Eric S. Raymond | 28 Dec 17:01 2000
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Re: Miscellaneous 2.0 installation issues

Guido van Rossum <guido <at> digicool.com>:
> Not all the world is Linux.  CML2 isn't the only Python application
> that matters.  Python world domination is not a goal.  There is no
> Eric conspiracy! :-)

Perhaps I misunderstood you, then.  I thought you considered CML2 an
potentially important design win, and that was why curses didn't get
dropped from the core.  Have you changed your mind about this?

If Python world domination is not a goal then I can only conclude that
you haven't had your morning coffee yet :-).

There's a more general question here about what it means for something
to be in the core language.  Developers need to have a clear,
bright-line picture of what they can count on to be present.  To me
this implies that it's the job of the Python maintainers to make sure
that a facility declared "core" by its presence in the standard
library documentation is always present, for maximum "batteries are
included" effect.  

Yes, dealing with cross-platform variations in linking curses is a
pain -- but dealing with that kind of pain so the Python user doesn't
have to is precisely our job.  Or so I understand it, anyway.
--

-- 
		<a href="http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/">Eric S. Raymond</a>

Conservatism is the blind and fear-filled worship of dead radicals.

Guido van Rossum | 28 Dec 17:43 2000

Re: Miscellaneous 2.0 installation issues

> Guido van Rossum <guido <at> digicool.com>:
> > Not all the world is Linux.  CML2 isn't the only Python application
> > that matters.  Python world domination is not a goal.  There is no
> > Eric conspiracy! :-)
> 
> Perhaps I misunderstood you, then.  I thought you considered CML2 an
> potentially important design win, and that was why curses didn't get
> dropped from the core.  Have you changed your mind about this?

Supporting CML2 was one of the reasons to keep curses in the core, but
not the only one.  Linux kernel configuration is so far removed from
my daily use of computers that I don't have a good way to judge its
importance in the grand scheme of things.  Since you obviously
consider it very important, and since I generally trust your judgement
(except on the issue of firearms :-), your plea for keeping, and
improving, curses support in the Python core made a difference in my
decision.  And don't worry, I don't expect to change that decision
-- though I personally still find it curious that curses is so important.
I find curses-style user interfaces pretty pathetic, and wished that
Linux migrated to a real GUI for configuration.  (And the linuxconf
approach does *not* qualify as a a real GUI. :-)

> If Python world domination is not a goal then I can only conclude that
> you haven't had your morning coffee yet :-).

Sorry to disappoint you, Eric.  I gave up coffee years ago. :-)

I was totally serious though: my personal satisfaction doesn't come
from Python world domination.  Others seem have that goal, and if it
doesn't inconvenience me too much I'll play along, but in the end I've
(Continue reading)

Eric S. Raymond | 28 Dec 18:41 2000
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Re: Miscellaneous 2.0 installation issues

Guido van Rossum <guido <at> digicool.com>:
> Supporting CML2 was one of the reasons to keep curses in the core, but
> not the only one.  Linux kernel configuration is so far removed from
> my daily use of computers that I don't have a good way to judge its
> importance in the grand scheme of things.  Since you obviously
> consider it very important, and since I generally trust your judgement
> (except on the issue of firearms :-), your plea for keeping, and
> improving, curses support in the Python core made a difference in my
> decision.  And don't worry, I don't expect to change that decision
> -- though I personally still find it curious that curses is so important.
> I find curses-style user interfaces pretty pathetic, and wished that
> Linux migrated to a real GUI for configuration.  (And the linuxconf
> approach does *not* qualify as a a real GUI. :-)

Thank you, that makes your priorities much clearer.

Actually I agree with you that curses interfaces are mostly pretty
pathetic.  A lot of people still like them, though, because they tend
to be fast and lightweight.  Then, too, a really well-designed curses
interface can in fact be good enough that the usability gain from
GUIizing is marginal.  My favorite examples of this are mutt and slrn.
The fact that GUI programs have failed to make much headway against
this is not simply due to user conservatism, it's genuinely hard to
see how a GUI interface could be made significantly better.

And unfortunately, there is a niche where it is still important to
support curses interfacing independently of anyone's preferences in
interface style -- early in the system-configuration process before
one has bootstrapped to the point where X is reliably available.  I
hasten to add that this is not just *my* problem -- one of your
(Continue reading)


Gmane