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holy wars

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[Usenet, but may predate it] flame wars over religious issues. The paper by Danny Cohen that popularised the terms big-endian and little-endian was entitled "On Holy Wars and a Plea for Peace". Other perennial Holy Wars have included Emacs vs. vi, my personal computer vs. everyone else's personal computer, ITS vs. Unix, Unix vs. VMS, BSD Unix vs. USG Unix, C vs. Pascal, C vs. Fortran, etc., ad nauseam. The characteristic that distinguishes holy wars from normal technical disputes is that in a holy wars most of the participants spend their time trying to pass off personal value choices and cultural attachments as objective technical evaluations. See also theology.

[Jargon File]

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