Wed, 19 Nov 2003

Filling In The Blanks

A long time ago I realized that, given half a chance, I tend to rattle on a bit. (at this point, you sit back, say, "Duh, you're a freakin' blogger, numnuts...", and continue to sip your coffee) I made a conscious decision to strive for a bit of (false?) economy in my writing, a nip here, a tuck there, and eventually I'm only boring the world 50% as much as before. The danger with doing this is that sometimes you forget the people reading aren't sitting inside your brain, participating in the editing process, so you omit or elide things that you really should have made a bit more explicit.

My last entry was a bit of a vent in which I talked about the hazards of interface customization. The first line was:

The mantra of moderately-to-very experienced computer users is "customization customization customization"
which Sven quite rightly calls me out on. Looking back at my post I see something that was very clear in my mind as I was writing it but entirely absent from the actual post: that I personally am not a fan of completely customizable interfaces -- all too often, a completely customizable interface is a cop-out for developers failing to deliver a usable default interface at all. This was completely clear in my head, but of course it never actually shows up in the actual entry. I'm not an interface tweaker at all -- I'm much more likely to want to mod an application's underlying functionality via wild-eyed patching and plugins than I am to ever want to muck with the interface. More clearly stated, what you often run into in places like Slashdot, Ars Technica, Mozillazine, OSNews, and on technical folks weblogs are people clamoring for more tweakable interfaces. Throwing more toolbars and widgets at these people (who, quite sadly, are quite often the same people responsible for writing project reviews, which only fuels the vicious cycle) may shut them up (temporarily), but it thoroughly screws the pooch for the novice user.

:: 11:42
:: /tech/computers/os/all | [+]
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> The day people think linux would be better served by somebody else (FSF
> being the natural alternative), I’ll “abdicate”. I don’t think that
> it’s something people have to worry about right now - I don’t see it
> happening in the near future. I enjoy doing linux, even though it does
> mean some work, and I haven’t gotten any complaints (some almost timid
> reminders about a patch I have forgotten or ignored, but nothing
> negative so far).
>
> Don’t take the above to mean that I’ll stop the day somebody complains:
> I’m thick-skinned (Lasu, who is reading this over my shoulder commented
> that “thick-HEADED is closer to the truth”) enough to take some abuse.
> If I weren’t, I’d have stopped developing linux the day ast ridiculed me
> on c.o.minix. What I mean is just that while linux has been my baby so
> far, I don’t want to stand in the way if people want to make something
> better of it (*).
>
> Linus
>
> (*) Hey, maybe I could apply for a saint-hood from the Pope. Does
> somebody know what his email-address is? I’m so nice it makes you puke.
(Taken from Linus’s reply to someone worried about the future of Linux)