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Re: SEUL: Is it too soon for me to comment?

On Wed, 7 Jan 1998, Erik Walthinsen wrote:

> > I downloaded TkInfo, and it works a lot better...  It defies imagination
> > how someone could concoct such a cryptic interface...
> Quite.  I've been in info twice, and barely escaped alive each time.  Why 
> they abandoned man pages in favor of info I will never understand. 
I think last time I was in info I had to use CTRL-C to get out:)  I've
been told it was based on an emacs-ish interface, kinda weird considering
emacs actually lets you use ARROW KEYS.  Emacs is a cool text editor, but
come on, NO text editor should spew Zippy the Pinhead quotes, translate
english to portugese, and give you psychological advice.  I BLAME IT ALL

> If 
> there's one thing to keep above all others in a stock Unix system (given that 
> people read docs from the shell, not the case in SEUL), it's the man pages.  
> I can't imagine why they thought people would go for info when man is so 
> simple. 
Precisely!  And it's one of the cases which proves that often simplicity
can inherently impart user-friendlyness to a program.  How more intuitive
can you get than man?  I mean, type man command, scroll through it, hit q
and you're done!

> Ah well, the minds of the FSF apparently know better than I, so I 
> leave them to their info.  All I'll say is that it'll be viewed in TkInfo or 
> equiv, if every, by SEUL users.
I think they wanted more stuff in it.  I don't see why manpages and info
can't coexist - manpages are more of the 'cheetsheet' deal, whereas info
is the full-blown manual.  When I want to know the basic command-line
switches for autoconf, it's a pain to wade through the whole manual, but
the manpage gives a brief runthrough of the args.  AAMOF, I spent six
months without using diff(and without making patches) because the only
docs available where in info!  I finally learned how to use it from an
article in LJ.

> Actually, the above is shell.  In perl it'd be:
> $uname=`uname -a`
Quite right you are.. 

> It's simple enough (well, kinda) to get someone going in X, in VGA at the 
> *very* least, that doing otherwise would be suicide.
Consider the person wants to add or remove a package needed to use X, and
X is hosed?  We should have at least text-based BACKUPS for the admin
tools we write.

Which brings me to a suggestion I'd like to make...  Write the admin tools
in Tcl/Tk.  It has a regular interface, which is really spiffy, it's
versatile, can be used with a number of languages, well supported, etc.

> > Which is something it could use.  Spam and crossposting morons has made it
> > useless for anything serious.
> Yup.  But here's where we can help, somewhat.  It's trivial to add code to a 
> newsreader to refuse to send a message if it's cross-posted to more than N 
> groups.  If the person really wants to send it, they can look through the 
> docs (don't volunteer the workaround, obviously), and find that they simply 
> have to send to a few at a time.
If you ever dig around the nic.ddn.mil FTP site, some of the FYI's are
really good docs on netiquette for newbies - I recommend we include
coppies of these FYIs, and encourage the user to read them.  It's amazing
how few people hang around on newsgroups awhile before posting...  Just
today, a fellow posted a message to(among
others)alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt and comp.virus.sources saying to the
effect that he squirted CD cleaning solution into his CD-ROM drive and he
couldn't for the live of him discern why it wouldn't work anymore.

> > If you TELL him to make it more user friendly, he probably wouldn't just
> > because you wheren't willing to help.  I know I wouldn't.
> That's why we have to work closely with all the projects we incorporate into 
> SEUL. 
For instance, if you sent me a patch to some software I wrote, which had
improvements in the interface I would probably accept it gladly.  That's
what we should do.  Linux is a very 'carry your own weight' sort of

> As I mentioned in a separate e-mail destined towards seul-dev-distrib 
> (still to seul-project, but...), if we can make changes, either ourselves or 
> in partnership with the original authors, we may be able to get those changes 
> incorporated back into the main code base.  A large user base wouldn't hurt 
> either... ;-)
Yes, and then THEY continue to maintain the code and quite often we'll be
able to duck off without having to do any more work on it.
> Hopefully the upcoming re-announce will help matters significantly. 
You'll get an influx of ENTHUSIASTIC people.  Key here is enthusiasm.
When they subscribe to this list, they're going to want to contribute.
And we have to be careful to not lose that enthusiasm, or they'll take
off.  TTYL!

                        Paul Anderson
		   paul @ geeky1.ebtech.net
    Author of Star Spek(a tongue in cheek pun on Star trek)
e-mail: starspek-request@lowdown.com with subscribe as the subject
I hear it's hilarious.               Maintainer of the Tips-HOWTO.
		 On a clear disk you can seek forever.