[linux-elitists] Re: Yet another mozilla atrocity

Martin Pool mbp@samba.org
Wed Oct 8 21:20:51 PDT 2003

On  7 Oct 2003, Jeremy Hankins <nowan@nowan.org> wrote:
> Martin Pool <mbp@samba.org> writes:
> > On  5 Oct 2003, Jeremy Hankins <nowan@nowan.org> wrote:
> >> I can easily see the point of a lib that provides a standard syntax
> >> for config files, is capable of setting policy (e.g., read global
> >> config first, and allow it to override the per-user config), and
> >> takes care of locking in a consistent, predictable way.
> >
> > So tell me: if you're going to allow people to edit the
> > configuration files with any old text editor, then how are you going
> > to do locking?  You can't use file locks or atomic replace.
> I carefully didn't use the terms "robust" or "reliable" but instead
> referred only to consistency and predictability.  I'm open to being
> convinced otherwise, but I strongly suspect that would be enough.  Do
> you really need robust locking for your wm config file?

Yes, I think robustness and reliability are important, and *sometimes*
it's reasonable to give up a bit of simplicity to get it, while
holding features constant.  Your preferences may be different.

> > How does the application know when to reload the changes?
> Easy: don't.  Nice example of giving up a little bit of functionality
> in order to save big on complexity.  I just don't see the point,
> especially when any solution is going to be complex enough to be
> buggy, and thus even more confusing to users than leaving well enough
> alone.

That is a reasonable and time-honoured design.  The gnome designers
feel differently.

When you change a global preference in gconf, it takes effect in all
apps straightaway.  For some settings such as your http proxy or font
size, this is highly useful, and restarting every application to make
it take effect is pretty inconvenient.  

You might feel that it's OK to put up with the inconvenience, but I
think it's better to avoid it if we can.  If an application does want
this feature, then I think gconf is a pretty good way to get it.  In
particular, it is far better than other suggestions, such as polling
the configuration file every second.

> If that is what gnome is at its best then I'd love to see it there
> someday.  Perhaps then it would be something I'd enjoy using.

gconf is only in its first release.  Hopefully some of the nits will
be removed and documentation will be added in the future.


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