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Re: Usability: Technical details in package descriptions?

On Thu, 21 Jul 2005 12:33:32 -0300, Ben Armstrong <synrg@sanctuary.nslug.ns.ca> said: 

>> 2.  Programs written in obscure languages may prove unmaintainable
>>     if
>> the original developer disappears.  Besides threatening
>> obsolescence, this can be a security issue.

> You've furnished a reason *not* to put the language in the
> description (if I wrote a package in an "obscure" language and took
> your point to heart, I'd not want to advertise the fact).  Besides,
> what is obscure?  Ruby?  Ocaml?  Snobol?  Fortran?  Scheme?  How is
> a user to assess whether these are up-and-coming languages, less
> popular but still well supported, or completely obsolete?  I doubt
> if most users know the difference.

   BZZZT. The idea is not to con the user into using the package willy
   nilly, the idea is to provide him enough information to make an
   informed choice.

        If providing you with information about the implementation
 language causes you to change your decision, then delibrately
 withholding that information is akin to fraud and underhanded dealing
 we should steer clear off.

> Now we're *really* getting touchy-feely.  I think we're losing sight
> of the goal: the user, reading the description, should get a sense
> of what the package does, whether it is likely to meet their needs,
> and whether it offers distinct advantages over any of the
> alternatives.  While I can appreciate that some small minority of
> users out their are aware of the "mindset", "aesthetic" and
> "development culture" of an implementation language, and therefore
> have some mild bias towards packages implemented in it, it certainly
> isn't a primary indicator of whether the package is suitable for a
> particular use or not.

        I also select a program based on languages I know; since it
 makes it more likely that I can tweak the program rto my needs, or
 help with stalled development. Given a choice, I would invest in the
 learning curve of programs I can help modify, develop, and contribute

        Since I find the information useful, I am not going to pretend
 my suers are idiots who couldn't possibly make use of such
 iformation, because, you see, I am so special, and only I can use the
 information, not the oh so dumb users.

        So, I am going to continue to provide information in the
 descriptions of my packages that I would find useful, in the hopes
 that it is useful to the users of my packages as well.

Encyclopedia for sale by father.  Son knows everything.
Manoj Srivastava   <srivasta@debian.org>  <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
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