= H =
holy wars n.
[from Usenet, but may predate it;
common] n. flame wars over religious issues. The
paper by Danny Cohen that popularized the terms big-endian and
little-endian in connection with the LSB-first/MSB-first
controversy was entitled "On Holy Wars and a Plea for Peace".
Great holy wars of the past have included ITS vs. Unix,
Unix vs. VMS, BSD Unix vs. System V, C
vs. Pascal, C vs. FORTRAN, etc. In the year 2000,
popular favorites of the day are KDE vs, GNOME, vim vs. elvis,
Linux vs. [Free|Net|Open]BSD. Hardy perennials include EMACS
vs. vi, my personal computer vs. everyone else's personal
computer, ad nauseam. The characteristic that distinguishes holy
wars from normal technical disputes is that in a holy war most of
the participants spend their time trying to pass off personal value
choices and cultural attachments as objective technical
evaluations. This happens precisely because in a true holy war,
the actual substantive differences between the sides are
relatively minor. See also theology.
--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.