Scene opens. The Lakota coffee shop in Columbia, MO.
Jane: ... and the other has been really interesting. It's Anthropology, with Jim Metcher.
Ray: (lights up) Yes! I actually got to take one of Metcher's classes during my brief stint in the evening program.
Jane: Are a Mizzou student?
Ray: Close. I graduated from MST in '06. I'm workin' now.
Jane: What do you do?
Ray: I help machines think. I'm a programmer.
Jane: Spiffy! So what's new in the fast-paced world of "programming"?
Ray: Well, lot's of things I guess. Let's see... new languages coming out as usual. PHP making some controversial design decisions regarding namespace. 50th anniversary of Lisp was just celebrated at OOPSLA; I bet there were some great talks at that. Oh yeah, and I just read about a new development in The Editor War.
Jane: ... The editor what?
Ray: War. The Editor War... it's this infamous feud. (waves hand dismissively)
Jane: Feud? (interest grows at the scent of scandal) Over what?
Ray: Which text editor to use.
Jane: (Smirk) No, really. What is it about? I'm actually interested this time, you don't have to make things up to amuse me.
Ray: No... (Slowly raises hand to forehead), that's actually what it's about.
Jane: (Confused) That doesn't sound like a very political decision. Is there some, like, protocol or something that has to... (pauses) I thought text was all sort of... compatible. (glances downward) I guess I don't much about this stuff.
Ray: Actually, you've got a decent grasp of it. While there have been a few new standards in recent years to accommodate different languages, text is overall very compatible from one editor to the next.
Jane: In that case, I don't get it. What other technical hurdle would force all programmers to use the same editor?
Ray: Ahh! I see the source of your confusion. That's not the issue. We're not debating the adoption of an official industry-wide standard editor. Nothing along those lines. It's a matter of personal preference.
Jane: (Disappointed) So it's just different people choosing a different tool? Aren't you exaggerating a bit by calling it a feud?
Ray: I see where you might think that, but believe it or not, I've been to parties where shouting matches broke out spontaneously at the mention of either of these editors.
Jane: Wow. So this has been going on for what, weeks now?
Ray: A bit longer than that.
Ray: It has been going on for over 25 years.