38.1. Author's Note


doce ut discas

(Teach, that you yourself may learn.)

How did I come to write a scripting book? It's a strange tale. It seems that a few years back I needed to learn shell scripting -- and what better way to do that than to read a good book on the subject? I was looking to buy a tutorial and reference covering all aspects of the subject. I was looking for a book that would take difficult concepts, turn them inside out, and explain them in excruciating detail, with well-commented examples. [1] In fact, I was looking for this very book, or something very much like it. Unfortunately, it didn't exist, and if I wanted it, I'd have to write it. And so, here we are, folks.

That reminds me of the apocryphal story about a mad professor. Crazy as a loon, the fellow was. At the sight of a book, any book -- at the library, at a bookstore, anywhere -- he would become totally obsessed with the idea that he could have written it, should have written it -- and done a better job of it to boot. He would thereupon rush home and proceed to do just that, write a book with the very same title. When he died some years later, he allegedly had several thousand books to his credit, probably putting even Asimov to shame. The books might not have been any good, who knows, but does that really matter? Here's a fellow who lived his dream, even if he was obsessed by it, driven by it . . . and somehow I can't help admiring the old coot.



This is the notorious flog it to death technique that works so well with slow learners, eccentrics, odd ducks, fools and geniuses.