Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.
At the end of Chapter1, we summarized the Unix philosophy as
“Keep It Simple, Stupid!” Throughout the Design
section, one of the continuing themes has been the importance of
keeping designs and implementations as simple as possible. But what
“as simple as possible”? How do
We've held off on addressing this question until now because
understanding simplicity is complicated. It needs some of the ideas
we developed earlier in the Design section, especially in Chapter4 and Chapter11, as background.
The large questions in this chapter are central preoccupations
of the Unix tradition, some of them motivating holy wars that have
simmered for decades. This chapter starts from established Unix
practice and vocabulary, then goes a bit further beyond it than we do in
the rest of the book. We don't try to develop simple answers to
these questions, because there aren't any — but we can hope that
you will walk away with better conceptual tools for developing
your own answers.