Re: UNIX and ease of use
On Mon, Mar 02, 1998 at 08:01:17PM -0600, Rob Browning wrote:
> > 1. Make ppp easy to set up. From irc and newsgroup experience, this
> > is the biggest hurdle.
> Has anyone had experience with WvDial? If it works as advertised, can
> we set it up so that it's the default (there should be a query in
> pppconfig with it as the default option) for new users, and the system
> falls back to the current approach (chat) if WvDial fails in an
> attempt to connect.
I'm co-author of wvdial, and from the always-minor bug reports I'm
receiving, I suspect that it either works really well or so badly that
people don't even bother to send e-mail :) In my experience with other free
software projects, I suspect it's the former reason. Usually you will find
someone willing to complain to you about even the worst problems.
I really am honestly surprised at the level of wvdial bug reports, BTW. I
expected _way_ more trouble, at least at first, in this "fully automated
Incidentally, wvdial is carefully designed to be usable as a _library_ in
other programs. Last I heard, the KDE people were thinking of building
their 'kppp' program around wvdial's automatic modem detection. A truly
user-friendly PPP interface would have a nice graphical start/stop control
panel as well, like diald and Windows 95.
I'm available to answer any and all questions about WvDial. Note that it's
only lightly tested with the pppd 2.3.x pap-secrets at this point, but it
should hopefully work. I'd be delighted to hear about people's experiences.
> I'd add to this a more thorough handling of dynamic IP connections. I
> had to do a decent amount of work to get my system set up to do the
> right thing with respect to DNS, mail, etc., given that I normally
> have a dynamic IP on one of my systems, and most of the naive users
> *will* be dynamic IP.
Hear hear! This is sorely lacking and, unfortunately, difficult to fix.
Mail queues queue and connections time out, but my #1 worst complaint is the
long, boring DNS timeout period if I'm running named and not online. This
is compounded by Netscape's annoying propensity to freeze itself during name
And "talk" doesn't work worth doodle if you have a dynamic IP address.
(Disclaimer: I haven't tried this one in a LONG time!)
> > 3. Hammer on the installation disks, so they work *everywhere*. It's
> > really frustrating when someone is forced to go with another
> > distribution because our boot disks don't work.
> This is key, especially making sure that PCMCIA handling is better
> (i.e. not completely broken this time) but I think people are working
> on it.
I agree that this is very important, but it's also really hard to convince
people to test this. Installing Debian is time-consuming, and given its
self-updating features most people only want to do it once.
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