[OT] Debian mailinglists [was: RE: Debian or Ubuntu?]

Florian Diesch diesch at spamfence.net
Thu May 22 15:39:37 UTC 2008

Derek Broughton <news at pointerstop.ca> wrote:

> Mario Vukelic wrote:
>> On Tue, 2008-05-20 at 11:02 -0300, Derek Broughton wrote:
>> A real GUI 
>> tool that protects the naive user from stupidity is guaranteed to impede
>> the knowledgeable user by "knowing better".
> How so?  You keep making this statement, but since the config file has a
> fixed grammar, how is it possible for a knowledgeable user to "know
> better"?

Grammars can be quite complex. From my experience GUIs tend to either
support only a subset then or are difficult to use.

> Off the top of my head, configuration files consist of the following sorts
> of options:
> - multiple choice
> - integer 
> - text (sometimes with content rules)
> - if A then B

They often have some kind of a hierarchical structure where some
groups of options can be repeated in some places. Creating a clear GUI
that supports very deep hierarchies is difficult. Nost GUI designers
fail here.

Some config languages are turing-complete, sendmail and Emacs are well
known examples here. To have a GUI explore their full possibilities
needs a GUI for writing programs.

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