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Re: dselect complaints

>>>>> "William" == "William S Gribble" <grib@cs.utexas.edu> writes:

    William> Ian Jackson wrote:
    >> I'm not interested in hearing any more complaints or even extensive
    >> suggestions for improvement, unless the person complaining is
    >> volunteering to do the work on a new interface.

    William> If you don't want feedback about the tools, might I suggest that you
    William> give up their maintenance to someone who does?  Dselect as it exists
    William> is nothing more or less than a working prototype of the tool it needs
    William> to be.  

    William> Dselect has come a very long way since the days of the perl dpkg, and
    William> the work you have done on it is valuable and admirable.  However, your
    William> statement suggests that you regard dselect as being a finished product
    William> which needs only some debugging.  I don't agree.

    William> I realize that it is too late for a rewrite of dselect before the
    William> release of 1.1.  However, let's just get it out in the open: as it
    William> stands, dselect is a liability with respect to general acceptance of
    William> debian.  It is a nightmare to use, has an interface that only its
    William> programmer could love, and gives the appearance that at every moment
    William> you use it your entire system is in jeopardy.  The subtext in Bruce's
    William> recent public announcement about the relationship between Debian and
    William> the FSF was that Debian is comparable to or better than Caldera/Red
    William> Hat.  New users are going to look at dselect and immediately decide
    William> that Bruce must be smoking crack.


I think that Ian has done a excellent job with dselect. 

IMHO The real important feature of Debian is the packaging of
individual components and the dselect tool for using them
effectively. dselect may be a little complicated at first for newbie
users but is still an order of magnitude simpler than getting them
just add packages by had and expect oTt get something that works. 

Unfortunately UNIX itself is complicated, if a newbie cannot master
dselect then they are unlikely to be able to get any benefit from
owning a UNIX system at all.

Personally I feel that dselect is basically in a good shape for the
1.1 release and is itself a significant plus point for Debian.

A new dselect2 might be worth doing but I suspect there are other
things that we could be more usefully doing to improve things for


Alvar Bray

Meiko Limited      Phone: +44 1454 855222   E-Mail: alvar@meiko.co.uk
650 Aztec West     Fax:   +44 1454 855223           alvar@netcity.co.uk
Bristol BS12 4SD                                    alvar@debian.org

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