Installing a compiler by default

Stephan Hermann sh at
Fri Jun 9 21:54:32 BST 2006

On Friday 09 June 2006 15:26, Peter Garrett wrote:
> On Fri, 09 Jun 2006 14:40:00 +0200
> Jan Claeys <lists at> wrote:
> > Op vr, 09-06-2006 te 04:01 -0700, schreef Micah J. Cowan:
> > > At least, I've yet to
> > > encounter a user who actually found a way to worsen their
> > > situation because a compiler happened to be handy for them.
> >
> > Oh, it's easy: they compile newer versions of kernels, drivers &
> > applications and then wonder why everything breaks when they do a
> > dist-upgrade...
> Uh-huh.
> We learn by making mistakes.
> Is Ubuntu in the business of protecting the "silly lusers" from
> themselves? Note that I am one of the Great Unwashed who learnt by
> making mistakes...
> Can we please stop treating users as if they were idiots, and stop
> protecting them from making mistakes?

The way of "not protecting the user" we see every day in our Mailbox.
The reason why there is spam, is that people are listening to warnings 
about not to open unknown and unverified email attachments. But they 
do, and we got a lot of spam. 

Protection against harmful things is a must in our actual IT 
environment, because nobody is careful, not even poweruser and cracks.
If your company is installing a firewall solution, with packetfilter, 
spamfilters, virusfilters and and and, then it's most of the time, to 
not protect the company, but to protect the user on the internal office 
network to spread viruses from home, or trojans or worms downloaded 
from the internet.

And actually, those users were most of the time no idiots neither 
stupids, they are just users who want to use the system and are 
sometimes curious about "WTF is this in my mailbox?!".

So saving them from harm is IMHO a needed action.

> I think I shall begin my TeleTubbiesUbuntu theme and background, to
> suit the philosophy espoused by those who would like to protect users
> from the Great Secrets and Alchemy of the Mysterious Ubuntu.
> Good grief.
> it's a compiler. Not a bomb.

Well, I remember the time, when we didn't have the "official" 
ubuntu-backports, but when we had the unofficial ubuntu-backports.

John Dong knows (hi jdong, how's life?), that many of the motu and core 
devs were against those archives, because at least one time there was a 
transition from mozilla-firefox to firefox, and he wanted to do the 
user a favour and compiled firefox from breezy for hoary and screwed up 
many many systems, preventing them from dist-upgrading to breezy.

It was just a package, right? Just a little piece of software, important 
yes, but just a package.

So, what happened?

Every user, or bleeding-edge action power ricer user, who was using this 
package, came to us, on irc, on forums, on mailinglists, and they were 
complaining that the upgrade wasn't working.
We told them already, many of times, to not use those repositories, but 
they didn't want to listen.

The ammount of support work increased dramatically, and after this time, 
some of us were "fighting" against these repositories.
Many users were listening and were understanding our "rants", but a few 
didn't listen anyways.

And I change your statement "It's a compiler, not a bomb" into "It was 
just a mozilla-firefox package, not a bomb", and afterall it was a bomb 
for the supporter community.

So, the work of the community supporter will increase, when we would 
give the easy opportunity to screw the users system, because users are 
interested and curious to play around with their OS, and that is good. 
But to prevent the user and the support community from doing/having more 
work then they already have, it's better when the users who want a 
compiler, for whatever reason, can install it by themself.

It's not telling the world: Users are idiots, but to give the people the 
opportunity to do something, which they normally don't need, with open 
eyes and with the thought, that they're at sometime on their own.

You can take XGL right now in dapper as example of screwing up systems, 
too. It was just a bad idea to include it in universe. We should have 
put it into edgy somehow, but too late. 


St. Hermann
SysAdmin and Linux specialist
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