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Re: MSDOS name conversion

>> Yes, it would... slightly.  The question is whether you want to make
>> the distribution slightly more confusing to the general everyday
>I really don't understand what makes installation more confusing,
>especially for the majority of users who will get Debian from CDROM
>and use dpkg/dselect.

Not the installation, but the distribution.  If somebody goes looking
through the directories and finds all these files with part numbers,
it is just that much more information to wade through.

>> user in order to make installation slightly easier for the
>> first-time installer, _once_.
>Have you ever had to maintain a system using floppies?  I used to.  I
>brought a box of disks with me to work every day to bring home the
>latest and greatest.

No, I haven't.  If it is intended to maintain with floppies, there there
should _definitely_ be an optimal way to split packages across multiple
disks.  However, splitting these at the 1.4MB boundary in the distribution
is not the best way.  Also, a 1.4MB boundary is not best for people with
1.2MB drives.

>> By "Debian", I mean the distribution in any form.  Not splitting the
>> files "doesn't affect the users' machines except at installation
>> time".  If a user is going to go through the trouble to copy all
>> those packages to floppy, then they can go through the trouble to
>> split them first.
>Why?  You don't intend to "punish" them, do you.  :-)

<grin>  I don't want to punish anyone, but I'd prefer to punish the minority
instead of the majority.

>> Having additional files will not make it clearer.  Having additional
>> files will not keep things the same.  Therefore, having additional
>> files _must_ be more confusing.  No matter how well you name the
>> files, it _will_ be less intuitive to some degree.
>"Not the same" == "more confusing" ???  Hmm...  there are some logic
>problems here.

I don't think so.  If not less-than and not equal-to, then greater-than.

>(NB: DOS has fewer files than Linux.  :-)

I don't understand.

>I admit that splitting files adds *complexity* but the complexity
>could be hidden through the use of well-designed tools.  That's all
>I'm trying to say.  You seem to be extremely concerned over what is
>IMO (with the proper tools) a negligible increase in "confusion" for
>the user who doesn't use dselect (or whatever replaces it).

Yes, it can be "hidden through the use of well-designed tools" so why
make it _obvious_ by splitting files in the distribution?  Let the
well-designed tool split it at the user's end.

As for being extremely concerned, I know I'm arguing this more than
is strictly called for.  I've been a hacker for over 12 years and I
know the differences between a hack and doing things properly.  Debian
has so many things "done properly" that adding this "hack" of splitting
files within the distribution bothers me.

>> Done properly, it would actually make things easier for the user.
>> Split files are just that many more files the user has to copy to
>This is not true.  The user copies the same number of files onto
>floppies whether or not the are split on the ftp site.

Why can't "split" write them to the floppy as it splits them, or even
as they are transferred over the network?

>> floppy.  In fact, if the user is to use as few disks as possible, it
>> will be a real pain to match the pieces in the best way possible.
>> A good "split" program could scan the directory to find all .deb
>> files and split them optimally across disks to fully fill each one.
>The knapsack problem is difficult to solve.  I'm not convinced that we
>need to solve it in this case.  I think what Ian was suggesting is a
>reasonably good suboptimal solution.  In fact, if we redefine the
>cost function to include the delay-in-getting-our-diplomas or
>loss-of-productivity-in-our-real-jobs ...   :-))  ...never mind.

Solving the knapsack problem is extremely easy if you can vary the size
of the pieces you are trying to fit!

for each package {
	repeat {
		write package to file on floppy until floppy is full
		close file
		prompt for new disk if package not completely written
	} until (package done)

>> (This is almost as bad as "vi" versus "emacs"!  <laugh>)
>At least we aren't being mean about it.  :-)  Oh well, this discussion
>has been fun but I cannot afford to put any more time into it.  You
>may have the last word(s).  :-)

<chuckle> I was just thinking the same thing before reading that!  It
seems I'm just clarifying my position instead of making new points.  If
I need to be more clear on anything, I'll try to improve it, but other
than that I don't think I have anything more to add.  It's now in the
hands of our Maker!  <grin>

                                 ( bcwhite@bnr.ca )

    In theory, theory and practice are the same.  In practice, they're not.

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