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RE: Kind request: fix your packages

On Sun, 2003-10-05 at 17:25, Nils Philippsen wrote:
> On Sat, 2003-10-04 at 18:19, Sean Middleditch wrote:

> > has to do with the fact the user doesn't care, doesn't need to care, and
> > shouldn't be forced to care.  I don't have a fricken clue how a jet
> > engine works, don't really care how it works, but that doesn't mean I'm
> > not allowed to fly on a plane.  Indeed, the usage of an airplane is
> To turn around your comparison, the pilot would be the person pushing
> around the mouse and pushing the keys for you (and everyone would be
> clapping hands when the document comes out of the printer ;-). Doesn't
> sound right? I thought so.

The absolute worst thing about analogies is that people take parts of
them that don't apply to the situation, and go with them.  ~,^ Use an
analogy of how an angry person is like a hungry bear, and someone will
think that you are saying angry people get furry and crave meat...

The pilot vs. passenger distinction is irrelevant, both are airplane
users.  Perhaps I should've used cars as a cleaner analogy.  ;-)  I
don't know how most of my Ford Ranger works, and I couldn't care - I
just get in and drive the thing.  (oh, no, wait, now someone is going to
take the analogy to another extreme and start bringing in proper oil
changes and driver's licenses or something - that's not what this
analogy is about!  misusing a computer doesn't cause deadly accidents,
and lack of proper software maintenance doesn't cause the harder to rust
and break.  not relevant!)

> > completely independent of knowing how the engine works, including the
> > pilots.
> They too have their specialists ("flight mechanics") for the engines,
> but at least basic knowledge how they work (e.g. the kernel) and
> intimate knowledge about flight mechanics (e.g. how the system boots,
> what package dependencies are and how to deal with them). If you look at
> small planes, the pilots often are the flight mechanics.

Totally beyond the scope of my original analogy.  My mother has a
computer she uses just by herself (single pilot system), but she
certainly doesn't know anything about the mechanics.  Granted, she
hasn't needed to know about mechanics to get her work done in the almost
20 years she's been using various definitely-not-Linux operating
systems.  ;-)

> As I see it, the flight mechanics represent developers, the pilot
> represents an administrator, the passengers represent normal users. At
> the moment, passengers are restricted to using their seats, watching TV
> and going to the bathroom during flight -- with much assistance and
> hand-holding they could possibly emergency-land a machine if the pilots
> are sick or whatever, but what are the odds that they succeed?
> I don't say that I don't wish that users could easily do complicate
> tasks on a computer, aided by carefully crafted tools (auto-pilot ;-)
> who take care of the innards they don't want to know about. 

Eek.  Double negatives, my English parser just got thrown off. :(  You
*do* say that you *do* wish users could do complicated tasks...? 
(sorry, I've always had trouble with double negatives ;-)

> > Computers aren't any different.  There is no reason a user should *have*
> > to understand the inner workings of it.  That doesn't mean they *can't*
> > know it, only that they don't need to.
> A computer is a very complex machine and I don't see that today's tools
> are intelligent enough to hide all that from the user and still give
> them all the potential the machines have. I don't see the majority of
> the people having their private planes/gliders/etc. in the next years
> either ;-).

A lot of the potential a machine has, a user doesn't want.  Computers
can be just as flexible and complex for the users with the knowledge as
our beautiful systems have today; we can still make it work efficiently
(least amount of time and effort to complete a task) for users who see
it as a tool for simpler tasks like writing a paper, browsing a website,
playing a game, or chatting with friends/family.  Not everyone is a
hacker or sysadmin-wannabe.  ~,^

I *definitely* don't want Fedora/Linux "dumbed down" to be easier -
that's the wrong approach.  It just needs to purify the stuff that's too
complex for some, and needlessly cumbersome for others.  I often compile
software from source, have spent tons of time rebuilding RPMs and
manually fixing dependencies, and develop software - that doesn't mean I
enjoy having to go thru a lot of the trouble all that often requires. 
Simple != less flexible, and neither does complex == power.  The current
situation's correlation between the later doesn't imply causality in the
least.  ~,^

To go with a (hopefully) relevant analogy, look at GNOME2.  Tons of
uninformed fools whined on and on about it being "dumbed down," yet it's
just as powerful as before.  Whole components can be replaced if
necessary (available flexibility that doesn't require other users to
understand the mechanism), and its become a lot cleaner and easier for
both the newbie *and* expert; it pulled the crap out of the way to let
*everyone*, no matter the experience level, use it as a tool to get work
done, versus being a desktop that gets in the way of getting work done. 
Simplified, *needless* complexity stripped out, yet fully functional for
just about everyone save those with truly special needs.  And of course,
for those who don't like it, they can just use something besides GNOME. 
But a normal GNOME user doesn't need to know about that, or even what
makes that possible, to be able to use GNOME.  My friend Dan definitely
wouldn't understand (again, not because he's stupid, just because he
hasn't bothered to learn how a Linux system operates), yet he uses GNOME
mostly happily (save for the questions about getting software installed
I get from him, and other irrelevant-to-this-thread annoyances like
media mounting.)

Cleaning up and purifying the package system and development
methodologies doesn't have to sacrifice anything, assuming they are
cleaned up *right*.  (just removing external dependencies and
unconditionally embedding them is definitely not *right*)

> Just some thoughts...
> Nils
Sean Middleditch <elanthis awesomeplay com>
AwesomePlay Productions, Inc.

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