HAL must die!

Jerry freebsd.user at seibercom.net
Thu Mar 17 23:49:23 UTC 2011

On Thu, 17 Mar 2011 16:36:37 -0600
Chad Perrin <perrin at apotheon.com> articulated:

> On Thu, Mar 17, 2011 at 05:35:57PM -0400, Jerry wrote:
> > On Thu, 17 Mar 2011 13:48:52 -0600
> > Chad Perrin <perrin at apotheon.com> articulated:
> > 
> > > I blame Microsoft, GNU, and Canonical for this trend, mostly.
> > 
> > Chad, I believe I stand on firm ground when I state that you would
> > blame Microsoft if the sun didn't come up tomorrow. You obviously
> > must have a life time membership to "Slashdot".
> I would not blame Microsoft if the sun doesn't come up tomorrow.  I
> probably should have included Apple in my list, and in fact in this
> particular case I'm skeptical that Microsoft is even as much to blame
> for feeding this trend as Apple, at least in the cases of iOS and
> MacOS "classic" (though MacOS X does mitigate this corporate impulse
> a little bit).
> Every membership at Slashdot is lifetime, as far as I'm aware.  If you
> create an account there, I don't think they delete it unless you do
> something really egregious to annoy the people who admin the site.
> That said, I've made comments to maybe two or three discussions at
> Slashdot in my life, I've only submitted one story there ever (and it
> wasn't accepted), and I have long since forgotten my login
> credentials for the site because I haven't visited it in years.
> You don't seem to stand on such firm ground, after all.  Are you sure
> you're not thinking of some other Chad?  Maybe you saw something aobut
> Rubyist and author Chad Fowler encouraging people to join a robots.txt
> fueled boycott of Microsoft's search engine.  There's some crossover
> there, given I'm a Rubyist and an author (of a somewhat different, but
> related, variety) as well, though I never joined the robots.txt
> boycott.
> > 
> > Microsoft creates programs, utilities, etc. for Microsoft. With very
> > few exceptions, it does not actively create programming for a
> > non-windows theater. It certainly never created any programming for
> > *nix systems that deal with hardware discovery & configuration.
> > Microsoft is not your problem. The people writing software, drivers,
> > what have you for *.nix & *.BSD are your problem.
> Microsoft encourages, employs, and supports a software design
> philosophy that prioritizes user obsequious operation over user
> enabling functionality, regardless of whether any of Microsoft's
> offerings are compatible with any computing platforms outside of what
> Microsoft itself produces.  By producing and marketing software that
> proceeds from that philosophy, organizations like Apple, Canonical,
> GNU, and Microsoft help push it into the mainstream within their
> particular market niches, where each of them is significantly
> influential.
> The people writing software, drivers, "what have you" for Unix-like
> OSes (including me) are to some extent influenced by these things.
> Despite the fact that Microsoft is not really in the Unixy markets
> very much, it has a disproportionately large effect on those markets
> because its flagship platform is so widely used by people who develop
> software, even when they are developing it for other platforms.
> > 
> > Contrary to whatever you may think, the over whelming majority of
> > users want a system that just works. They don't want to spend
> > hours/days or more just tying to get a printer or sound card to
> > work. They would rather leave that to people like you who have time
> > to waste. Those of us on the clock don't have the luxury of
> > fiddling with a piece of hardware when we could be doing something
> > productive.
> I never said that offering automatic configuration is bad.  I think
> it's great, as long as it doesn't hinder, override, obviate, or even
> prohibit user attempts to specify custom configuration.  If you think
> I was saying nothing should ever be done automatically, you were not
> reading very closely.  What I was saying was that trying to do things
> automatically in such a way that it *breaks* the ability to engage in
> direct customization when such is desired is a bad way to automate
> such things.
> It's great if sound "just works".  It's not so great if some software
> tries to make sound "just work" and fails, then prevents the user from
> fixing it, when fixing it was trivially easy before that software was
> integrated into the standard distribution of the system.
> > 
> > Two statements in your post stand out as being totally bizarre.
> > 
> > 1) <quote>
> > People design software meant to eliminate the configuration and
> > management hassle from the end user, but it doesn't always work
> > perfectly.
> > </quote>
> > 
> > OK, what software always works correctly? That never fails, hangs,
> > or just blows up. Deal with it, it is a fact of life. Ask any of a
> > number of users who have tried to get OpenOffice to work as
> > designed the first time; or even ever.
> I never said any software "always works correctly".  There actually is
> some software that does so, I'm sure -- but I was not saying that it
> was reasonable to excoriate the developers for writing the software in
> question in this case because there are bugs or limitations in the
> software's operation.  That statement was not meant to be taken in a
> vacuum; it is the set-up for the following statement, and I believe
> that the fact you have taken it as a stand-alone comment conveying
> some critical judgment that was not in fact evident in my phrasing is
> an indication that you really are not interested in having a
> reasonable conversation.  Indications, conversely, seem to suggest
> that you will take anything I say in the worst possible light, even
> inventing unreasonable interpretations of my words to support your
> belief that I'm a bad person for saying something unflattering about
> Microsoft.
> > 
> > 2) <quote>
> > Unfortunately, it so zealously attempts to guess what the
> > user wants that it effectively *disallows* easy fixes when the user
> > discovers that something needs to be "fixed".
> > <quote>
> > 
> > Of course your statement is sans any documented proof, which in
> > itself is not news worthy; however, who's specific configuration
> > should the designers of said software use for a template? I know,
> > yours, right? It is obvious that the designers are attempting to
> > guess what the user whats. Obviously, they are not going to guess
> > right 100% of the time. It is just the nature of the beast. Are you
> > trying to say that you cannot manually change a configuration file?
> > By the way, it will only get worse as no one can come to an
> > agreement on one unified replacement for HAL. Nothing like
> > fragmentation to make things work better. I believe that XFCE has
> > dropped all support for HAL too. Is that Microsoft's fault too?
> This is not the six o'clock news.  My statement does not need to be
> "newsworthy".  It is a simple statement of my perspective and
> experience. If you have some kind of evidence or reasoned argument to
> the contrary, please share it; I'll be happy to consider it and, if I
> find it worthy, change my perspective accordingly.  Simply accusing
> me of being some kind of anti-Microsoft zealot based on the turning
> of the tides and astrology (or whatever motivation you falsely apply
> to my statements) does not do much to convince me I'm wrong, though
> -- nor does pointing out that I have not cited scientific studies
> when making a simple observation based on my own experience.
> In any case, you seem to have completely missed my point here.  My
> point is not that anyone should design software to enforce the
> configuration that works best for me, specifically.  Rather, my point
> is that software developers should probably consider how easy it is
> to make things right when their software breaks.
> Of course I can manually change a configuration file, but I think you
> completely overlooked my statements about how things should really be
> easier than a lot of current autoconfig software makes it when the
> autoconfig needs to be overridden.
> > 
> > I have two Linksys Wireless-N PCI cards in front of me that work
> > fine on a Windows platform. FreeBSD doesn't even have a driver for
> > them, thereby rendering them useless. I suppose that is Microsoft's
> > fault too.
> No, not really.  It's more the fault of the hardware manufacturer.

Chad, up until this point I had taken your response seriously. In fact,
I thought it was well presented. Then, you went and blew it. You fell
into that trap that is all to prevalent in the open-source community,
and especially odious with the *BSDs. That being the "blame the
manufacturer" banner. If at first it doesn't work, blame the
manufacturer. Strangely enough, those two Wireless-N cards work in
Windows from at least XP forward (no surprise there), but they also
work with Ubuntu from what I have read on their forums. I also believe
that Linux supports the chip, although I don't have the time or
ambition to check it out right now. I do remember checking over a year
ago, and a driver was suppose to be available. BSD is notorious for
bringing up the rear with its offerings of drivers. It is just easier
to blame someone else I suppose. I know you are now going say that the
hardware manufacturer should be responsible for the driver. I totally
disagree. There is no way that a manufacturer can reasonably be expected
to product a driver for the extremely fragmented open-source
community. Look how much trouble nVidia had getting 64 bit drivers
into FreeBSD. You cannot even get the community to agree on a
replacement for HAL. They aim for the biggest target, linux and
basically leave the rest to their own devices. You can blame the
open-source community in general and *BSD in particular for that
problem. Even if they did come to some consensus, they would end up in a
pissing contest over the license.

Go ahead, now you can  blame Microsoft, Apple, GNU, the man in the
moon, and who knows who else for that problem too.

> I don't know why you have such a problem with me that you are
> unwilling to read my words as written, and just make up your own
> unreasonable interpretations and misrepresentations instead, but it
> isn't very amusing.

I wasn't trying to be amusing. Like I previously stated, I thought your
response was fine, until you stated preaching the company gospel.

Jerry ✌
FreeBSD.user at seibercom.net

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The Wright Brothers weren't the first to fly.
They were just the first not to crash.
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