[linux-elitists] Re: GNOME > you

Nathaniel Smith njs@pobox.com
Thu Jan 1 16:34:20 PST 2004

On Thu, Jan 01, 2004 at 11:37:56AM +1100, Jeff Waugh wrote:
> Sandy doesn't care about the tool, the technology or the process - she just
> wants to get shit done. Jeremy does - there are technical considerations
> that are important to him. They both have the same goal, but are undertaking
> it in very different ways.

I don't understand this distinction at all.

I don't care at all about my custom keybindings, really.  I mean,
choosing a button to cycle windows -- it's not like there are deep
religious matters involved here.  I want to write papers and stuff.

But trying to use word processors for more than five minutes at a
time drives me utterly up the wall, and besides, they totally suck at
all sorts of things I need to do: mathematical notation,
bibliographies, etc.  So I use LaTeX, not because "using LaTeX is
important to me", but because "I want to get work done and other
things suck".  Similarly, I'm much, much happier and productive since
I switched to ion[1], not because using weird window managers is a
tradition in my family or something, but because it Sucks Less.

Your argument seems to be that GNOME is good for people who don't care
whether their software sucks or not.  Fair enough, lots of people will
use the first thing to come to hand no matter its quality, and not
bother finding something better.  But "GNOME is good because it comes
preinstalled" is not really a very strong position!

Put another way, the question is really how to make the best tools;
surely Sandy would benefit from TeX-quality typesetting whether she
knows it or not, and she is likely at some point (even if not on this
particular paper) to appreciate the benefits of separation of content
and form, or want to put some paper on a website.  You seem to be
saying that anyone who isn't an expert _should_ be using inferior
tools, simply because, eh, they won't recognize quality anyway, so it
doesn't matter.

Let me be clear that I'm agnostic as to GNOME's actual quality; I
don't use it at all, and I'm perfectly happy to think that it might be
great for all sorts of people.  Your argument, though, rather fails to
convince me of that.  Or is there some other way to make sense of your

-- Nathaniel

[1] Ion is one of those funky paned window managers that doesn't
support overlapping windows.

.i dei jitfa fanmo xatra

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