[opensource] Idea for event: hacking on the Oval

Nick Hurley hurley at todesschaf.org
Sun Jun 11 19:49:47 EDT 2006

On 11 Jun 2006, at 18:22, Steven James Samuel Stapleton wrote:
> Suggestion; if you have a point to make, you look less ignorant and  
> do a better job if you can do it without insulting people.

Suggestion -- don't assume because I say "you're on crack" that I'm  
insulting you. That is my own little amusing way of saying "I  
disagree with you completely". If I had wanted to insult you, I would  
have called you an idiot who can't tell his own ass from a hole in  
the ground (or something similar). In other words, don't put words in  
my mouth.

> I'll admit, apt was pretty good, and the front-ends made it more  
> usful, but I still had horrible cases of dependancy-hell from it,  
> that it just couldn't fix.

This I find odd, since that is precisely the point of using apt. Yes,  
if you're using debian unstable, you'll sometimes get broken  
dependencies. But, then again, "unstable" is in the name :-)

> Yum when it works, is just fine, but it was horribly unreliable to  
> my experience, buggy and crashed a lot. Installing new apps was a  
> pain, trying to find what name it had them under, dealing with  
> finding this, that, the other thing, etc. Ports at least has  
> everything in one directory, in a neat orderly structure. Also,  
> ports, in my experience, has had less than a 1% failure rate in  
> getting packages running, which I cannot say about yum

Your definition of a "neat orderly structure" is somewhat different  
from mine. I consistently found things harder to find in ports than  
in yum or using apt (apt-cache search can find just about anything).

> I'll say I've had the opposite experience, yum was by far the most  
> buggy and un-reliable piece of software I've used under linux (even  
> Windows Update has been more reliable than that piece of garbage in  
> all my uses). Apt is better, but as I already stated, still not as  
> reliable as ports in my experience, and ports gives you so many  
> ways to fix dependancie problems, and even tells you what to do in  
> most cases.

Again, I've found ports dependency resolution somewhat lacking in my  
experience. Guess that's just a difference of opinion and preference.

> Having worked with and administrated for most desktop users, I can  
> tell you that you are (a) fighting a loosing battle with that  
> mindset, and (b) do not have a clue about most *normal* desktop  
> users. While many OS software options will work, they get set in  
> their ways and don't want to change, and many OS software options  
> still aren't *quite* as userfriendly as non-OS, because the OS  
> people tend to be tech-savants, and they don't think like normal  
> users, and therefore make mistakes in that regard for application  
> design. Many people have trouble seeing other mindsets, the  
> advantage to a lot of commercial software, including the closed- 
> source options, is that they are designed by normal users in many  
> cases, and the programers just write the programs to fit those  
> specifications.

Here's another suggestion for you -- do not suggest that I do not  
have a clue what most "normal" desktop users use (thereby saying I am  
ignorant). For one thing, there is no such thing. Every user has  
their own quirks and preferences. For another thing, I did tech  
support for "normal" desktop users for pretty much my entire time at  
Ohio State, and I, to this day, provide tech support for family (the  
curse of the family geek). I was not suggesting that "oh, openoffice  
is fine for everyone, if they can't use it, they should get out of my  
open source". I was saying that we should be able to educate them,  
maybe show them that openoffice can do everything that most people  
want MS Office for, and, 99% of the time, in pretty much the same  
way. And, if not, or if they just don't like it, then something like  
crossover office is fine. I'm not an open source zealot. In fact, I  
have more computers running proprietary operating systems than I do  
running open source operating systems. Additionally, commercial  
software is NOT designed by "normal" users. It is designed by HCI  
professionals (at least, the UI is). Everything else (ie, the backend  
stuff) is designed by techies, just like me.

> That's fine that you could, you were more able to handle the  
> documentation, and more patient to deal with it. Most users aren't.  
> I could rarely find the documentation, and I found I spend more  
> time trying to find a fix than it would take to reinstall in Linux.  
> In BSD I found that finding a fix and enacting it took less time  
> than a reinstall. Everyone has their own experiences, but remember  
> - you are not a standard user, you are a tech savant, a standard  
> user won't wan to deal with that stuff. I'm fortunatel, as I am  
> inbetween a standard user and a tech savant, so I can better see  
> both sides of the picture here. I've worked with both on a regular  
> basis, and I know I'm probably not going to accomplish anything by  
> defending my position here, and explaining my logic, but I have to  
> try now holding out some hope. Also even if I do not convince you,  
> others read this, and some of them who were on the edge, might see  
> my point from this.

The vast majority of us spend our time somewhere in between techie  
and "normal" user. At work, I am a techie. I have to be. That's what  
they pay me for. But even still, I want my development workstation to  
just work. I don't want to have to spend my precious coding time  
mucking about trying to get things working the way they should (from  
my point of view). The same goes for at home, I want things to Just  

Anyone who has the time (and inclination) to tweak their computer  
every day of the week is either (1) in college, or (2) wasting their  
time (in my opinion).

    How many boards would the Mongols hoard if the Mongol hordes got  
                   -- Calvin

More information about the Opensource mailing list