Right Thing

According to the Jargon File, version 4.1.2:

Right Thing (n.)

That which is compellingly the correct or appropriate thing to use, do, say, etc. Often capitalized, always emphasized in speech as though capitalized. Use of this term often implies that in fact reasonable people may disagree. "What's the RightThing for LISP to do when it sees (mod a 0)? Should it return a, or give a divide-by-0 error?"

See also WorseIsBetter, where a different definition of the RightThing is made, namely the MIT/Stanford approach as opposed to the NewJersey (C/UNIX) style pragmatism (called WorseIsBetter). In this sense, trying to achieve the RightThing is a sort of BigDesign or BigDesignUpFront, which should be avoided (YouArentGonnaNeedIt).

''The IncompatibleTimeSharingSystem, whose PcLosering? was the canonical RightThing in RichardGabriel's GoodNewsBadNewsHowToWinBig, isn't BigDesignUpFront by any stretch of the imagination.''

Untrue. Adding PcLosering? to Unix would have meant making guarantees about the behavior of every single system call without exception, including that any partial work previously accomplished would be seamlessly tracked by the kernel. And this, on a PDP-11 whose hardware couldn't even recover from an interrupt in the middle of a partially executed instruction!

But hardware issues aside, still it is a big deal to make such guarantees for any and all current and future system calls. PcLosering? is arguably the RightThing, sure, but don't gloss over the difficulties.

You can do something the quick and dirty way, or you can do the RightThing and do it properly. Sounds like CantDoRightRightNow.

Used by the advertising campaign in Australia that ran for about 10 years and changed people's attitudes towards rubbish - Australia is much cleaner than it used to be. The advertising slogan was Do the Right Thing, but without the jingle it loses something in the translation.

So IncrementalGarbageCollection? is the right thing.

See DoTheRightThing, DoSomeThing, GoodThing, BadThing


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