Thursday, October 30, 2008

Spoon, fork or knife?

Administrative note: thanks for all the comments on my previous post! I haven't found a solution, but have moved on to the “latest and greatest,” which has circumvented the issue. For those interested in the “question overhead” discussion take a look at BZ241335, comments 7 and 8.

OK, so I'll try one of these metaphorical postings. Be kind and work with me here, I'm no Ed Merks for writing these, after all!

How do you consume your open source? Spoon, fork or knife? It's nice if you can use a spoon; take it as is, slurp it up whole. Even nicer if someone spoon feeds you. What if you don't exactly like the taste? Maybe add some seasoning, or prevail on the chef to alter the recipe. Perhaps suggest variations to the chef, or even help the chef cook (assuming the chef wants you mucking around in the kitchen the insurance policy allows it).

You could also consume it with a fork. This gives you more control to pick and choose the next bite, but also brings the substantial responsibility of not sticking your fork into more than you can swallow. Poor use of the fork is a primary cause of choking, and it's not pretty to watch or hear. Of course, if you are skillful with the fork and can take just the right amount, you get to eat as you wish.

Then there's the knife. You're given a meal, but clearly can't consume it whole (unless you're a creature with one of those magical expanding jaws and a big enough mouth). Also, there might be parts of the meal you don't like, and want to avoid through judicious use of the knife. So you carve the meal and take it as you want, when you want. It's extra work – wouldn't it be nice if the chef carved it for you, so you could just use the spoon – but worthwhile to get the bites you want.

But probably you're like most people: you use the spoon, fork and knife in some combination that seems to make sense for the meal. The spoon is fastest, and the others require more work. Sometimes you might carve with the knife and use it in a stab to consume the separated piece (which is dangerous, by the way. I hear that people long ago were more skillful with the knife and actually ate like this). Or maybe you are like me: you tend to use the fork to both carve and stab (a habit, which I am told, betrays my lack of a proper upbringing).

In the past I've mostly consumed Eclipse meals using a spoon, with (rare) occasions for the knife to make bites suitable for the spoon. Over time, I find myself using the knife more and more, and the fork seems to have a renewed purpose. How about you?


Ed Merks said...


The great thing about a spoon that you forgot to mention: you can't stab yourself with a spoon. Gagging yes, stabbing no. Some users are accident prone and spoons suit them better than do sharp or pointy instruments.

Personally I'm so used to having a fork in my left hand and a knife in my right hand---proper upbringing I suppose---that I feel a bit awkward with only one implement. I think spoons are really only ideal for soup and for dessert, and even there they are questionable. I think that's because they're ideal only for bowls. They're just not ideal for getting food off a plate. You need that knife to push the food onto the fork; proper upbringing doesn't allow for pushing food onto the fork with your thumb. I've never been into that spoon and fork thing for spaghetti either; I like to cut it with my knife and then push it onto my fork.

So I think the real question is whether Eclipse is more bowl shaped or plate shaped? Inquiring minds want to know!

Anonymous said...


as a backpacker I have to say: Spork ;-)

Kind regards,

John Graham said...


Is the question whether the food should be generated according to some production model or hand made?

BTW, who's Doug? ;)

Ed Merks said...

Doug, err, I mean John,

I think we should let nature generate most of the food---DNA is a fine DSL for that---and then we can apply the finishing touches by hand.

By the way, I've reached the conclusion that Eclipse is more of a big serving plate than a bowl, so a knife and fork are best. Save the spoon for the RCP soup bowl.

John Graham said...

Following the post comment about creatures with expanding jaws, I demonstrate here that Brian Fitz has a way with snakes!

rdruss said...


This thought appears to be very related to your thought on source code being miscellaneous (e.g. fork or knive). ;)

Just an observation.