| Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2006 11:36:03 +0000
| From: "Noirin Plunkett" <plunkett at gmail.com>
| The easier the software is to use, the better the documentation,
| and the less buggy it is, the more likely people are to use it.
| It's not rocket science =)
There's a (slightly tongue-in-cheek) argument that it
is "Rocket Science":
+ “If builders built buildings the way programmers
write code, then the first woodpecker that came
along would destroy civilisation.” ½ ;-)
Translation: Preventing, finding, and/or fixing
bugs is not easy — Rocket Science?
+ A common perception is many(/most?) programmer's
cannot write worth a ^&@£#~*.
Translation: _Good_ documentation is quite hard
to write — Rocket Science?
+ “Easy-to-use“ is in the eye of beholder. E.g.,
the recent flap about the merits of Gnome vs.
KDE; or my own repeatedly stated dislike of the
tiny fonts and low contrast that GUIs seemingly
tend to use.†
Translation: What one person thinks or finds
easy to use another does not —
ergo, designing easy-to-use may
be Rocket Science?
I myself find M$ software extremely hard to use,
very badly documented, and, of course, totally
unreliable. Without exception! (I cannot stand
that fscking shiteware!) But it seems that lots
of people use it ....
Alternatively, TeX is arguably one of the most
bug-free pieces of software in existence (that
is readily available), and has good (if long)
documentation (“The TeXbook”, by Dr Knuth, who
_can_ write) — but it is perhaps not used as
much as you'd expect? (Admittedly, TeX does
fail on the third condition: It's not the
easiest to use. Tools like `lyx' and `kile'
try to help on that point (both, I understand,
are by one of the main KDE designers).)
Whilst tongue-in-cheek, there is an argument
that easy-to-use, well-documented, bug-free
software not only is Rocket Science, but does
not automagically mean lots of people use it.
† I had another round of tiny-font-plus-low-contrast
last weekend: I got fed up (again!) with info(1),
and decided to try tkinfo(1). Yep: It's default
is tiny (near invisible) font size, and the horrid
black text on dark-ish grey background. The man(1)
page doesn't say how/what to configure, only to
start `tkinfo' and type `h': But if I cannot read
what `h' says, what the ^&@£#~* good does that do
me??!? In the end, by squinting and pressing my
nose up against the VDU screen, I found the right
section, then copy-and-pasted it into a file to
read, using less(1) and not going blind. (I am
aware I could have dug through the `.info' files,
but having done that in the past, recall that it
is a real PITA.)
Experienced (20+ yrs) kernel/software Eng: | Brian Foster Montpellier,
• Unix, embedded, &tc; • Linux; • doc; | blf at utvinternet.ie FRANCE
• IDL, automated testing, process, &tc. | Stop E$$o (ExxonMobile)!
Résumé (CV) http://www.blf.utvinternet.ie | http://www.stopesso.com
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