I interview Arnold Robbins, maintainer of Gawk and author of Linux Programming by Example: The Fundamentals about his book, Gawk and how maintainers like me are kept in check. Here’s an extract:
LP: Do you think there’s a need for such low-level programming guides?Robbins: Yes, I do. It’s wonderful to program at a higher level of abstraction, such as what Java and Python give you, or in a different way, what the shell gives you.But there are times when you’ve got to get as close to the metal as you can, and that calls for C or C++ and direct system calls. Besides, I think it’s kind of neat to see the clear relationship between the way the Unix system calls work and the semantics made available at the shell level (I/O redirection, piping), and that in fact it’s not really such difficult dark magic after all.