Eloquence in technical prose.

I met Bryan Cantrill a few years back at OSCON where he gave a session on DTrace. As any reader of my blog would know, I'm a big DTrace fan. Bryan's presentation style was passionate and animated and I was quite convinced there was an illegal substance involved. I've come to learn that style is Bryan's style.

Since then, I've had a few opportunities to dialogue with Bryan and on every occasion he reinforced my opinion that he is one of the more insightful minds in today's computer engineering field. His critique and vision has an element of clarity and completeness to it that is far too rare. Combine that with truly elegant written prose and I am unable to resist consuming what he writes.

Bryan's latest communication on transactional memory is an exquisite example of poise in both thought and communication. At one point he states that "experience has taught me to be wary of crooked problem statements." I must admit that in my efforts to play devil's advocate I often construct straw-man arguments and unjustified counterpoints. I do this in an effort to force lead my counterpart to conciseness and deeper well-founded justification in their argument. Backing out of a solid justification is, at the very least, revealing.

I took two things away from his prose. First, his output is very worth digesting. Second, when I present solutions to problems I should vehemently avoid perfunctory problem definition and invest equal efforts in the completeness of both the problem statement and the solution proposed.

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