Re: [newbie] BuildWalk

From: Patrick Dughi (
Date: 01/11/02

> >         If you cannot program, do not try to make changes to your
> > code,
> > install patches, etc.  First, learn how to write C code.  Then
> > actually do
> > it.
> [and so on]
> No fair!  I learned everything I know about programming (beyond
> int, char and if) from pouring over CircleMUD code until my eyes
> bled.  I've never taken a C class, or read a C book (Well, I read an
> OpenGL book once) and I can program very proficiently.  I wouldn't
> suggest learning this way, but it does yield some knowlege that most
> books can't teach you.  Little tricks to doing things and such.  Anyways,
> just my thoughts.

        It's not that it isn't possible to learn it, just hard to do so.
It's obvious that you have the motivation and drive to learn for yourself,
and expand your skillset without too much exterior prodding.

        That's great, but you can't assume everyone is like you.  As a
matter of fact, it seems that in the vast swarm of would-be programmers
that flock to the CircleMUD list, the incredible majority don't have that
motivation or self-directed learning ability.

        It's been my experience (and I'm sure some others will agree -
though you don't have to bother writing a message to the list stating
that) that the sort of people that ask for help with patch and patches, c
programming specifics, compiler errors, etc are the type that don't want
to have to do the work.  They want someone else to climb the hill so they
don't have to.

        The worst part is, if you try to be nice and actually help them,
psychologically speaking, that's rewarding them for being lazy.  Now
they're LESS likely to learn for themselves, and MORE likely to ask
someone else do it for them.

        I know.. rant rant rant.

        It's not black and white, set in stone, or any other euphamasism
you'd care to use.  I can't seem to find it in the archives, but I know
I've even asked 'how do I create a diff?' (ie, a patch-related question),
specifically to George(*).  So there, I asked newbie questions that I
should have been able to find, if I would have spent 3 seconds looking
around for it.

        So take any lecture/scolding with a grain of salt.  If you're
mr.super-motivation-man you can probably safely ignore it.  If you ask a
question, it is usually pretty obvious whether or not you've even tried to
find the answer on your own, or just gave up in 5 minutes.  When/if then
people tell you to read a book on C, or peruse this document or that one,
it's not because they're on a high horse.  It's because they were
beginners too once, and they actually believe that it's the most helpful
piece of advice they can give you.  It is incredibly difficult to learn
how to program by using a complex, dynamic, multiuser networked game that
is CircleMUD as your object example.  It's hard enough just duplicating
the "Hello World." program the first time, without copying directly from
the book.

        (First time I saw someone write a program in C, I asked, "How
do you remember those wierd arguments?.. int main(int argc,char *argv[])
?!?!" ... now it's laughable!)


        Lest you think this is a pointed comment, I just want to make it
absolutely clear, I'm generalizing.  This isn't directed towards any
single person.  This is more like a warning sign I wave around from time
to time so I never HAVE to make it directed at someone.


ps: If I get one more letter that reads "hey i saw u on the list and ur
K001! teach me how 2 program and debug and all that stuf so i can do som
PH4T scripts like the xapobjs thing but don't make it 2 long just a few
paragraphs like one or two about all the stuf i n33d 2 know but make sure
you have everything so i can R0X like u! thx!!",  I will have to subject
you to fierce public ridicule, at the least.  Not that I'm threating
physical violence against the stupid, mind you, but it'd be a shame if..
you know, something happened to them, all unexpected like.

* - The problem was that I hadn't correctly escaped the exclude, to \x*.o
or whatever it was supposed to be.  His answer didn't actually help that,
only confirmed that what I had done was correct top the point where I
diverged and tried to exclude, so I didn't have to make clean again! I sat
down and searched through the net and other examples on my system till I
figured out how to get it to work right.  It ended up being a problem with
my login shell :)

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