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Re: standard text browser necessary ?

On Thu, 29 Jan 2004, Mathieu Roy wrote:
> Dominique Devriese <dominique.devriese@student.kuleuven.ac.be> said:
> > Maybe the question should be asked whether there really should be *a*
> > text browser with standard priority.  Will most users need this ?  I
> > know a lot of debian desktop users who don't use it at all, and people
> > who want it, can still install it manually.
> IMO, Having or not having a default text browser should not depends
> whether many or few users will, in the end, really use it. The point
> is about what someone in front of a standard debian installation
> should be expecting. 
> Also, assuming that it is always possible to install a missing package
> is not necessarily a good thing. Think about the following case:
>    - you have in front of you one server, with debian a no X server
>    installed
>    - you have no debian cd, but you have internet access, behind a
>    firewall
>    - the firewall prevents you to access parts of the net, including
>    usual debian apt-get repository - you need to find a workaround on
>    the web
>    - if there is no text web browser at all, what will you use? Will
>    you code perl web browser? Will you find your way with wget?
> In this case, you have no browser and no way to install one
> easily. Annoying. You may think this example is a bit extreme, but I'm
> sure we can find more realistic cases (apt-get installation broken, 
> debian mirror + main ftp offline...).

Another example:
You're supposed to install a server in a remote place.  A cow-orker who 
was expected to fetch you a set of Woody CDs, as expected, failed to do 
so.  The only thing you got is some non-Debian bootable CD which tries to 
use fbdev and/or X (as the two only available options), and none of these 
things even sync on that monitor.  Let's suppose that you managed to 
finally get a working console.
How are you going to find and fetch deboostrap then?  telnet 80?  

Been there earlier this week.

It may be argued that this case is a bit extreme as well.  What about 
this: your X server dies due to some mishap (disk damaged? New unsupported 
hardware? You meddling with the config files?).  How are you supposed to 
google your way to the information you need to bring it back.
_This_ is a really common case.
> It does not cost much to have a text browser installed (especially
> since you talk about people that got an X server installed with a
> desktop environment) while it can be really helpful in some desperate
> case. For that, I think that any good OS should provide a text
> browser, even if it is largely unused.

So... if that's a desktop environment, what is the expected disk size?  
Do they still manufacture disks smaller than 40/80GB?   Sparing a megabyte 
for a text browser that can possibly save your bacon won't take any 
noticeable disk space -- compare that to the 5% you lose to ancient 
features of mkfs, or to 1e38 megabytes taken by KDE/Gnome.

On the other hand, it's the headless servers which tend to be low on the 
disk space -- and they're the boxes which need text browsers.


/-----------------------\ Shh, be vewy, vewy quiet,
| kilobyte@mimuw.edu.pl | I'm hunting wuntime ewwows!
Segmentation fault (core dumped)

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