[linux-elitists] Re: Yet another mozilla atrocity

Tanner Lovelace lovelace@trilug.org
Wed Oct 8 13:06:44 PDT 2003

Jeff Waugh wrote:

> Sure, they're not the same thing. But designing a software system without
> understanding how the code should/will/can work WILL lead to pain.

You can understand how a system will work and still not be able to
program it.  Sure it helps, but you don't have to know the ends and
outs completely to be able to design it.  It's like writing or arranging
orchestral music.  I may not be able to play a violin like a master (or
even at all), but I can still put together an orchestral score that will rock.

> Besides, we're not talking about designing or coding here, we're talking
> about backseat criticism (the difference between "doing" and "whinging").

Really?  What brought me into this discussion was my disagreement with
your assertion you had to know how to write code to design things.  It
started with this message from you in response to Karsten:

Karsten wrote:
 >I don't have the means myself to write something different.  I'm not a
 > coder.

And you replied:
 >... which makes you sufficiently qualified to say "you're doing it all
 >wrong, and I know just how you should do it", just like every other random
 >gimp who thinks they know the score.

which you later followed up with:

 > Non-coders who think they know better than experienced coders are, more often
 > than not, noise.

which is what I replied to.

> Anyway, this is a flame-charged tangent. GConf is what it is, and it is
> also getting better. Naysayers can deal with it, or help out. Whinging
> about it isn't going to help anyone... Same story for all Free Software.

Or, they can just ignore it and go somewhere else.  That's usually what
happens when the developers start dismissing user concerns out of hand.

>>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.
> I can only ask, "Why?" ... Why do you perceive it this way, and what has
> led to this perception? Real examples are helpful. The fact that you
> disagree with an abstract notion of our perceived goals is well understood
> - let's figure out why.

Well, let's just start with this discussion and how you've responded.  Here's
a few examples:

> Dribbling sarcasm aside, no, you shouldn't have to muck around with fifty
> seven thousand anal retentive configuration options to hit the ground
> running just because some obsessive compulsive software developer wasn't
> capable of measuring the costs against the use cases.
> You are part of a very small percentage of users who actually care enough
> about this stuff to wield drippingly sarcastic prose on a mailing list with
> a largely similarly-minded audience. Obviously, it's an awesome challenge
> you've set for yourself, and I wish you luck with it!
 > If you want software with lots of crazy user-painful options and plenty of
 > switches and dials, choose Microsoft products.
> But is it behavioural, or preferential? If it's preferential, then sure, you
> can choose red or blue. If it's behavioural, then often enough there can be
> a 'correct choice' (part of the decision to have a 'correct choice' might be
> avoiding the costs associated with providing both).
> They're totally preferential, and it's not as if GNOME has removed every
> *preferential* option it ever had. We've just killed the stupid shit (four
> clocks, fully configurable panel icon tiles, etc).

Now, I'm willing to admit that these can be read several different ways, but
I'm just talking about the way I read them.  To me it seems that you don't
really seem to care what one of your users (Karsten) thinks about the usability
of your software (Gconf/Gnome/whatever).  I mean, come on, I don't even use
Gnome, so I've tried to refrain from making any comments about it, but to
completely disregard your users doesn't seem to me to be a winning strategy.
And, granted, I will admit that Karsten can seem abrasive at times but I
disagree that flaming him (or anyone else will get your point across).  If
I may quote:

 > Develop thick skin, you're going to need it.

(I'm sure you can figure out where I'm quoting from. :-)

But, actually, this is beside the point that I wanted to make which was
that designing and coding are not the same thing and that good coders
can be lousy designers and vice-versa.

P.S. There really is no need, btw, to CC me on every message you send
to the list.  I am subscribed and will get the message when it's posted.
If you wouldn't mind taking just a minute and editing your To and CC
lines, I'd appreciate it.
Tanner Lovelace |  lovelace(at)trilug.org  | http://www.trilug.org/
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                                 Commander John Crichton (Farscape)
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