[linux-elitists] Re: Yet another mozilla atrocity

Jesse Hutton jhutton@eden.rutgers.edu
Fri Oct 3 17:56:41 PDT 2003

On Sat, 4 Oct 2003, Karsten M. Self wrote:
> on Fri, Oct 03, 2003 at 12:19:50PM +1000, Martin Pool (mbp@samba.org) wrote:
> > On  2 Oct 2003, Jeremy Hankins <nowan@nowan.org> wrote:
> >
> > > 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.
> >
> > So don't deal with it.  Don't use software that uses it.
> I'm going to pick up the non-sequitorishness of this all again.
> I think the criticisms of gconf, and GNOME in general, are reasonably
> clearly stated.

Perhaps, but, indeed, they seem to me to be mostly of the "old-fogey" unix
guy who doesn't want anything to change in the way of configuration
files. And to be fair, the replies and justifications to those criticisms
seem quite well stated also. In particular, gconf seems to be solving a
set of problems for the desktop that the traditional old fogey unix guy
is not concerned about. Personally, I'm happy as a clam with the way
Gnome is headed, and I nothing but accolades to give to the developers.
But then again, I'm not a seriously picky user, and I like my apps to
*just work* and be easy to configure, i.e. without having to learn a new
config syntax for each of my numerous apps I use on a daily basis. I
realize that the Gnome developers could have made snazzy gui config
dialogues *and* provided traditionally placed and editable config files,
but then there seems to be the problems left that they were trying to
solve, namely some semblance of desktop integration and interactive
configuration capabilties (again, we arrive at the set of concerns the
Gnome developers are addressing, which seem to fall on deaf ears in the
"old-fogey" unix user bunch).

> The fundamental problem is one which is best stated, IMO, in the
> If there's a two-word encapsulation of _Code Complete_, it's "code
> modularly". Again and again and again, the _best_ free software

I know some people are really ticked about where Gnome is headed (and
where their beloved applications are following), but aren't these
comparisons to MS a little bit stretched? An important distinction that
is being obfuscated here is that since it is free sortware, it is *open
source*, and you have the right to read and alter any of the code you
desire. Not that I'm saying that that is easy, but it at least need to be
pointed out here, where some are concerned about overly cryptic config
files that are not very hand-editable. Many people also consider the
distinction between modularity at the source level (especially since it's
open source) vs. modularity at the object code level important, like the
developers of the Linux kernel, for example.

> The objection to GNOME's gconf isn't *just* an "old fart's" attitude.
> It's a deep understanding of what makes for good, viable, long-term
> tenable, quality software.

[...[many complaints which simple bug reports might remedy]...]

> GNOME's development team is welcome to follow any idiotic path of
> development they wish to.  They are not welcome to tell the rest of the
> community to stuff it *and* shut up.  "Stuff it" is acceptable, but
> that's a two-way street.  It's not a particularly rewarding journey.

The people they appear to be telling to "stuff it" are those who say "you
must not change *anything* so that traditional unix conventions (like
config file location) are broken" (i.e. don't force me to learn anything
new). I believe the "shut up" part comes from what appears to be your,
and others' (all of whom I've learned a lot from in the past on this
list), refusal to recognize the set of concerns that the developers are
trying to address while you continue to complain about the direction they
are heading.


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