[linux-elitists] Re: Yet another mozilla atrocity

Jeff Waugh jdub@perkypants.org
Tue Oct 14 18:40:33 PDT 2003

<quote who="Greg Folkert">

> > > <greg> He is not the end-all be-all he is being made up to be...
> > 
> > Oh man... Havoc's essays describe the perspective of the project, not
> > the other way around. It's learned wisdom, written down. Not a
> > manifesto. I agree with it, and pimp it, merely because it is a good
> > expression of what we learned post-1.x.
> Perspective of the Project... Ok. Learned wisdom, by whose standards? 

The 'core contributors', who have done the learning, and inspired newcomers.

> > > <scott> the point I would like to make on the list: complexity is
> > > manageable. It should not be discarded simply to eschew complexity.
> > > Gnome is inherently complex. WRT preferences: novice, intermediate,
> > > and expert toggles go a loooong way.
> > 
> > Well, this basically ruins your friend's credibility. Sorry, but we've
> > done this. Early Nautilus 1.0.x and Sawfish had these kinds of meta
> > settings for a long time, and it was a hideous disaster. Not in
> > implementation terms - in cognition terms. We won't be doing this again.
> Ruins? no. Just bringing your attention that there are a lot of people
> that did indeed treasure those meta-settings. Not to re-hash old things...
> but exactly *WHAT* Hideous nightmare are you referring to?  Please point
> me to those places I can get clue.

Sawfish pre-1.2 and very early Nautilus 1.0.x. The 'ski signs' and 'user
levels' ideas were dropped because they were an obfuscated symptomatic fix
to the problem of *fundamentally unnecessary* user interface overload. Not
only did we have far too many behavioural 'preferences' (Sawfish is the
prime example of this), but we tried to hide them behind 'Novice',
'Intermediate' and 'Advanced'. Not only did this give us a substantial user
support problem, but it allowed us to keep making the same mistake over and
over: leaving 'policy' (in this case, application behaviour) to users who
actually didn't give a tinker's cuss about it.

> 'sane default' explain that to me. I have a set of defaults I wish were
> used rather than _many_ that have chosen as of right now. Some of those
> default make the GNOME Environment extremely hostile to me. But less
> hostile than KDE.

If you can demonstrate why one behaviour is better than another (we're not
just talking defaults here - many of these behaviours are not preferential
at all), then the behaviour will be changed. It's not just a matter of
defaults - it's a matter of getting it right.

> I prefer to be able to control each and every widget action placement of
> said widgets, button actions, key-bindings, Disable closing some things,
> make actions commence on event (in the GUI). Window matching, windows
> preferences, etc...

You can see, however, that these needs would only interest less that 1% of
the potential computer-using population, right? For some reason, many tech
oriented people seem to think that everyone should swallow their yearning
for troublesome and difficult choices that are irrelevant to every day life.
:-) But here's my favourite answer:

  "In addition to these ample facilities, there exists a powerful
  configuration tool called gcc." - Elliot Hughes, author of lwm

Why make something a 'preference' when you can do it right the first time?

> Basically I want, what I want without having to use the the "editing tool"
> because otherwise it is so cryptic (Binary data in the gconf db is
> insane).

There are very few instances of encoded data (not 'binary data') in GConf.

> I do also want to be able to edit my "saved-session" file with resorting
> to voodoo. I like to be able to schedule my default session to be started
> at the same time rather than serially...

gnome-session needs a heck of a lot of love. It's on our list of 'big things
that need fixing'.

> I guess this falls on deaf ears.

Different ears, maybe. If you're expecting confrontation, that's probably
all you'll achieve.

> > I think the problem is underanalysis and lack of information on your
> > friend's part. :-)
> Trust me Jeff, Scott is NOT a new-comer to GNOME. He has been a devoted
> Longtime user of it and was saddened when the "Meta" settings disappeared.
> He is also a very good interface designer. 

'underanalysis' and 'lack of information' != newcomer. :-)

- Jeff

linux.conf.au 2004: Adelaide, Australia         http://lca2004.linux.org.au/
  "When's the last time you heard of the police having to intervene at an
                   antiquarian book riot?" - Raph Levien

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