[linux-elitists] Re: Yet another mozilla atrocity

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Mon Oct 6 08:09:20 PDT 2003

on Mon, Oct 06, 2003 at 08:02:47PM +1000, Jeff Waugh (jdub@perkypants.org) wrote:
> <quote who="Karsten M. Self">
> > > > Well designed software will allow you to change the defaults easily
> > > > and consistently.
> > > 
> > > Well designed software should 'just work'.
> > 
> > Ah, so you agree:  well designed software should allow you to change the
> > defaults easily and consistently.
> > 
> > Thanks, Jeff, we thought that's what you meant.
> Dribbling sarcasm aside, no, you shouldn't have to muck around with fifty
> seven thousand anal retentive configuration options to hit the ground
> running 

You've clearly fried a circuit somewhere between the concepts of "have
the ability to do" and "under penalty of gravest and vilest death are
absolutely and without recourse required to".

I'm a firm believer in two principles:  sane by default, and
configurable to needs.  They are *not* mutually exclusive.  I have no
idea how you've convinced yourself that they are.

Moreover, in a world in which a few hundred K of configuration settings
provide my environment, hardware is cheap, and software is free, why
should I cripple my self by bending uncomfortably to the machine, rather
than adapting it to me?

On a related and relevant note:  there's a curious trait I've noticed
among many journalists who cover IT -- each has a strong preference for
the toolset that was in use, particularly editors -- in use when they
first started the trade.  Many of them have quite intentionally stayed
*off* the upgrade threadmill, and are working with editors from the
early and mid 1980s:  WordStar, WP51, AmiPro, and other exotica.  Why?
Because they learned the tool, got good at it, and saw now compelling
reason to change.  And in their case, they didn't have to.  All the
while, they're shilling the "latest and greatest" from the criminal
abusive monopolist de jour.

Free software takes this one step further:  there's no need to obsolete
old tools, or squeeze them out of the market.  So I'm using an editor
strongly based on the one I first learned 17 years ago, though unlike
the journalists mentioned in the above paragraph, my tool _hasn't_
remained static, but has both retained compatibility _and_ aquired
useful new features.

As a tech worker, or a professional secretary, or a killer salesman, why
shouldn't I be allowed to carry with me a work environment in which I've
both become proficient, *and* which has little or no software cost to
acquire?    I note you've made the usual techie assumption that only
geeks are highly keyed in to their computing environments -- my
experience is that this is hardly the case.  Non-technies may not
rummage around in the guts (though they may), but many assuredly *do*
have strong ideas over what they do or don't like in their workspace.

Funny thing about computers is that the current proprietary/commercial
model gives us a rather interesting lie:  we're sold configurability and
?personalization" to the users, but IT administration is told how they
can "lock down" desktops, and management instructs users that any
modifications to the stock rollout are prohibited.

To hell with that.  Why shouldn't I be able to provide my own tools
(like any skilled workman or technician), plug into standards-compliant
systems for authentication, mail, web, file, and print, and provide my
inputs while communicating with others and sharing data?  This is pretty
close to how I've worked at my last few gigs.  My current desktop system
is about the same size as the latest copy of _Programming Perl_, and is
readily carried about.  Mull that.

Jeff:  Please pack up your delusional arguments and go elsewhere for a


Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
   Burn all gifs!  Use PNG and tell Unisys to go to hell:
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