[linux-elitists] Re: Yet another mozilla atrocity

Rick Moen rick@linuxmafia.com
Thu Oct 2 12:48:39 PDT 2003

Quoting Jeremy Hankins (nowan@nowan.org):

> gconf-editor is a gui, iirc, and gconftool isn't exactly a substitute
> for a text file.  But in any case, I understand that.  gnome is
> designed for users who like clicky interfaces & eye candy.  Different
> people have different priorities; I have no problem with that, and I
> acknowledge that there is a niche that gconf fills.  What annoys me is
> when *I* have to deal with it.  Don't elevate the (naive, imho) wishes
> of a subset of the user population to "good UI".

For an extra dose of old-fogyism, here's what I wrote in a related
discussion elsewhere, in response to a claim that GConf is a fine way to
store application settings and is friendly towards Unix traditionalists'
way of managing such things:

Peter wrote:

> GNOME's configuration system is a bunch of text files that you can edit
> in vi. Yes, text files. They're XML, and human-readable. GOOD.

XML's OK for configuration files, even though if edited in raw form all
those bloody angle brackets will drive you batty. But where the hell is

My desktop system (a laptop) has Galeon, Abiword, and gnumeric on it,
which I value on their merits without particularly caring whether or not
their maintainers consider them "part of GNOME". So, it might be nice to
be able to find and adjust their configurations, system-wide, inside my
home directory, or both.

OK, how 'bout /etc/abiword/abiword.rc and ~/.abiword.rc? No such luck.
/etc/gnumeric/gnumeric.rc and ~/.gnumeric.rc? Fat chance. How about
using locate?

rick@guido:~$ locate gnumeric | more

What the frell? Why would Gnumeric's settings be stashed under those for
GConf? Furthermore, what's with the nine levels deep of subdirectories?
Jeezux. It's just a furshlugginer conf file!

Furthermore, where in my home directory am I expected to make a local
copy of this mess? ~/.gnumeric/ ? Nope, that would be far too logical.
Turns out there's some contraption called ~/.gnome/Gnumeric, which is
not an XML file, but rather something like a messy MS-Windows .INI file.
But is that where I store my local Gnumeric preferences? I have no clue.

Am I supposed to "cp -a" that entire
/etc/gconf/gconf.xml.defaults/apps/gnumeric tree to somewhere in my home
directory? Maybe, but heavens knows where. And there are about eighty
files in that tree. Eighty! My well-tuned .vimrc is a single, easily
understood file of 59 lines.

I'm sorry, but that's not progress, it's not good design, and it's just
basically not acceptable.

GNOME can basically kiss my shiny metal ass. Give me real configuration

Rick Moen

> So you think editing text files to configure software is "strange and
> unfortunate."  Gotcha.  Though I rather surmised that from your
> previous post.

The song-and-dance about how really nothing's changed because it's
still text files should not be taken seriously.  The next step is for
these folks to say "Well, maybe we exaggerated about how nothing's
fundamentally different -- but it's good for you!"

Cheers,    "Not only does the English language borrow from other languages, 
Rick Moen  it sometimes chases them through dark alleys, hits them over the
rick@linuxmafia.com   head, and goes through their pockets."  -- Eddy Peter

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