The creeping religion of click on this

George Farris farrisg at
Wed May 6 17:57:55 UTC 2009

On Wed, 2009-05-06 at 12:42 -0500, Patrick Goetz wrote:
> After an ongoing now 2-week long discussion with Canonical support 
> regarding some strange behavior involving the use of the proprietary 
> Broadcom STA driver documented here:
> it occurred to me that I have no idea what is actually going on when I 
> click on various menu options and GUI applets enabling this or turning 
> off that.  This makes it nearly impossible to debug problems like the 
> one described above.
> Although such system administration applets are obviously needed to make 
> the system usable by ordinary users, it seems clear that by providing 
> only such an interface, Canonical is effectively taking experienced 
> users/administrators like myself out of the debugging loop by creating a 
> huge hurdle between the administrator and the actual kernel 
> modules/configuration files/etc. that are being 
> loaded/manipulated/changed; i.e. I don't have time to forensically 
> determine what is actually going on when I click on those buttons.
> Perl/Python/shell scripts are self-documenting; GUI applets are not.
> Solution:  Provide a text-based narrative documenting each systems' 
> administration applet which describes exactly what is being done and in 
> what order when the applet is used.  I claim that the very requirement 
> for such a narrative will vastly improve the functionality of SA 
> applets, since it will require developers to "think through" the task 
> being addressed.  The upfront cost of adding such a feature will be tiny 
> compared to the time saved in debugging/maintaining/upgrading it 
> subsequently, if only because more people will know what is going on and 
> can contribute to improving/fixing it.  In the particular example 
> described above, if there were a file(s) which explained what is 
> happening when proprietary drivers are enabled/disabled some user who 
> can't stand this kind of entropy would have tracked down this bug a long 
> time ago and a fix would already be scheduled rather than having it 
> languishing around forever as an annoyance to the experienced and a deal 
> killer for those who are trying Ubuntu for the first time.

I must say I concur.  It would be great to have this info.  It can be
fairly short and simple, just a paragraph or two but would be a great


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