Re: Emacs - was Re: Mail/news software
On Thu, 04 May 2000, Brian May wrote:
> For me, the problem with Windows is you have to think when thinking
> should not be required. Take for instance, autoexec.bat.
> I know a Windows computer, that whenever it starts, it flashes up
> with the message "Bad command or filename" for a few seconds until
> it goes away. However, it doesn't give the important information:
> what command cannot be found? what line is it on?
> So, instead of going directly to the bad line (like you would for any
> Unix based interpreter), you have to do a lot of fiddling just to find
> out which line is bad.
The problem is that win9x doesn't have the old ms-dos help.com (they probably
thought that it would be too low-level for the real win user). You would have
found all the answers there.
In the "Bad command or filename" case you have to do
command /y /c autoexec.bat
which will step you through the batch file.
> I have had similar problems for "out of environment space" errors (I
> never remember or can find how to change it, although it seems to be
> fixed now) and programs that automatically add lines like: PATH
> %PATH;c:\newprogram which fails when %PATH% contains a directory with
> spaces (trial and error suggests that correct quoting helps).
The environment size can be specified using the "shell=" command and the "/e:"
switch in config.sys. In mine looks like this:
SHELL=C:\COMMAND.COM /E:1024 /P
for a 1k environment size (the default is 256 bytes).
> Perhaps Windows 2000 won't require autoexec.bat, I will believe it
> when I see it. However, I encounter similar problems throughout
> Windows (especially device drivers).
That's because they are dos drivers, and for microsoft dos is dead (judging
from the lack of documentation and support).
> So, the way I see it, with Windows you always need to be thinking
> "There is a bug in this program. It won't say why it is crashing. What
> is the best work around?".
> With Unix, you get more descriptive feedback of what the program is
> doing (eg look at the output of dpkg), and I have never had problems
> with a device driver suddenly going broken, requiring a complete
> re-installation of the OS. You don't have to try and second guess what
> the computer might be trying to do.
Oh yes, I agree that that one of the greatest problems of windows is that it
tries to do everything in the background, hidden from the user, you can't see
what's going on, and if there is a problem you can't solve it because you don't
know what's happened.
But all this has a very good reason. The windows philosophy is: "Don't think,
we will do everything for you, you will be able to use your computer without
knowing anything about it". That's because windows is targeted to the
don't-know-much-about-computers users (and this is a very large community),
and wants to give them a power-user feeling. That's why the only
problem-solving method on windows is "reinstall everything". Any other method
would require the user to think. (I don't say these users are stupid, they
just don't know much about computers).