Ramblings and questions regarding Fedora, but stemming from gnome-software and desktop environments

Alexander Ploumistos alex.ploumistos at gmail.com
Tue Dec 30 00:58:36 UTC 2014

2014-12-29 23:01 GMT+02:00 Chris Murphy <lists at colorremedies.com>:

> > OK, yes, my Macintosh Classic didn't have a cli. But the Macs back then
> were
> > much like feature phones are today.
> This is beside the point. However, even if feature phones had an
> installable developer tools do you think you'd develop applications on
> the feature phone? Could you develop a HyperCard or Photoshop 1.0 type
> of application? And you think it'd be usable? And you think it'd be a
> ground breaking, game changing set of applications that would create a
> multi-billion dollar industry? No on all counts so it's not only
> beside the point, the metaphor is wrong.

For a little over a decade, java-based and other apps for feature phones
generated billions for those involved, in either direct revenue or license
fees, until the smartphones started replacing the PDAs and becoming
mainstream. Much like closed-source feature phones, Apple kept control over
the hardware and the software of Macs, leaving little -if any- leeway for
users and developers. The Macs were great productivity machines in that
they had a good set of tools for specific tasks, a pleasant interface that
allowed easy access to those tasks and they rarely crashed on the job,
because Apple didn't have to worry about the software being glitch-free on
every conceivable hardware combo. Just like my KRZR is still great at
placing calls, sending texts and playing my tunes. My own coding skills are
completely irrelevant. On principle alone, I wouldn't choose to write
anything on such a platform (even if it had a cli from the very beginning).

>  None of that matters. The argument is that someone is only a developer
> if they are using a platform with a CLI, specifically dominating the
> process at a minimum, if not required to successfully develop
> software.

Not my argument. Someone who uses the terminal is in no way a better
developer than someone who works with a GUI. Coding and interfacing with
the machine are two very different things. However, a linux developer (as
in someone who develops programs to be run on linux systems, not a
developer in general who just happens to have his tools of choice running
on linux) who ignores the existence of shells is like an OS X developer who
has never used, well... OS X.

> I'd be surprised if the median age on this list is 31, so most
> people on this list probably were in diapers at the time a
> multi-billion dollar industry was being created by developers using a
> CLI-less development environment.

What does the CLI-less-ness of Macs and their gazillion dollar industry
have to do with the rest of this discussion though? Windows have had a
cmd.exe (with its tremendous limitations) since time immemorial and several
years ago a "Power Shell" was added. Some users (and developers) know
they're there, most do not. Does that have anything to do with Microsoft's
dominance over the PC market? As for the age thing, I may have owned a IIe
and a Macintosh Classic, but over the years I've only come across five
people who happened to have used anything Apple made in that era -and I've
lived in seven cites in two different countries. Most computer users I knew
at the time were on Sinclairs, IBM and IBM-compatibles and later on Amiga
and Atari.

Exactly because Apple had set up a money barrier between users and
developers, a user would never get the chance to tinker with the internals
of their system, whereas on linux everyone is free to do as much or as
little as they please. Feel like checking if there is anything left from
that C class you took ages ago? Just install gcc and give it a shot. You
think you could automate some mundane, repetitive task you have to do every
now and then? Fire up vi (or emacs, nano, gedit, pluma, leafpad etc.) and
write a shell script and feed it to your always-present shell. You might
botch your system, but that's part of the learning process. In System 5, 6
and 7, there was an extra step in that process, which involved several
hundred $ changing hands. And yes, there wasn't a shell.

> Hughsie wrote the most functional, most stable, 1.0
> version application I've ever used, and faster than Matilda the Witch
> could flick her wand. Oh but if he wasn't slovenly dependent on CLI
> tools at the time, he wouldn't be a developer, he'd be an operator.
> It's just so absurd as to defy belief, and yet he's having eggs thrown
> at him? WTFsauce. This reads like a really bad comedy show where the
> distinctly not funny comedian starts throwing tomatoes at the audience
> for not laughing. Oh but he's not a real comedian, because he wasn't
> on a stage.

I have to agree with you here. I haven't had the pleasure of Ms Matilda's
acquaintance, but gnome-software is incredibly fast, especially given the
tasks it performs.
Also, things should never get personal and snarky comments are detrimental
to the discussion. If a real issue occurs that can't be amicably resolved
here or in bugzilla, there are community elected steering committees that
can take over.

> There is such a thing as listening too much to a community that can
> act like an anchor to innovation.

Only a small subset of a much larger community is active on these lists.
Those who are vocal about an issue here or in the forum, are those who feel
affected by it in a good or mostly in a bad way. They do not necessarily
represent an equal proportion of the community. Perhaps regular or sporadic
surveys might help get some input from the non-vocal users. And let's not
forget that not everyone here has english as their mother tongue, so things
can and do get lost in translation.

The fact that I take from this thread and which keeps getting buried in the
avalanche of postings, is that there is an ongoing and good effort to
provide graphical means for users to install, configure and use Fedora on
their computers, without ever having to use a terminal because there is no
alternative. Those who enjoy using a terminal will still be able to perform
those same tasks without bothering with the UI elements. New users will
always have the opportunity to discover the awesomeness of a shell, but by
choice; not by need.
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