[linux-elitists] Re: Yet another mozilla atrocity

Nick Moffitt nick@zork.net
Fri Oct 3 01:04:08 PDT 2003

begin  Martin Pool  quotation:
> On  2 Oct 2003, Rick Moen <rick@linuxmafia.com> wrote:
> > 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 everything?
> > 
> > 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.
> Well, now you know: gconftool is the designated tool for doing that.
> You're welcome to do it the other way, but it might not be as easy.
> However complaining that something is hard when you've ignored the
> easy way is a bit silly.

	And thus we get into the circular argument:

1: gconf makes crap for config files
2: gconf uses text, so it's good!
3: the text files look like ass.  Those timestamps are super unwieldy
4: Duh, you're not supposed to *edit* the text!  Use gconftool
5: Right, so gconf has crappy config files.

> > 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?
> You may not like XML, but at least it's consistent.  Of the .rc
> files from other programs, how many have a consistent format?  How
> many have hand-hacked almost-shell syntax with inconsistent quoting?
> How many respond reasonably if you make a mistake when hand-editing?
> (Flipping through ten at random, all have different syntax.)

	Okay, how about /etc/abiword/abiword.xml, and ~/.abiword.xml?
how about ~/.abiword/*.xml?  

> > 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!
> OK, you'd like one big file rather than a directory of smaller
> files.  Opinions vary on this, though Unix tends towards smaller
> files.

	Lots of small files can be stored in a less recursive
hierarchy.  Consider:


	Sure, go nuts, .gnumeric/gconf/ui/* and .gnumeric/gconf/db/*
and all that rot.  Group them by function or whatever you like.   But
you don't need nine levels deep!

> > Furthermore, where in my home directory am I expected to make a
> > local copy of this mess?
> Why do you want to do that?

	So that you can replicate select config settings elsewhere.  

> > But is that where I store my local Gnumeric preferences? I have no
> > clue.
> What preferences do you want to set that can't be set through the
> GUI?

	I want to be able to set a few key config settings at startup,
and let the rest be controlled by defaults.  GUI configs tend to be
tied to a particular version of an app, and include lots of dross.  I
want to be able to start up an app and say "turn on translucent panes,
xv support, and set my temp dir to /var/tmp instead of /tmp".  Then
let it figure out that 3.5 and 2.8 have different featuresets

> > Am I supposed to "cp -a" that entire
> > /etc/gconf/gconf.xml.defaults/apps/gnumeric tree to somewhere in
> > my home directory? 
> No.  What makes you think you need to?  Just relax.

	Don't ask the program to do what you want!  Instead, learn to
want what the program does!  Trust the computer!

> > The song-and-dance about how really nothing's changed because it's
> > still text files should not be taken seriously.
> GNOME is trying to progress beyond Unix's traditional
> guess-edit-restart-repeat in a way that is more friendly to both
> experts and novices.  That necessarily requires adding a layer, and
> probably requires giving up directly editing configuration files.

	Bullshit.  Poll the mtime of the config file, and slurp as

> If anyone here would like to sketch a design that has the same
> usability improvements as gconf, but without the perceived downsides
> then go ahead.  If you can't think of a better design then I have
> less sympathy for you complaining about it.

	Ingrates!  You all ought to write your own desktop system, and
keep the security problems out of it all by yourselves!

> Alternatively if you would prefer to stick with edit-restart-repeat
> then explain why people writing new GUIs ought to do it that way
> when more friendly methods exist.

	you've changed the subject.  edit-start-repeat is not a
requirement of having sane config files.  Please try again.

Support your droogs!


More information about the linux-elitists mailing list