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Re: DogCows or Polymorphism in the Hurd

From: Bas Wijnen
Subject: Re: DogCows or Polymorphism in the Hurd
Date: Wed, 8 Feb 2006 13:28:13 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.11

On Tue, Feb 07, 2006 at 04:43:23AM -0500, Jonathan S. Shapiro wrote:
> On Tue, 2006-02-07 at 10:24 +0100, Bas Wijnen wrote:
> > I would consider a setting "open under name 's/(.*)\.tar\.gz/\1/'" in some
> > config file of the graphical shell. 
> Oh wonderful. 15 billion more things that won't get tested and make
> customer support absolutely impossible because the support agent cannot
> figure out what the hell the application is doing.

Are we talking about the same thing here?  There should be a very clear error
message (file already exists seems reasonable) if the name on which you want
to bind a facet is already taken.  There should be an even clearer error
(invalid value [click here to restore default]) if you try to put nonsense in
the setting.  If customer support can't understand those error messages, then
you may want to hire someone else for that job.

> When did we abandon the design principle that a system should be usable
> by mere mortals? Are we trying to have impact on the world, or are we
> merely engaged in a grand act of intellectual masturbation?

This idea is exactly meant to be usable by mortals, without making the system
useless for wizards.  _I_ want to be able to specify where to link the facet.
Mortals want it to work, and they very much don't want to specify this thing
of which they don't understand what it means anyway.  The proposal allows both
at once: it can be specified, and it has a sane default which mortals
shouldn't touch.

> I'm not really reacting to Bas here at all. He just happened to give the
> nth example of this architectural elitism sickness and I finally could
> not leave it alone anymore.

We may differ in opinions here.  I think we should do our best to make the
system usable for mortals and wizards simultaneously, but if that isn't
possible, make it usable for wizards and tell mortals that it's not (easily)
possible.  You seem to think that if it isn't possible, then we have to accept
an unusable system for wizards.

Note that I think that so far it seems very well possible to make the system
usable by users and wizards simultaneously.


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