On being "unixy"

May 20, 2008

Several times this weekend I used the phrase "unixlike" or "unixy" to describe applications or devices.

This is what I meant:

  1. Most importantly, it means that you play well with others, as in the Unix concept of standard out: Whatever your application does, it is able (intended, really) to be used as the input to another application.
  2. <li>It <em>does not</em> mean using the command line, but does mean it has an extremely lightweight interface. There is no fade, no glass and no glow. Unix applications are true utilities, though they may still be extremely fun to use.</li>
    <li>The scope of a unix application's purpose is extremely narrow. It does exactly one thing, and it does it extremely well.</li>