Master Foo and the End User

On another occasion when Master Foo gave public instruction, an end user, having heard tales of the Master's wisdom, came to him for guidance.

He bowed three times to Master Foo. “I wish to learn the Great Way of Unix”, he said “but the command line confuses me”.

Some of the onlooking neophytes began to mock the end user, calling him “clueless” and saying that the Way of Unix is only for those of discipline and intelligence.

The Master held up a hand for silence, and called the most obstreperous of the neophytes who had mocked forward, to where he and the end user sat.

“Tell me”, he asked the neophyte, “of the code you have written and the works of design you have uttered”.

The neophyte began to stammer out a reply, but fell silent.

Master Foo turned to the end-user. “Tell me”, he inquired, “why do you seek the Way?”

“I am discontent with the software I see around me”, the end user replied. “It neither performs reliably nor pleases the eye and hand. Having heard that the Unix way, though difficult, is superior, I seek to cast aside all snares and delusions”.

“And what do you do in the world”, asked Master Foo, “that you must strive with software?”

“I am a builder”, the end user replied, “Many of the houses of this town were made under my chop”.

Master Foo turned back to the neophyte. “The housecat may mock the tiger”, said the master, “but doing so will not make his purr into a roar”.

Upon hearing this, the neophyte was enlightened.