Gentoo Archives: gentoo-dev

From: Troels Vognsen <troels@×××××××××.dk>
To: gentoo-dev@l.g.o
Subject: Re: [gentoo-dev] Re: [gentoo-web-user] Hardened PHP now in Gentoo
Date: Wed, 19 May 2004 17:12:03
1 >On Wed, May 19, 2004 at 01:30:00PM +0200, foser wrote:
2 >> On Tue, 2004-05-18 at 21:08 +0100, Stuart Herbert wrote:
3 >>
4 >> > I'm pro-choice, and do not agree with the idea of aggregating USE flags just
5 >> > because they sound similar.
6 >>
7 >> The second time you mention choice. I guess we know what Gentoo is about
8 >> by now, the 'choice' argument is too often used just to end criticism.
9 >>
10 >> Choice is an illusion, if you there's too much choice it is no use to
11 >> anyone anymore, because nobody really knows what it is all about. This
12 >> is already the case with the loads of USE flags/portage options/etc. we
13 >> have. Gentoo shouldn't be about choice for the sake of it, it should be
14 >> about simplicity/managability : stuff that works. It's a trade-off.
15 >>
16 >> I wasn't too happy with the introducation of local USE flags for just
17 >> the reasons that are becoming a problem now. Too much flags, everybody
18 >> adds them at will without good reasons. We used to just say to people
19 >> who wanted a specific (rare) set-up that they could easily edit the
20 >> ebuild themselves to their need, but nowadays it seems we have to hold
21 >> hands all the time and add complexity for nothing. That's good for
22 >> nobody really. The installation manual used to be like 5 pages, by now
23 >> it's a book of it's own per arch. I don't think that's a good thing and
24 >> we should be really, really careful about what we can do to stop this
25 >> movement.
26 >>
27 >> - foser
28 >
29 >The users seem to be perfectly happy with having a maximum of choice via
30 >local USE flags. Most people are also okay with the handbook. So what's
31 >the problem, exactly? Should we force everyone to do what _you_ want
32 >rather than what _they_ want?
33 >
34 >--
35 >Jon Portnoy
36 >
37 Well, I believe that there's nothing wrong with *providing* choice - it will only ruin useability when you *require* it. Good default values will ensure that the average user ain't forced to make decisions right away.
38 But ofcourse choices must be sanely organised. Finding and changing options should be intuitive.
39 For instance I use ufed to change my use flags. That's fairly intuitive, but due to the amount of local flags it can be slightly confusing. That could however be fixed by hiding the local flags by default, and provide the choice of including them (by means of a command line option or so).
40 In this case choice aids both simplicity and useability. As another example think of ls. It has well over 30 options. But that doesn't ruin useability, because it by default behaves as I would expect it to do, without having read the entire man page. Likewise use flags won't ruin gentoo's useability as long as they are sanely organised.
41 Simplifying my own statement, I think useability is genrally inverse-proportional to the amount of choices the user is forced to make, to archive a given task.
43 Just my 2 cents,
44 - Troels Vognsen
47 --
48 gentoo-dev@g.o mailing list