[linux-elitists] Re: Yet another mozilla atrocity

Tanner Lovelace lovelace@trilug.org
Wed Oct 8 11:51:12 PDT 2003

Jeff Waugh wrote:

> "Oh, but it's easy!" Sorry, doesn't hold up in the real world,
> particularly the very noisy low-barrier-to-I-know-better-than-you-entry
> Free Software world.

Did I say things were easy?  No, I specifically said coding and
design are *not* the same thing.  This was in response to your
assertion that Karsten was "just like every other random
gimp who thinks they know the score." I notice you casually sidestepped
this issue, deciding instead to insinuate that you yourself know
better than anyone else.  Would you care to answer my actual point
instead of going off on a tangent?

> Again, you can't split the debate into a binary "more flexibility" and
> "less flexibility" argument. Approaching usability issues that way will
> result in a suboptimal solution, no matter which "side" you think you're
> on. The GNOME Project's approach has nothing to do with "less flexibility"
> and "lowest common denominator". Think "just works" and "greatest common
> factor".

I'm all for sane defaults, but that does not have preclude easy modification of
those defaults.  For example, several years ago I was writing some code for
what was basically a virtual reality library.  The design called for the same
code to be able to display the same application on anything from a simple
screen/mouse combo to a tracked head mounted display, to an immersa desk
and several other things in between.  Now, how to do this isn't a problem,
Warren Robinnet figured it out and published it a while back, but how to
present it to the user (in this case a programmer using the library) was the
problem.  It needed to be as simple as possible (because the user doesn't
really care about how things get displayed, but rather what gets displayed),
but flexible so they could easily change things out and use a different
system when they needed to.  We also, however, didn't want to limit the
user to just using the things we had defined, because who knows what kind
of display system may come around in the future.  So, yes, it is a problem
of balance, but the view of GNOME from the outside seems to be that you're
trying to find "balance" by restricting things rather than making sane
defaults and giving the user the ability to change things when needed.

> Read Havoc's essay again. I'm not saying "balance" because it's an easy
> way to shrug off the discussion. Balance is hard, and it doesn't involve
> the kind of binary debate you're suggesting above.

What part of his essay are you suggesting I read?  I've read it,
listened to your's and other's arguments here and I'm sorry, but you
haven't convinced me yet.  I agree that "balance" is a good thing, but
I don't think my idea of balance agrees with yours.

Tanner Lovelace |  lovelace(at)trilug.org  | http://www.trilug.org/
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  This would be a very good time to hang out with the Open Source
  people, before they get formally reclassified as a national security
  threat. -- Bruce Sterling
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