Best Tool for Yak Shaving: Emacs

Perm URL with updates: http://xahlee.org/funny/emacs_yak_shaving.html

Here's an example:

“I was working on my thesis and realized I needed a reference. I'd seen a post on comp.arch recently that cited a paper, so I fired up gnus. While I was searching the for the post, I came across another post whose MIME encoding screwed up my ancient version of gnus, so I stopped and downloaded the latest version of gnus.”

“Unfortunately, the new version of gnus didn't work with emacs 18, so I downloaded and built emacs 20. Of course, then I had to install updated versions of a half-dozen other packages to keep other users from hurting me. When I finally tried to use the new gnus, it kept crapping out on my old configuration. And that's why I'm deep in the gnus info pages and my .emacs file — and yet it's all part of working on my thesis.”

And that, my friends, is yak shaving. (Not that this particular example happened to me recently or anything.)