holy wars

[from USENET, but may predate it] n. {flame war}s 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". 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. LISP, 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.