Customization considerd harmefull

Tollef Fog Heen tfheen at
Thu Sep 1 05:11:38 CDT 2005

* Till Varoquaux 

(Cc-ed to sounder and followups there, please)


| Extreme customisation brings:
| _Lack of consistency. You have to tweak every single app to behave the way
| you want them to...

Having to tweak is not the same as being able to tweak.

| _Lack of adaptability to other computers. You become so used to your own way
| of using your computer that you can't use other computers (I'm using cua in
| emacs and hell, I can't even cut'n paste on other peoples's emacs)

To a certain degree, yes.  However, those who customise their
applications will probably know the original keybindings and be able
to use those, than those who don't.

| _Waist of time when reinstalling: It takes weeks to have everything back the
| way your used to.

I get my own setup of all my dotfiles with a single command, freshly
checked out from CVS (or svn or arch).

| _Unfriendliness for newbies: If every single computer under Linux they use
| behaves differently they're never going to get familliar with the
| interaction.

Consistent inital setup is something else than not being able to

| I believe sensible defaults should be thought to accomodate the wider range
| of users. Everyone from beginner to advanced hackers should be satisfied.
| The system also needs to be as consistent as possible so users devellop
| reflexes. As a last resort customisation should be easy. But I beleive that
| an in-your face pop-up at the start of the first session is very wrong.
| If you really want one it should more be like a tour of the system (if you
| want to do this the standard way to do it is this. If you're pissed by the
| way it is handled you can change it in that menu.).

Nobody is opposed to sane and sensible defaults.  However, taking away
customisation means some people won't be satistified.  An example is
mail setup; many people are very peculiar about how their mail is set
up (and so am I):  I have an inbox per month, and I have outboxes per
month as well as a lot of other folders per month.  Most applications
doesn't know how to accomodate that: they have a concept of an IMAP
inbox which is a static string, and likewise for the outbox.  This
fits most people, but not me.  I also need to be able to record macros
(of some kind) to script commonly done actions.

Tollef Fog Heen                                                        ,''`.
UNIX is user friendly, it's just picky about who its friends are      : :' :
                                                                      `. `' 

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