[linux-elitists] Re: GNOME > you

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Mon Jan 5 23:51:20 PST 2004

on Sun, Jan 04, 2004 at 05:24:37PM +1100, Jeff Waugh (jdub@perkypants.org) wrote:
> <quote who="Jim Richardson">

> > To be clear, it wasn't that it was hanging when I tried to print, I
> > could sort of undestand that, it was hanging when I fired up
> > Gnumeric.  As you can probably guess, I wasn't using the GNOME
> > desktop, don't know if that would have any effect or not. 
> > 
> > Doing a strace showed it hanging trying to contact the machine with
> > the printer, (that was 1200 miles away, and probably not on, let
> > alone on a non routable network in the first place. ) 
> AHA. Then that is 100% a bug, I should hope that it's obviously not by
> design, and it would be spurious at best to argue that this was "GNOME
> insisting that I work a particular way". Come on, big difference between a
> dumbarse bug [1] and a usability issue (yes, bugs affect usability, but I
> hope you grok my point).

There are bugs.  And there are software designs which encourage bugs (C
and buffer overflows being the canonical example -- just to not pick on
GNOME for a moment).

But:  if GNOME's design encourages this sort of problem, it's a systemic
bug.  It's the sort of bug endemic to complex systems.  And hence:  an
architectural bug with the system as a whole.

This is meta level, it's not a specific instance, but it's germane.
It's also the sort of thing which you, Mr. Waugh (I can't speak of all
or even most GNOME developers, but you're the handy whipping boy, and
have a position of responsibility within the culture) seem to have a
hell of a time comprehending.

It's as much a bug as ripping out (for whatever justfication)
featuresets used (and perhaps relied on) by a large user base.  Once a
system reaches a certain state, incremental change is necessary, even if
it's crufty.

Statistical quality control is a concept which was well understood by
the middle of the prior century.  Please don't tell me it's been
forgotten already.


Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
  I was never no good after that night, Charlie.
  - M. Brando
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