Coming from someone who was doing X programming quite a while ago (and who helped to build Netscape), jwz's rant is not to be taken lightly.

So I gave up on that, and tried to install gstreamer. Get this. Their proposed ``solution'' for distributing binaries on Red Hat systems? They point you at an RPM that installs apt, the Debian package system! Yeah, that's a good idea, I want to struggle with two competing packaging systems on my machine just to install a single app.


A common idiocy that all of these programs have in common is that, in addition to opening a window for the movie, and a window for the control panel, they also spray a constant spatter of curses crud on the terminal they were started from. I imagine at some point, there was some user who said, ``this program is pretty nice, but you know what it's missing? It's missing a lot of pointless chatter about what plugins and fonts have been loaded!''

He's not just ranting. He's dead on about some of the dumb things that Open Source "hackers" expect normal users to put up with. Maybe that helps to explain why Microsoft is making so much money.

Maybe I'm less patient in my old age, but this is partly the reason that I use the TiBook most of the time when I'm at home. Sure, I still SSH into various Linux servers but for my desktop the frustration really isn't worth it for the benefits I get. OS X just feels like the right mix.

Posted by jzawodn at December 27, 2002 01:19 PM

Reader Comments
# garrett said:

i feel exactly the same way (well, s/Linux/FreeBSD/, but that's the only difference).

ever since i bought my ibook (which i've since upgraded to a tibook), i haven't used my desktop machine for much of anything. it's just easier to do everything from the OS X box and ssh to servers when something serverish is necessary.

OS X does 95% of the unixy things i want to do on a regular basis, and it makes the non-unixy stuff just so much easier.

on December 27, 2002 02:05 PM
# Marco said:

I don't use a Mac (in fact, my desktop runs Linux), but what inexperienced users call "gibberish" is valuable information to someone who's trying to make things run.

The real underlying problem is what are we trying to make computers do? Should we make computers dumber or users more aware of what is happening around them?

I know that it's difficult for an inexperienced user to use Linux and, yes, Microsoft has made a lot of money. I agree that something needs to be done, but the Microsoft model should be looked at as a successful competitor, not a role model, IMHO...

on December 27, 2002 06:30 PM
# Tzicha said:

There is a conception among many that simpler equals dumber. To the contrary, to purposely keep or make the use of things overly complex is the 'dumb' way. Consider the many complex things in the world around us that we use on a daily basis. Most of the natural order have a simple 'interface', if you will. Computers are nowhere near the complexity of living creatures (humans, animals, etc) which have simple 'interfaces' that are easy to 'use'. The 'interface' includes everything needed to 'use' the creature. These 'interfaces' often mask quite complex workings and associations, much that most never need see or use. Does lack of knowledge regarding the underlying workings make the user dumb? Does the lack of such knowledge hamper the continued use?
In contrast we have a Computer, a complex machine with a complex interface. Would presenting a simple interface hamper the use of a Computer? Should lack of knowledge regarding the inner-workings of a Computer(and its resident programs) make the user dumb or impede its use? If the answer is yes, then what is flawed, the user or the interface?

on December 31, 2002 06:38 AM
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