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#76 2012-05-04 17:27:24

nomilieu
Member
Registered: 2010-07-03
Posts: 133

Re: Here, have a GUI

drcouzelis wrote:
ewaller wrote:

For the twisty passages.  Drop things as landmarks so you can differentiate the rooms.  Of course, if you use treasures, there is that pesky pirate who picks them up.

I understood that part, but isn't the maze "non orthogonal" or something? I mean, going from room A -> north -> B does not mean B -> south -> A. It was just nasty. Or I'm just stupid.

Pencil and paper might help.

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#77 2012-05-04 17:47:21

drcouzelis
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From: Connecticut, USA
Registered: 2009-11-09
Posts: 3,476
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Re: Here, have a GUI

Bellum wrote:

What would be the point? They're all in $PATH and executed by using the executable name directly. Actually, that's how I run GUI apps in Linux as well; I don't see the point in an "Applications" menu at all.

To make them discoverable.

Here's a simple silly example: I remember installing a CLI image viewer. What was it called? I'll just look in a directory and find

/Applications/Image/sxiv

Or, since tab completion is so common, it could even be

/Applications/Image/sxiv Image Viewer

Yeah, I know, I wouldn't actually want it this way. I'm just expressing an idea that popped into my head. tongue

My point is, is there a way to make CLI applications more easily discoverable? How about command line options appearing when you press tab?

...Which, I guess, is pretty far from the original post: Is there a way to make CLI applications more "do well at what they're supposed to do compared to their GUI counterparts"?

nomilieu wrote:
drcouzelis wrote:

(In a ridiculous video game maze)

Pencil and paper might help.

I almost ran out of paper when drawing out the map, but it was ok, because before I finished the batteries in my flashlight ran out and I got eaten.

Last edited by drcouzelis (2012-05-04 17:57:51)

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#78 2012-05-04 17:59:45

ewaller
Administrator
From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: 2009-07-13
Posts: 12,975

Re: Here, have a GUI

nomilieu wrote:
drcouzelis wrote:
ewaller wrote:

For the twisty passages.  Drop things as landmarks so you can differentiate the rooms.  Of course, if you use treasures, there is that pesky pirate who picks them up.

I understood that part, but isn't the maze "non orthogonal" or something? I mean, going from room A -> north -> B does not mean B -> south -> A. It was just nasty. Or I'm just stupid.

Pencil and paper might help.

I expressed it  (the maze and the entire cave) as a state machine rather than trying to envision it in three space. 
Bringing things back on topic ... Maybe that is the difference between GUI's and CLIs.  Not all people abstract things in the same manner.

Edit:

drcouzelis wrote:

because before I finished the batteries in my flashlight ran out and I got eaten.

Well you can by more batteries from the vending machine in the other maze, but you should not need too smile

Last edited by ewaller (2012-05-04 18:03:11)


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#79 2012-05-04 18:36:14

karol
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Registered: 2009-05-06
Posts: 25,428

Re: Here, have a GUI

Bellum wrote:
drcouzelis wrote:

Also, I just had a thought: Why aren't CLI applications sorted in some manner, like GUI applications are in an "Applications" menu? Like, seriously, has this been done and I just don't know about it? And no, I don't mean the Gentoo ports tree hierarchy. tongue I mean, something on my computer that tells me all of the "Networking" CLI applications that are installed and all of the "Settings" CLI applications that are installed...

What would be the point? They're all in $PATH and executed by using the executable name directly. Actually, that's how I run GUI apps in Linux as well; I don't see the point in an "Applications" menu at all. tongue

There might be a point for the GUI-inclined folk in having browsers, text editors and games each in an easily browsable and automatically created "place" (submenu, tag etc.).
I was glad to leave hierarchical menus behind. If I can't remember a command, I create an alias (or a function if I need  positional arguments etc.) and put it at the top of my notes so I don't have to think "what was that command called? uxvtrd?" - I simply type 'u' or 'ut' for the tabbed version or refer to the notes for the first day or two.

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#80 2012-05-04 19:33:59

Bellum
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Registered: 2011-08-24
Posts: 230

Re: Here, have a GUI

Menus do have their place, especially with those other bigger distros where there's a lot of applications installed by default and users don't know what all of them are. I can see where drcouzelis's point about discoverability comes into play there, but I don't know if it's useful for cli apps. Personally I have keybindings for my most-used apps (term, browser, run-prompt, file browser, htop), but I do put my games in the openbox menu. It's especially nice because I've hacked it to allow traversal with the hjkl keys. I guess my main problem is with the mouse more than menus. ^_^

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#81 2012-05-04 19:57:08

Trilby
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From: Massachusetts, USA
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Re: Here, have a GUI

Bellum wrote:

Menus do have their place, especially with those other bigger distros where there's a lot of applications installed by default and users don't know what all of them are.

Menus wouldn't make me any more comfortable with having a bunch of stuff installed that I never wanted installed.


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#82 2012-05-04 19:57:12

Stebalien
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Registered: 2010-04-27
Posts: 1,218
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Re: Here, have a GUI

drcouzelis wrote:
Bellum wrote:

What would be the point? They're all in $PATH and executed by using the executable name directly. Actually, that's how I run GUI apps in Linux as well; I don't see the point in an "Applications" menu at all.

To make them discoverable.

Here's a simple silly example: I remember installing a CLI image viewer. What was it called? I'll just look in a directory and find

/Applications/Image/sxiv

<snip>
My point is, is there a way to make CLI applications more easily discoverable?

$ apropose -a image viewer
sxiv (1)             - Simple (or small or suckless) X Image Viewer
drcouzelis wrote:

How about command line options appearing when you press tab?

That functionality already exists (but is not available for many programs). For example, type 'firefox -<tab>'.


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#83 2012-05-04 20:01:49

Bellum
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Registered: 2011-08-24
Posts: 230

Re: Here, have a GUI

Trilby wrote:
Bellum wrote:

Menus do have their place, especially with those other bigger distros where there's a lot of applications installed by default and users don't know what all of them are.

Menus wouldn't make me any more comfortable with having a bunch of stuff installed that I never wanted installed.

Me either. smile

But those distros have their place. It just isn't on my machine.

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#84 2012-05-04 20:13:20

drcouzelis
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From: Connecticut, USA
Registered: 2009-11-09
Posts: 3,476
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Re: Here, have a GUI

Stebalien wrote:
$ apropose -a image viewer
sxiv (1)             - Simple (or small or suckless) X Image Viewer

(I assume you mean "apropos")

Oh.

MY.

GOSH.

That is so cool.

...but now I'm torn. Is that good, because now I know that CLI applications can more easily be discoverable, or is that bad, because after a decade of Linux use I'd never heard of the apropos command and was therefore totally undiscoverable?

It's like the Isla de Muerta, it can only be found by those who know where to find it.

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#85 2012-05-04 21:56:23

bohoomil
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Registered: 2010-09-04
Posts: 2,376
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Re: Here, have a GUI

drcouzelis wrote:

it can only be found by those who know where to find it.

Exactly. It's called education, a set of activities that let us become aware of the way things are. Not only a specialized, highly sophisticated training in a particular field, but education as an approach towards new things in our lives, when we are eager to learn more and more about them. The first set of Linux commands I learned from a book covering the subject (which by the way came with a copy of an early version of RedHat, which more than a decade ago, before the rise of *buntus, in the -- still -- pre-Internet times for some of us, was the only way for me to obtain a copy of any distro). I had already worked with several different operating systems and read about A/UX, and that way I discovered the magical world of *nices (with the majority of them being unavailable for regular humans with irregular incomes). Fortunately, Linux had been around long enough, waiting to be grabbed and that's how the story began for me. smile

Anyway, the whole mystery of learning about 'apropos' command and a dozen of others has its roots in the way we learn about things in general (and the state they were in when we first saw them). For me the black screen covered with characters is the archetypal image of a computer interface. I used GUIs before Gnome and KDE and I loved them, but on my inner map the interface is textual, and interacting with a machine is some sort of a linguistic activity which one has to learn. Of course, now that people believe that there is a universal user interface and it looks like Windows, learning to interact with a computer has been limited to pushing and pulling the mouse, which is neither a good nor a bad thing, as long as we remember it is not the only one. And if we do remember, we don't need to try to prove that what we don't get should be changed or marked as obsolete...

Last edited by bohoomil (2012-05-04 21:57:56)


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#86 2012-05-04 22:27:50

/dev/zero
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From: Melbourne, Australia
Registered: 2011-10-20
Posts: 1,176
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Re: Here, have a GUI

drcouzelis wrote:

Also, I just had a thought: Why aren't CLI applications sorted in some manner, like GUI applications are in an "Applications" menu? Like, seriously, has this been done and I just don't know about it? And no, I don't mean the Gentoo ports tree hierarchy. tongue I mean, something on my computer that tells me all of the "Networking" CLI applications that are installed and all of the "Settings" CLI applications that are installed...

Anyone using Arch should not have much need for this. It shows that you haven't been keeping things simple. I don't need a program to tell me what networking applications I have installed, because my system is simple and I chose for myself what to install on it. This means I always have a rough idea about what's available to me already.

Anything I'm not sure how to do, I dsfr. Search engines, wikis, manpages, and experimentation are much more educational than a list showing which programs fit in which arbitrary categories.

If anyone has trouble understanding these points, I have trouble seeing why they would be drawn to Arch Linux. Arch Linux might be the flavour of the month right now, but it is not the only distro available. There are some other very nice distros or operating systems out there for people who are willing to opt out of simplicity in return for a bit more hand-holding.

Finally, it's not like the idea of program categorisation would be super-difficult to implement. I think it's unnecessary, and I think it would be tedious to go through all the available packages and place them in one or more categories, but no one is stopping anyone from giving it a shot if they believe it would be useful.


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#87 2012-05-06 12:27:35

drm00
Member
Registered: 2010-06-01
Posts: 38

Re: Here, have a GUI

I was looking for a list of the standard linux/unix utilities for text processing lately. All POSIX 2008 programs are listed in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Unix_utilities. Explanations for all GNU coreutil packages are available at http://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/m … index.html. For everything else, I use apropos(1) smile

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#88 2012-05-06 15:33:10

karol
Archivist
Registered: 2009-05-06
Posts: 25,428

Re: Here, have a GUI

I think to get the automatic menus for all the commandline commands, they would need something like a .desktop file that would put them in the correct category, otherwise you need to use external sources, like the wiki.

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#89 2012-05-06 17:41:19

Stebalien
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Registered: 2010-04-27
Posts: 1,218
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Re: Here, have a GUI

drcouzelis wrote:
Stebalien wrote:
$ apropose -a image viewer
sxiv (1)             - Simple (or small or suckless) X Image Viewer

(I assume you mean "apropos")

I misspell that so often I have it aliased. Sorry.


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#90 2012-05-06 20:03:17

Yurlungur
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2012-01-06
Posts: 116

Re: Here, have a GUI

TLDR to follow. Geeze, I need to start checking the forums daily, rather than whenever I remember.

alphaniner wrote:
Yurlungur wrote:

The OP may be right that the CLI framework is messy and scattered and not at all cohesive...but that's the price you pay for free and open source.

This is a cop-out.  Yes, we absolutely must be appreciative of things we get for free and respectful towards those who provide them.  And not just because it's practical (Don't bite the hand that feeds you) but because it's the right thing to do.

But that doesn't mean we should bury our heads in the sand when faced with shortcomings, or keep our mouths shut unless we are able to fix those shortcomings ourselves.  Constructive criticism is essential, even if that's all one has to offer.  We ought not ignore or ostracize those who would provide it.

Good point. Yes, I may have posted before I thought that through. Sorry about that.

That said, what I was trying to get at is not that we shouldn't offer feedback about the software. Rather, I feel like enforcing cohesion requires a unified leadership. So much of the OPs complaints have to do with different software tools not working together, or duplication of effort. The only way this could be fixed is if every GNU project deferred to some leadership single universal leadership. I think this leadership would absolutely harm the FOSS philosophy simply by existing. Single projects can agree to have a single leader, but there might be another project that's not nearly so coherent, and this is a good thing.

ewaller wrote:

Um, er, What?  Language is not intuitive?  I guess I'll have to stop reading novels and start watching television.  Sounds like Fahrenheit 451.

I guess that came off wrong. What I meant is this. If you're a native English speaker, try learning French by reading a technical manual in French and with no other help whatsoever. That's equivalent to trying to learn how to interact with a shell without reading the documentation. There will be similar ideas, even some similar syntax, but deep down, you're learning a whole new language and if you misuse a word you'll just be speaking nonsense.

drzcousellis wrote:

Also, I just had a thought: Why aren't CLI applications sorted in some manner, like GUI applications are in an "Applications" menu? Like, seriously, has this been done and I just don't know about it? And no, I don't mean the Gentoo ports tree hierarchy. tongue I mean, something on my computer that tells me all of the "Networking" CLI applications that are installed and all of the "Settings" CLI applications that are installed...

People have already mentioned apropos, but there's also the info pages, which have a "table of contents" that's organized by category. But of course you have to know where to look. smile

apropos + man + info makes up a pretty comprehensive in-system help toolbox that's probably a substantially better interface than a menu. apropos and info handle the menu and category-like functionality, but help you out more, while man is your go-to syntax checker.

I'm actually constantly surprised that unix tutorials rarely mention that apropose and info exist, but are happy to tell you about man. It's true man is more useful, but that doesn't mean we should ignore the other in-system help tools.

bohoomil wrote:

Exactly. It's called education, a set of activities that let us become aware of the way things are. Not only a specialized, highly sophisticated training in a particular field, but education as an approach towards new things in our lives, when we are eager to learn more and more about them.

I agree, but I only found out about apropos and info from a book, not from an online tutorial, which seems odd. You shouldn't have to buy a book to gain access to all the information about your computer.

Last edited by Yurlungur (2012-05-06 20:06:25)


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#91 2012-05-06 20:16:12

ewaller
Administrator
From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: 2009-07-13
Posts: 12,975

Re: Here, have a GUI

Yurlungur wrote:
ewaller wrote:

Um, er, What?  Language is not intuitive?  I guess I'll have to stop reading novels and start watching television.  Sounds like Fahrenheit 451.

I guess that came off wrong. What I meant is this. If you're a native English speaker, try learning French by reading a technical manual in French and with no other help whatsoever. That's equivalent to trying to learn how to interact with a shell without reading the documentation. There will be similar ideas, even some similar syntax, but deep down, you're learning a whole new language and if you misuse a word you'll just be speaking nonsense.

Good point, I had not thought of it that way.  I am a native English speaker who (sadly) never mastered another natural language.  It can be a bear trying to glean information from signs, menus, etc... when traveling abroad.  Kudos to those who are multilingual.


Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature -- Michael Faraday
Like you, I have no idea what you are doing, but I am pretty sure it is wrong...Jasonwryan
----
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#92 2012-05-06 20:45:46

karol
Archivist
Registered: 2009-05-06
Posts: 25,428

Re: Here, have a GUI

'rm', 'mv' etc. make sense if you speak English, but not if your native language is e.g. Polish. Same for 'if - then' constructs and the like.
The GUIs are often fully localized so you can focus on the task at hand w/o first creating scripts and aliases so you don't stumble on every other word.

On the other hand, you can call your scripts and aliases almost however you like and GUIs tend to have a pretty rigid structure and it's much harder to rename a menu item or move it to another submenu.

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#93 2012-05-06 21:09:09

Yurlungur
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2012-01-06
Posts: 116

Re: Here, have a GUI

ewaller wrote:

Kudos to those who are multilingual.

Indeed. Tried to learn Japanese twice. Never reached any kind of fluency. Of course, in a way, any programmer is multilingual. smile

karol wrote:

'rm', 'mv' etc. make sense if you speak English, but not if your native language is e.g. Polish. Same for 'if - then' constructs and the like.

Sure, but, why wouldn't you naively think they were 'move' and 'delete' or something? Also, flow-control syntax varies by language and you may never figure out the syntax without documentation. For instance, do you need a 'fi'? Depends on the language.

The GUIs are often fully localized so you can focus on the task at hand w/o first creating scripts and aliases so you don't stumble on every other word.

On the other hand, you can call your scripts and aliases almost however you like and GUIs tend to have a pretty rigid structure and it's much harder to rename a menu item or move it to another submenu.

Yeah, that's kinda why I feel like GUIs are often training wheels for more powerful tools.


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#94 2012-05-07 13:59:31

alphaniner
Member
From: Ancapistan
Registered: 2010-07-12
Posts: 2,659

Re: Here, have a GUI

Yurlungur wrote:

Rather, I feel like enforcing cohesion requires a unified leadership... The only way this could be fixed is if every GNU project deferred to some leadership single universal leadership. I think this leadership would absolutely harm the FOSS philosophy simply by existing.

Yes, cohesion would require some sort of authority, unified toward a common goal.  But it needn't be empowered over every GNU project, not by a long shot.  Core OS functions only.  Do you think wired networking or simple storage-device interaction are as complex as wireless or permissions or power management?  Would you prefer less 'cohesion' in the case of the former?
Besides, there's already a committed group of interests influencing and contributing to the development of the Linux kernel.  It's just that the desktop is not their primary concern.  And I strongly doubt that an authority group would harm FOSS.  FreeBSD has their core team, and their committment to open source hasn't wavered.

Ultimately, I'm not out to convince people to 'change Linux'.  My contention is that those who want a viable alternative to Win/Mac* would be better off throwing their support behind something else.

*My definition of that being the same level of hardware support and functionality.

Last edited by alphaniner (2012-05-07 14:00:54)


But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain - that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.
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#95 2012-05-07 14:21:32

adamrehard
Member
From: NY, USA
Registered: 2011-11-03
Posts: 154

Re: Here, have a GUI

alphaniner wrote:

Ultimately, I'm not out to convince people to 'change Linux'.  My contention is that those who want a viable alternative to Win/Mac* would be better off throwing their support behind something else.

*My definition of that being the same level of hardware support and functionality.

What would you suggest contributing to?


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#96 2012-05-07 14:50:24

alphaniner
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From: Ancapistan
Registered: 2010-07-12
Posts: 2,659

Re: Here, have a GUI

I'd suggest Haiku for those willing to play the long-shot.  It's got a long way to go, but it's the only FOSS operating system focusing on the desktop.

Barring that, some BSD variant.  Yes, the BSDs are even less desktop-focused than Linux.  But FreeBSD for example has a development/release model which I believe is better suited for getting lasting support from hardware vendors.


But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain - that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.
-Lysander Spooner

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#97 2012-05-07 16:58:50

Yurlungur
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2012-01-06
Posts: 116

Re: Here, have a GUI

alphaniner wrote:

Yes, cohesion would require some sort of authority, unified toward a common goal.  But it needn't be empowered over every GNU project, not by a long shot.  Core OS functions only.  Do you think wired networking or simple storage-device interaction are as complex as wireless or permissions or power management?  Would you prefer less 'cohesion' in the case of the former?
Besides, there's already a committed group of interests influencing and contributing to the development of the Linux kernel.  It's just that the desktop is not their primary concern.

Good point. I'd consider the core kernel group a necessary evil, though. It's not really possible to run a machine if critical functions are working towards cross-purposes. 

And I strongly doubt that an authority group would harm FOSS.  FreeBSD has their core team, and their committment to open source hasn't wavered.

The BSD core team doesn't prevent side projects from contributing do they? I thought they worked on the core OS, but anyone could contribute to the "optional stuff" just like linux.

Does openBSD have the same problems the OP complained about?  I'm just curious.

Ultimately, I'm not out to convince people to 'change Linux'.  My contention is that those who want a viable alternative to Win/Mac* would be better off throwing their support behind something else.

*My definition of that being the same level of hardware support and functionality.

This is a naive question, but what functionality do you think is missing? I know there used to be huge hardware issues, but I personally have never had a hardware problem, and the only functionality issues I have ever had are when FOSS ideals conflict with proprietary software. i.e., DRM with microsoft silverlight.


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#98 2012-05-07 19:36:37

alphaniner
Member
From: Ancapistan
Registered: 2010-07-12
Posts: 2,659

Re: Here, have a GUI

You mentioned critical functions and "optional stuff".  It comes down to this: I think getting the full functionality of hardware is critical.  For a number of independent reasons, I don't see Linux ever reaching that state (barring some revolutionary change in the status quo).  I also think some sort of central 'entity' is required to get there, even if it has no real authority and provides only direction and standards.

Yurlungur wrote:

This is a naive question, but what functionality do you think is missing?

Access to the full capability of video cards.  Access to all the power saving features of modern hardware... decent USB write speeds for Pete's sake.  Yes, the latter is a bit tongue in cheek, but the fact that I can even say it should be evidence of something wrong.

Last edited by alphaniner (2012-05-07 20:09:27)


But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain - that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.
-Lysander Spooner

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#99 2012-05-07 20:08:26

nomilieu
Member
Registered: 2010-07-03
Posts: 133

Re: Here, have a GUI

alphaniner wrote:

I think getting the full functionality of hardware is critical to a successful OS.  For a number of independent reasons, I don't see Linux ever reaching that state.

To me, you seem to be implying that you don't consider Linux a success.

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#100 2012-05-07 20:36:45

alphaniner
Member
From: Ancapistan
Registered: 2010-07-12
Posts: 2,659

Re: Here, have a GUI

I made a change to my post, because I didn't like the way that came off.  Whether or not Linux is a success depends on what its goals are.  But there's really no such thing as 'Linux'.  We all project our goals and desires onto it.  One of my desires is an OS that gives me full access to my hardware.  I don't see Linux ever being that.  Not because people don't want it or aren't working toward it, but because its very nature precludes it.

Last edited by alphaniner (2012-05-07 20:37:09)


But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain - that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.
-Lysander Spooner

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