[linux-elitists] Re: Yet another mozilla atrocity

Martin Pool mbp@samba.org
Mon Oct 13 18:29:22 PDT 2003

On  9 Oct 2003, Rick Moen <rick@linuxmafia.com> wrote:

> 1.  Repeated flogging of something called "GNOME" when I had very 
> explicitly stated that I was concerned solely with Galeon, gnumeric, and
> AbiWord.  

I used the synecdoche "GNOME" for variously "the GNOME project",
"people working on the GNOME project", "applications using GNOME
libraries", etc.  I hoped it would be clear from context, but
apparently not.

Given that you like some features of Abiword but not their
configuration system, you might ask why the Abiword authors did it
that way.  They're not completely bad programmers, or you wouldn't be
worrying about it at all.  So some people who know something about
design have made a decision to use gconf.

Why did they do that?  I don't speak for them, but if I were in their
shoes, gconf might seem like the best available solution.  I don't
want to write my own dotfile parser/generator.  I might prefer the
user-interface design of having preferences just persist without an
explicit save command.  I'd probably enjoy gconf's friendly API.

Given that many staunch Unix traditionalists dislike the whole concept
of a wysiwyg word processor, making them happy might not be my top
priority.  If the dotfiles didn't cause moaning and rending of beards,
then the encouragment to use visual rather than semantic formatting
probably would, or the fact that the document format is not plain

I don't see Karsten or yourself writing a better library than GNOME.
This option remains open to you: write a better mousetrap than gconf
and applications will eventually use it.

> 3.  Aforementioned utter failure to notice paragraph one of my
> Galeon/gnumeric/AbiWord post, where I carefully noted that I'd written
> it for another forum to refute an allegation that GConf is a fine way to
> store application settings and is friendly towards Unix traditionalists'
> way of managing such things.

I admit I misunderstood your point.  I agree that gconf is not
friendly towards Unix traditionalists, where that term means people
who want to edit a text dotfile and then restart the application.  I
argued that it's quite well designed for both novices, and for expert
users who are prepared to learn a little bit of new information.  Both
can be true.


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