The quietness of preupgrade

Robert Myers rbmyersusa at gmail.com
Fri Jul 9 12:01:00 UTC 2010


On Fri, Jul 9, 2010 at 6:45 AM, Timothy Murphy <gayleard at eircom.net> wrote:

> Robert Myers wrote:
>
> > What the OP asked for
> > (demanded, really) is not possible even in theory.  Enormous amounts of
> > time
> > could be expended, and programs  *with* status indicators will still have
> > long, inexplicable pauses if something unexpected happens.
>
> As the OP, I didn't "demand" anything.
> Also I didn't say the program hung, as you seem to think.
> I said it _seemed_ to hang, ie there was no response for a long time.
>
> Have you actually used preupgrade yourself?
> If so, what was the length (approximately) of the longest pause
> you experienced?
>
> I don't think it takes an "enormous amount of time"
> to tell the user what is happening.
> Most programs do this.
> In fact, one of the long pauses seemed to be
> at the point where yum says "Updating <package abc>",
> going through the packages it has downloaded, one by one.
>

I have used preupgrade multiple times on multiple boxes.  I also just
installed a bunch of other software that involves long downloads and
installs.  I'm so accustomed to inexplicable stutters and stalls and things
going wrong with long installs that I just ignore them.  I find other things
to do.  Progress indicators can stall for no apparent reason, and there is
no surefire way to tell if the install is dead or just taking a very long
time.  Firefox has this wonderful indicator that someone else aptly referred
to as the pizza wheel of death.  If at first you don't succeed, try, try
again.

I have a computer that's so much faster than what the software designer of
one package anticipated that informational messages appear and disappear too
fast for me to read or to act on.

The range of hardware that's out there is so enormous that there is just no
way to anticipate what all users will experience, unless you are Apple and
keep control of everything.

How about progress indicators that race up to 98 or 99% finished and stay
there seemingly forever?  What good does that do?  Maybe I could have found
a better way to say it, but, while it may be possible in some limited
circumstances to reassure the user that something reasonable is happening,
it's a much harder problem than you apparently think, and, as I said, it's
not even in theory possible to address in general.

Robert.
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