The quietness of preupgrade

Robert Myers rbmyersusa at
Thu Jul 8 03:58:33 UTC 2010

On Wed, Jul 7, 2010 at 11:42 PM, Patrick O'Callaghan
<pocallaghan at>wrote:

> On Wed, 2010-07-07 at 23:24 -0400, Robert Myers wrote:
> > > It depends on what you mean by "hung". If we're talking about "in an
> > > unforeseen state caused by a bug" then of course the HT prevents
> > > detecting this reliably. However in this case I think the OP means
> > > something more ordinary, "not finished yet because there's a lot to
> > do".
> > > This doesn't prevent giving a meaningful progress report.
> > >
> >
> > If you think you know what you are talking about, perhaps you would
> > consider a fixed-fee contract on a perpetual motion machine.
> And perhaps you should share your wisdom with every programmer who's
> written an installer that shows progress reports. I'm sure they'll be
> glad to know they're wasting their time.

Of *course* you can try to imagine what the end user will experience and
make it as reasonable as possible.

In practice, you can't imagine every eventuality.

As it happens, I just finished installing [software package] on several
different systems.

On all but one install, the installer hung or behaved in idiosyncratic ways
that would make someone less experienced want to throw the computer through
the window.  The more powerful and general you make the installer (it does
lots of different things and copes with many different situations), the more
likely it is to screw up.

If you are naive, you dash off an angry post to someone.  If you've been
dealing with computers for a long time, you take a deep breath, try to
imagine all the different circumstances the installer designer had to
anticipate, and look for a way around the "bug."

Anyone here used ./configure?  How often does it encounter an unforeseen

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