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#1 2012-07-24 07:45:41

jakobcreutzfeldt
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Registered: 2011-05-12
Posts: 1,033

What's with all the --force-ing?

The recent and somehow-still-ongoing glibc debacle has revealed more than ever that a good number of users actually use Pacman's --force flag even though it's repeatedly advised against pretty much everywhere on the archlinux.org domain. I'm just curious...are there other common Linux package managers (or other software) that encourage the use of --force such that they might lull new Pacman users into a false sense of security in performing it? Other systems with which it is not uncommon to use --force? I just find the whole situation a bit surprising.
Is there any other way to convince these users that --force is *not* ok unless the devs recommend it, without resorting to hand-holding?

(sorry, not sure if this belongs in Arch or GNU/Linux Discussion, feel free to move it mods)

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#2 2012-07-24 08:37:59

HungGarTiger
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From: nz/auckland/
Registered: 2012-06-27
Posts: 186

Re: What's with all the --force-ing?

If it was only new users, I would say it's maybe a direct effect of migrating from distros that hold your hand all the time. Thus becoming frustrated when the commands "don't work as they should". I can't comment so much on experienced users (as I'm not one), perhaps the boredom of having a well functioning system since the last update? tongue

Though I do wonder how people manage to get their systems installed seeing as a lot of people seem to have such an aversion to reading the wiki and documentation.. wink

Last edited by HungGarTiger (2012-07-24 08:38:59)


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#3 2012-07-24 08:42:29

Barrucadu
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From: York, England
Registered: 2008-03-30
Posts: 1,158
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Re: What's with all the --force-ing?

I think a part of the problem might actually be the good documentation. For some time Arch has been regarded as a cool (for some reason) but hardcore distro, when people follow the beginners guide to install it they think "wow, that was much easier than I expected!" and become lazy.

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#4 2012-07-24 14:33:41

ataraxia
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From: Pittsburgh
Registered: 2007-05-06
Posts: 1,537

Re: What's with all the --force-ing?

I think there are a fair number of "experienced" users who, while they have been with Arch for a while, haven't actually learned much of anything. An old Arch install that doesn't get any love doesn't teach its owner anything.

Combine this with the usual impatient, non-documentation-reading, "if it doesn't work, force it" mentality, and you get a problem. (And many users with that attitude also seem to fall into the arrogant "blame the devs and demand perfection for free" camp as well.)

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#5 2012-07-24 14:42:59

Trilby
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From: Massachusetts, USA
Registered: 2011-11-29
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Re: What's with all the --force-ing?

ataraxia wrote:

Combine this with the usual impatient, non-documentation-reading, "if it doesn't work, force it" mentality, and you get a problem.

I see a related problem with the same etiology: using sudo or su for everything.

I see so many users try to run a command they don't really understand, then when it gives an error, they run it again with sudo.  It just boggles me: if you don't know what you are doing, definitely don't do it as a privileged user.  Similarly, if you don't know what you are doing, don't try to --force it.

Ignorance is expected when one is doing something new.  Impatience is expected when it doesn't work.  But when you put ignorance and impatience together, you often get very bad results.


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#6 2012-07-24 15:05:25

ewaller
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From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: 2009-07-13
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Re: What's with all the --force-ing?

Trilby wrote:

But when you put ignorance and impatience together, you often get very bad results.

I can provide plenty of examples from personal experience hmm


Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature -- Michael Faraday
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#7 2012-07-24 15:10:15

Inxsible
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From: Chicago
Registered: 2008-06-09
Posts: 9,073

Re: What's with all the --force-ing?

A step to mitigate this was the recent removal of the -f flag. Hoping against hope that when users have to type the complete word --force, something will trigger in their brain and they will stop & think about what they are doing.


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#8 2012-07-24 15:30:07

karol
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Registered: 2009-05-06
Posts: 25,431

Re: What's with all the --force-ing?

Inxsible wrote:

A step to mitigate this was the recent removal of the -f flag. Hoping against hope that when users have to type the complete word --force, something will trigger in their brain and they will stop & think about what they are doing.

The change is not live yet, IIRC it's scheduled for pacman 4.1

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#9 2012-07-24 15:36:41

Inxsible
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From: Chicago
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Posts: 9,073

Re: What's with all the --force-ing?

karol wrote:
Inxsible wrote:

A step to mitigate this was the recent removal of the -f flag. Hoping against hope that when users have to type the complete word --force, something will trigger in their brain and they will stop & think about what they are doing.

The change is not live yet, IIRC it's scheduled for pacman 4.1

Correct. Did I say it was live? Maybe the word "recent", that I used is to blame. smile Sorry !


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#10 2012-07-24 15:45:44

skanky
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From: WAIS
Registered: 2009-10-23
Posts: 1,838

Re: What's with all the --force-ing?

I wonder if rm can have an influence? It's the only command (apart from the recent update where we needed to use force in pacman, I forget what it was), that I can think of, where I have ever used -f.

Also, I wonder if it would make sense for --force to be able to be turned off at a package level. If it was done for specific packages at specific updates, then it might make the devs' lives easier at those times. It might be a too much work for too little gain though. I'm sure it's been considered.


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#11 2012-07-24 15:50:33

Inxsible
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From: Chicago
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Re: What's with all the --force-ing?

skanky wrote:

It might be a too much work for too little gain though.

Any work is too much work for the devs when they have to make sure users don't screw up their system.

And the devs + other experienced users have been telling anyone who will listen that using -f brings bad karma !  If users still don't heed the advice, there isn't much anyone can do.


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#12 2012-07-24 15:52:09

Trilby
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From: Massachusetts, USA
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Re: What's with all the --force-ing?

Perhaps it is also experience with other OSs/distros.

For many of these, even the "experts'" best advice is something along the lines of "shut everything down, start it back up, then try again."  I'm still pretty new to arch (though I like to think I'm a quick study), so I clearly recall the adjustment to actually paying attention to error messages.  Error messages are informative, can be interpreted, and often lead directly to a solution.  This is particularly true in arch, while it may be completely false for some other OSs.  Many users then build habits of just "pushing harder" when something doesn't work rather than recognizing the opportunity to figure out what is going on.

Frankly, this is one of the things I love most about arch: while it does run "better" in many ways, even when it doesn't, it offers opportunities for learning that I've never felt with other distros/OSs.  New users may have to go through a process of learning-how-to-learn again to counteract the "learned helplessness"* they've gained from using other systems.

*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learned_helplessness

Last edited by Trilby (2012-07-24 15:53:04)


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#13 2012-07-24 15:58:25

ataraxia
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From: Pittsburgh
Registered: 2007-05-06
Posts: 1,537

Re: What's with all the --force-ing?

Inxsible wrote:

A step to mitigate this was the recent removal of the -f flag. Hoping against hope that when users have to type the complete word --force, something will trigger in their brain and they will stop & think about what they are doing.

And when this goes live, the forum will be buried in confused threads from users (who don't search before posting new threads) wanting to know where their beloved -f went, which they used every day by default. tongue

Really, while I like the idea of this pacman change, I suspect the only way this community can rid itself of the support burden of people who should not be running Arch is to break their systems when they mis-manage them.

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#14 2012-07-24 16:07:04

jakobcreutzfeldt
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Registered: 2011-05-12
Posts: 1,033

Re: What's with all the --force-ing?

Inxsible wrote:

A step to mitigate this was the recent removal of the -f flag. Hoping against hope that when users have to type the complete word --force, something will trigger in their brain and they will stop & think about what they are doing.

It's a nice first step but perhaps you should also require --force to take an argument, like --force=yesimreallyfuckingsureiknowwhatimdoing

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#15 2012-07-24 16:07:30

skanky
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From: WAIS
Registered: 2009-10-23
Posts: 1,838

Re: What's with all the --force-ing?

Inxsible wrote:
skanky wrote:

It might be a too much work for too little gain though.

Any work is too much work for the devs when they have to make sure users don't screw up their system.

And the devs + other experienced users have been telling anyone who will listen that using -f brings bad karma !  If users still don't heed the advice, there isn't much anyone can do.

Yes, that what I was thinking.


"...one cannot be angry when one looks at a penguin."  - John Ruskin
"Life in general is a bit shit, and so too is the internet. And that's all there is." - scepticisle

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#16 2012-07-24 16:10:34

jakobcreutzfeldt
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Registered: 2011-05-12
Posts: 1,033

Re: What's with all the --force-ing?

skanky wrote:

I wonder if rm can have an influence? It's the only command (apart from the recent update where we needed to use force in pacman, I forget what it was), that I can think of, where I have ever used -f.

The only other one I can think of is git...there are a few rare situations where you might want to force a push, for example.

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#17 2012-07-24 16:13:00

MoonSwan
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From: Great White North
Registered: 2008-01-23
Posts: 873

Re: What's with all the --force-ing?

ataraxia wrote:
Inxsible wrote:

A step to mitigate this was the recent removal of the -f flag. Hoping against hope that when users have to type the complete word --force, something will trigger in their brain and they will stop & think about what they are doing.

And when this goes live, the forum will be buried in confused threads from users (who don't search before posting new threads) wanting to know where their beloved -f went, which they used every day by default. tongue

Really, while I like the idea of this pacman change, I suspect the only way this community can rid itself of the support burden of people who should not be running Arch is to break their systems when they mis-manage them.

I am not sure I hold your optimism Ataraxia but I'm going to try to be so anyway.  We can only hope you're correct!


I'm torn apart between worlds. Basically, using vim in a highly visual environment with a lot of mouse features feels like soldering a lose wire to a motherboard with a Zippo and a needle, while working with ANY TEXT AT ALL with a "modern GUI" text editor feels like joining the London Philharmonic Orchestra with a Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Magical Musical Mirror.  --Awebb

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#18 2012-07-24 16:24:26

Xyne
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Registered: 2008-08-03
Posts: 5,699
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Re: What's with all the --force-ing?

jakobcreutzfeldt wrote:
Inxsible wrote:

A step to mitigate this was the recent removal of the -f flag. Hoping against hope that when users have to type the complete word --force, something will trigger in their brain and they will stop & think about what they are doing.

It's a nice first step but perhaps you should also require --force to take an argument, like --force=yesimreallyfuckingsureiknowwhatimdoing

Tell users what they should and should not do then let them break their systems if they want to learn the hard way. It filters out the users who install Arch for the wrong reason.

Even removing "-f" after however many years feels like a bit of hand-holding. Every distro has rm and yet most people manage to not wipe their system, so people can clearly learn.

Meh.

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#19 2012-07-24 16:50:41

anonymous_user
Member
Registered: 2009-08-28
Posts: 3,058

Re: What's with all the --force-ing?

Xyne wrote:

Even removing "-f" after however many years feels like a bit of hand-holding. Every distro has rm and yet most people manage to not wipe their system, so people can clearly learn.

Or people just don't use rm regularly. At least for me, since I have a graphical file manager, I use pacman a lot more than rm.

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#20 2012-07-24 16:59:14

karol
Archivist
Registered: 2009-05-06
Posts: 25,431

Re: What's with all the --force-ing?

anonymous_user wrote:
Xyne wrote:

Even removing "-f" after however many years feels like a bit of hand-holding. Every distro has rm and yet most people manage to not wipe their system, so people can clearly learn.

Or people just don't use rm regularly. At least for me, since I have a graphical file manager, I use pacman a lot more than rm.

I use 'rm -rf' a lot and still have a running system with all the important files intact.


Backups FTW ;P


It reminds me of an old joke:

A young executive was leaving the office late one evening when he found the CEO standing in front of a shredder with a piece of paper in his hand.
"Listen," said the CEO, "this is a very sensitive and important document here, and my secretary has gone for the night. Can you make this thing work?"
"Certainly," said the young executive. He turned the machine on, inserted the paper, and pressed the start button.
"Excellent, excellent!" said the CEO as his paper disappeared inside the machine.
"I just need one copy."

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#21 2012-07-24 17:16:55

ewaller
Administrator
From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: 2009-07-13
Posts: 13,158

Re: What's with all the --force-ing?

Many, many years ago (mid 1980's) the computer store where I worked was starting to deliver some of those newfangled 8 inch platter Winchester disk drives that could hold an astounding 10 MB.  When preparing to format the drive, the utility demanded you "Type 'Destroy' to continue".

I had a panicked call from a customer who wanted to know how he could recover data from his drive.  After some questioning, I determined he had run the format utility.  I asked him if he had typed 'Destroy'.  The response, "Yes".  I asked, "And you were expecting ...?"  The response:  "So how do I get my data back?" 

Some things never change.

Last edited by ewaller (2012-07-24 17:17:19)


Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature -- Michael Faraday
You assume people are rational and influenced by evidence.  You must not work with the public much. -- Trilby
----
How to Ask Questions the Smart Way

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#22 2012-07-24 18:04:15

jakobcreutzfeldt
Member
Registered: 2011-05-12
Posts: 1,033

Re: What's with all the --force-ing?

Xyne wrote:
jakobcreutzfeldt wrote:

It's a nice first step but perhaps you should also require --force to take an argument, like --force=yesimreallyfuckingsureiknowwhatimdoing

Tell users what they should and should not do then let them break their systems if they want to learn the hard way. It filters out the users who install Arch for the wrong reason.

Even removing "-f" after however many years feels like a bit of hand-holding. Every distro has rm and yet most people manage to not wipe their system, so people can clearly learn.

Meh.

It was a joke wink

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#23 2012-07-24 19:18:21

litemotiv
Forum Fellow
Registered: 2008-08-01
Posts: 5,026

Re: What's with all the --force-ing?

jakobcreutzfeldt wrote:
Xyne wrote:
jakobcreutzfeldt wrote:

It's a nice first step but perhaps you should also require --force to take an argument, like --force=yesimreallyfuckingsureiknowwhatimdoing

Tell users what they should and should not do then let them break their systems if they want to learn the hard way. It filters out the users who install Arch for the wrong reason.

Even removing "-f" after however many years feels like a bit of hand-holding. Every distro has rm and yet most people manage to not wipe their system, so people can clearly learn.

Meh.

It was a joke wink

I'm sure he meant Moo. wink


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#24 2012-07-25 05:09:06

ngoonee
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From: Between Thailand and Singapore
Registered: 2009-03-17
Posts: 6,839

Re: What's with all the --force-ing?

ataraxia wrote:
Inxsible wrote:

A step to mitigate this was the recent removal of the -f flag. Hoping against hope that when users have to type the complete word --force, something will trigger in their brain and they will stop & think about what they are doing.

And when this goes live, the forum will be buried in confused threads from users (who don't search before posting new threads) wanting to know where their beloved -f went, which they used every day by default. tongue

I haven't banned enough people, I'm short of my quota, this should fill it up smile


Allan-Volunteer on the (topic being discussed) mailn lists. You never get the people who matters attention on the forums.
jasonwryan-Installing Arch is a measure of your literacy. Maintaining Arch is a measure of your diligence. Contributing to Arch is a measure of your competence.
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#25 2012-07-25 14:05:27

PReP
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From: Sweden/Sala
Registered: 2010-06-13
Posts: 347
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Re: What's with all the --force-ing?

--force could be renamed --bork, instead.

"But things still don't work, i even tried borking my system..."


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