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Re: Is Emacs on Aqua crippleware or is it just broken?

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: Is Emacs on Aqua crippleware or is it just broken?
Date: Wed, 7 May 2003 13:41:11 +0000
User-agent: tin/1.4.5-20010409 ("One More Nightmare") (UNIX) (Linux/2.0.35 (i686))

BK <address@hidden> wrote on 7 May 2003 04:35:12 -0700:
> Ajanta <address@hidden> wrote in message
> news:<address@hidden>...

> I had already explained my definition of crippleware and you will find
> that it is in no way offending. Apart from the need to get attention
> there is also the need to make the subject line short.

> So instead of

> "Emacs: Does the Aqua port have the following features left out
> because the developer didn't have time to do it yet or are there any
> fixes for the problems I have experienced?"

> (I have done this sort of thing in an earlier life and almost never
> got any replies to it)

> one writes

> "Is Emacs on Aqua crippleware or is it just broken?"

> This fulfills both requirements, getting attention and being short.

Er, BK, it may well do this, but it fails a third critical requirement,
that of politeness.  The terms "crippleware" and "broken" both have
well-defined meanings in hacker circles, and they are derogatory.  As
somebody who's actively writing documentation, you knew this.  Surely,
you *must* have known this.

Now, such a subject line coming from a frustrated newbie who's
practically tearing his hair out, I think is understandable and
forgiveable (though not everybody on this group would agree with me
here).  Coming from an experienced insider is something different.

There seems a strong possibility that you were posting deliberately to
annoy people.  But let me give you the benefit of the doubt and assume
you offended people accidentally.

Look up the definitions of "crippleware" and "broken" in the jargon file
[anybody got a URL for it?] (or the printed version, "The New Hacker's
Dictionary" by Eric Raymond), then look at your subject line again, and
understand where the offence came from.

Then consider how you could have posted less offensively.  For example,
the subject line something like "Questions on Emacs key bindings on the
Aqua version" would have been entirely inoffensive.

> Anybody who reads the actual post can see that there is no flaming no
> bashing, but a description of problems along with a question whether
> or not the problem described is intentional ("feature") or broken
> ("bug").

Well, it seemed to me to be somewhat arrogant, laying down the rules of
how the program ought to work.  But that's just my take.

> This is important to know because if it is intentional then it would
> be a complete waste of time trying to find a fix.

And I perceive this latest paragraph to be a continuation of the
arrogance.  It sounds to me very like you are presuming to judge whether
the implementor of the software is ignorant or stupid.

> There is far too many posts on usenet where somebody reports a
> problem, is told that the software in question hasn't implemented such
> a feature, at least not yet, and then it goes on and on and on mocking
> about it. If it's not there then it's not there and consequently there
> is then no point trying to get "the bug fixed".

Now, here you have failed to take into account the possibility that you
had misunderstood the issues, and that there simply is no bug, therefore
nothing to fix.

> I am sorry if anyone who has been working on any of the various Emacs
> Mac ports feels offended by my pragmatism. I certainly didn't mean to
> cause offense.

Now, although this looks like an apology, it isn't really an apology at
all.  What it says, in effect, is "sorry you're all so stupid to be
offended by my perfectly OK post".  I would respectfully suggest you
rephrase it somewhat as follows:  "I am sorry I offended people by my
rather forthright post.  I certainly didn't mean to cause offence".

> If someone tells me: "Quitting is not yet implemented, for now you have
> to use force quit or kill -9", then I call that a feature, albeit an
> inconvenient feature, but you won't find me going on about it. I will
> accept that it's not there and that is it, I'll proceed to the next
> problem. Likewise, if you tell me "Weird, this should work, it works
> for me", then I call that a bug, which is a lot better than if it's a
> feature because many bugs have known fixes.  Again, you won't find me
> going on about it like "Look how bugridden this software is", no, all I
> want is to find out is how to fix the bug.

You might do well to consider that there might not have been a
bug/feature at all, and the problem was your own misunderstanding.

> In respect of the term "crippleware", again this is born out of
> pragmatism. You won't find me going on about it like "Look how
> crippled this software is", no, ....

Wrong.  That is precisely what you were going on about.

> .... it means there are missing features which are present in other
> versions of the same software. Very often this is done for marketing
> reasons "cheaper or freeware version is crippled - full version costs
> more".

This suggestion, made in the context of Emacs, is possibly more offensive
than anything else you've said up to now.  The entire GNU system was born
of idealism and is sustained by idealism largely as a reaction against
what you describe.  I suggest you start at <> and
learn what is really driving projects like Emacs.  And please don't tell
me you were really talking about commercial software here.

> However, it also applies to work in progress software if that work in
> progress is not explicitly denoted as "beta software", which is another
> way to describe missing features that haven't been included yet.
> However, if the developer doesn't call it "beta software" it would
> create more confusion then anything else if I was to call it
> "betaware", so I choose the alternative "crippleware".

Can you really be so naive as this?  You'd do better if you realised that
the software you're talking about is functional software of the highest
grade, not "beta software", not "crippleware", and that the people who've
implemented and maintained it are deserving of the highest respect.  If
there's something in Emacs you don't like, then change it to what you
want, if you're capable enough.

> rgds
> bk

Alan Mackenzie (Munich, Germany)
Email: address@hidden; to decode, wherever there is a repeated letter
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