program. It went into an infinite loop, and the authors said, "just hit ^C". Dijkstra allegedly asked, "What's ^C"?

Tags: computer science, computing, networking, nslookup, pedantry, ping, unix, windows

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