SUNDAY, APRIL 30, 2000

In 1992, James Gleick was having a lot of problems with buggy software. A new version of Microsoft Word for Windows had come out, which Gleick, a science writer, considered to be awful. He wrote a lengthy article in the Sunday New York Times Magazine that could only be described as a flame, skewering the Word team for being unresponsive to the requests of customers and delivering an enormously buggy product.1

Later, as a customer of a local Internet provider Panix (which also happens to be my Internet provider), he wanted a way to sort and filter his mail automatically. The UNIX tool for doing this is called procmail, which is really arcane and has the kind of interface ...

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