[linux-elitists] My Anti-Qmail Page

Rick Moen rick@linuxmafia.com
Sun Nov 6 14:25:12 PST 2005


I wrote (responding to J. Paul Reed, in discussion about
http://www.shlomifish.org/open-source/anti/qmail/):

> Just to clarify, I'm not saying your points aren't worth noting, but I 
> (for one) wasn't saying that these matters can't or shouldn't be
> mentioned, just that they're touchy and difficult to discuss without
> _appearing_ to indulge in pure interpersonal squabbling.  I was saying
> the problem is the unintended rhetorical effect.

To comment further, on reflection:  Shlomi, I do hope you summarily
jettison point #3 and try again. 

There _are_ respects in which (and occasions when) even open-source
development where the coders' personal qualities become significant, and
more so for proprietary codebases.  However, it's difficult to make that
point without coming across as yet another net.loon acting out 
interpersonal soap opera, and _especially_ difficult in a page that brief.

And, Shlomi?  You didn't even try.  With the result that your page
shoots itself in the foot.  Thus my recommendation.

Here, please read this article by my friend Prof. Ray Hyman:
http://linuxmafia.com/pub/skeptic/files-to-classify/proper.txt

Note in particular these sections:

2. Clarify your objectives.
5. Let the facts speak for themselves.
7. Use the principle of charity.

Just to be absolutely clear, Prof. Hyman's advice (and mine) isn't about
failure to be nice; it's about failure to be effective.


Getting back to your page, some further copyediting nits:  

   convert existing installations into a different MTA
                                  ^^^^
"into" isn't idiomatic in this context.  You probably mean "to".


   "...kept up-to-date..

You doubled the period at the end of that sentence.


   That's over 7 years from now.

Will you be updating that sentence every year without fail?
Calendar-dependent claims on Web pages, if you must include them, are
best phrased like this:  "At this writing (2005-11), that means it's
been abandonware for over 7 years."


   Bernstein uses a lot of one or two letter variable names....
                              ^   ^^^^^^^^^^
"two letter" is a compound adjective, and so is best hyphenated.  
The entire phrase might be better written as "Bernstein uses a lot of
one- or two-letter variable names...."


   It has a completely user-unfriendly build system, a long build
   process, and its code is incredibly unreadable.
                ^^^^^^^^^^^
Parallelism error.  The sentence might be better written as "It has a
completely user-unfriendly build system, a long build process, and
incredibly unreadable code."


You now have

     MTAs

in one place and

     MTA's

further on.

Before changing the first of those mentions, your usage was awkward but
at least consistent.  ;->

Along those same lines, your page uses typical USA English spelling in
some places ("license") and Commonwealth spelling in others ("Humour").
Please pick one.




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