# Re: Orthogonal (fwd)

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Forwarded message:

> From: Mark Rogaski <[email protected]>
> Subject: Re: Orthogonal (fwd)
> Date: Mon, 27 Oct 1997 01:36:06 -0500 (EST)

> An entity claiming to be Jim Choate wrote:
>
> : I can see the union 'build complicated things out of basic building blocks'
> : and the use of Occam's Razor (I'm as lazy as any other programmer) but fail
> : to see how this maps to anything relating to the concept of orthogonal.
> : Which clearly doesn't have any inherent minimalist cast.
> :
>
> Minimalism is merely a by-product of orthogonality.

Which orthogonality are you speaking of?

> A language is considered
> orthogonal if builtin functions do not provide overlapping functionality.

Are you talking linguistics, philosophy, or computer? Consider, historicaly
the point of 'orthogonality' was to indicate a  *non-overlapping* or
reducable structure, something which provides a reference to evaluate other
things.

> So the term orthogonal probably refers to the fact that there is no
> point of intersection in the functionality of the language (or system, as

Orthogonal implies there is intersection, it's hard to have a closed
geometric shape (-gonal) or a right angle (ortho-) axis system without them.

> And I will not argue about vector spaces until I get bookshelves and actually
> dig my Linear Algebra texts out of the boxes around my apartment.

Good, I understand how it is used in vector spaces and don't really get my
jollies off on arguing on unrelated issues. What I *would* like to
know is how a mathematical term related to geometry and right angles got
expanded *historicaly* to mean something completely unrelated. I don't think
a linear algebra book is relevant to this question, despite the protestations
of the techno-masturbatory ot the contrary.

There are a whole host of users on this list who live by strawman arguments.
I am glad to see you aren't one of them (apparently).

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