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Re: [tlug] epcEditor

On Thu, Mar 21, 2002 at 08:50:06PM -0800, Michael Moyle wrote:

> The question is though what is sloppy? 
> I don't think linux infrastructure is sloppy, though I am not a kernel
> hacker, so I wouldn't know, other than by judging
> performance. Installation varies from distro to distro. 

Yes, and in my experience most of the Linux installers have automation
features that often fail, which could be called sloppy (unless you prefer
to call it "evil"). I keep telling people how great the Debian installer
is because it gives you *choices*, and explains in plain English what
those choices mean. It's an uphill struggle, though -- too many people
just say "ewww, text mode!"

Before I started using Debian, I spent 3 years with RedThing, and had 
tried out TurboLinux, Caldera, and SuSE -- all of which have graphical
installers -- and I don't think I ever had a flawless install with any
of them, though SuSE came close. RedHat in particular tries too hard
to automate everything. Case in point: XConfigurator. I can't tell you
how many times I've seen people on discussion lists saying things like
"Help! I can't start X Windows!" -- and it turns out they had simply
followed RedHat's default installation procedure, and XConfigurator
had simply failed to recognize their (XFree86-compatible) hardware.

> However, I am going to argue that command line is not arcane. There is a
> consistent syntax to using unix commands. 

And yet there are many people who can't remember commands. I don't know
why they can't, just as I don't understand why many otherwise intelligent
people find it terribly hard to learn a new (human) language. But it is
a fact that they can't, and any discussion of how to create good user
interfaces needs to take that into account.

Matt Gushee
Englewood, Colorado, USA

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