Re: Apt repository interoperability
On 26/04/08 19:27, Herman Robak wrote:
> If the distro simply makes it too hard to do <stuff>, since <stuff> is
> deemed to risky for naive users, funky workarounds will pop up, especially
> in communities like Ubuntu's.
> I think that this indicates that neither the user interface nor the
> community do quite enough to explain and aid best practices in a way
> that empowers, enlightens and satisfies new users.
> There is a technical problem behind this: The best practices are quite
> hard to wrap a Windows-user's mind around. If user education fails, it
> may be time to adjust the curriculum
I suspect that this debate may well travel down a well trodden path if
we're not careful. I mean to say, that the world we are creating is
becoming more and more simplified to the point where the simplification
is harming actual evolution.
Perhaps I'm not clear in my meaning, so I'll try to say it in another
way. If we continue to simplify Linux in an attempt to assist the user
who has a misguided understanding of "how it works", we run the risk of
reaching a point where Linux becomes an environment that is so simple
that it achieves nothing for everyone.
While I understand that end-users who come from a world where the
"Windows view" dominates experience a distro as "too hard" with "too
many obstacles", a growing population is beginning to realise that
installing every single application available and upgrading stuff for
upgrade-sake is a path to oblivion.
I personally think - as an engineer - that if we continue to "help" a
Windows user amplify their unsustainable world view - the one where it's
fine to just click "Ok", we loose the single biggest evolutionary gain
that Linux represents.
While I feel the pain of a new user who updated their sources.list and
added repositories from all over the globe, I am unable to support them.
Instead I take the opportunity to give that single user some education -
which is often a bitter pill - but the user benefits in the longer term.
It is an identical situation to a grad-student arriving at your
help-desk counter with a corrupted floppy disk that contains their
thesis. You attempt to help, but ultimately they learn to make better
This might all sound like I'm advocating to abandon all users who
innocently or otherwise break their own system. That is not the case.
I think that it is not helpful to hide some complexities in life. I
think that the way that Windows did that might have felt simple and
easy, but I see my clients every day spend hours and hours of wasted
time on fixing things that should never have been possible in the first
Making apt repositories interoperable may well be a good thing, but I've
yet to see an argument to convince me of that.
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