Arjan Geven arjangeven at gmail.com
Tue Jul 26 14:53:27 UTC 2005

On 7/26/05, Jason Voegele <jason at jvoegele.com> wrote:
> On Sat, July 23, 2005 1:55 pm, Chanchao said:
> > Rant follows:
> >
> > Linux programmers seem to delight using these comment-characters (#) to
> > 'disable' certain commands, so they become like examples. It even
> > enriched the English language with the verbs 'to uncomment' and 'to
> > comment out'.
> >
> > Very often when configuring stuff in Linux, it involves opening a config
> > file that already includes loads of settings, but some, most, or all of
> > them have been 'commented out' using #-characters.  You can then select
> > the settings you need by removing the # character using a text editor.
> >
> > All of this is the result of lazyness on the part of the developer(s)
> > who didn't bother to program a basic screen or wizard to configure
> > things. Furthermore, they even convinced themselves that config files
> > are a Good Thing!   As yet, they haven't convince me though.
> It has nothing to do with laziness and everything to do with separation of
> concerns.  A properly designed program has no idea whether its
> configuration file was hand written with vi or generated by some fancy GUI
> "wizard", it just knows that it needs a configuration file with a certain
> format.  So, given that a config file is necessary, one way to modify a
> program's configuration is to hand edit the config file with an editor.
> Another way might be a GUI program provided by a distribution or desktop
> environment.


> But by no means should hdparm be providing its own GUI wizard.  Indeed,
> hdparm is also used in a server environment where a graphical environment
> might not even be installed.

Eh?  I agree with you that it's good to separate concerns, and that
calling programmers lazy is really not fair, but here, I disagree. A
GUI wizard is perhaps not needed in server environments, but that
doesn't mean that it shouldn't be provided at all. There are also many
users who DO have a graphical environment, and a GUI just allows for
much faster and easier changing your configuration without the
necessity to read the man pages, the web documentation and mailing
lists. A good program is intuitive, and does not require its users to
climb a learning cliff. Which is something a lot of people in the
Linux world still have to learn I guess.

I'm not saying that VI-editing should NOT be possible, but that there
is more than one route to Rome. And it doesn't have to be just the
unpaved one. Why not give the user access to the highway, too? :-)

Arjan .

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