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pk 09-26-2011 07:37 PM

Slightly OT but interesting nonetheless...
 
Hi,

Happened upon this interview with Linus Torvalds that some of you might
find interesting (if you haven't seen it already):

http://h30565.www3.hp.com/t5/Feature-Articles/Linus-Torvalds-s-Lessons-on-Software-Development-Management/ba-p/440

Best regards

Peter K

Michael Mol 09-26-2011 07:44 PM

Slightly OT but interesting nonetheless...
 
On Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 3:37 PM, pk <peterk2@coolmail.se> wrote:
> Hi,
>
> Happened upon this interview with Linus Torvalds that some of you might
> find interesting (if you haven't seen it already):
>
> http://h30565.www3.hp.com/t5/Feature-Articles/Linus-Torvalds-s-Lessons-on-Software-Development-Management/ba-p/440

Yeah, I just saw that. Admittedly, when I saw this section:

--begin-section--

I'll add at this point that this isn't just a programmer problem. I've
seen entire companies get locked into the idea that “perfecting” the
program was everything. They then neglected what the users wanted from
the program, supporting the users and so on. Most of us who've been in
the business for a while have seen this cycle play out over and over
again.

Expanding on that second point, Torvalds says that's why the Linux
kernel team is “so very anal about the whole ‘no regressions’ thing,
for example. Breaking the user experience in order to ‘fix’ something
is a totally broken concept; you cannot do it. If you break the user
experience, you may feel that you have ‘fixed’ something in the code,
but if you fixed it by breaking the user, you just violated that
second point; you thought the code was more important than the user.
Which is not true.”

--end-section--

I immediately thought of the udev thread.

--
:wq

Grant Edwards 09-26-2011 08:13 PM

Slightly OT but interesting nonetheless...
 
On 2011-09-26, Michael Mol <mikemol@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 3:37 PM, pk <peterk2@coolmail.se> wrote:
>> Hi,
>>
>> Happened upon this interview with Linus Torvalds that some of you might
>> find interesting (if you haven't seen it already):
>>
>> http://h30565.www3.hp.com/t5/Feature-Articles/Linus-Torvalds-s-Lessons-on-Software-Development-Management/ba-p/440
>
> Yeah, I just saw that. Admittedly, when I saw this section:
>
> --begin-section--
[...]
> Breaking the user experience in order to ???fix??? something
> is a totally broken concept; you cannot do it.

That's hilarious.

The Linux developers are _constantly_ changing APIs in ways that break
existing device driver code. There are repeatedly wholesale
re-designs of some APIs that happen between minor versions of a
supposedly "stable" kernel.

We have to touch our NetBSD and FreeBSD drivers maybe once every 3-4
years. Often our Linux drivers have to be updated every 3-4 _months_
to keep up with changes in the kernel that break things.

I suppose one could try to claim that people who ship Linux drivers
for their hardware aren't "users" of the kernel, and therefore our
dealing with such breakage isn't a "user experience".

--
Grant Edwards grant.b.edwards Yow! Everybody is going
at somewhere!! It's probably
gmail.com a garage sale or a disaster
Movie!!

James Broadhead 09-26-2011 08:16 PM

Slightly OT but interesting nonetheless...
 
On 26 September 2011 20:44, Michael Mol <mikemol@gmail.com> wrote:
> Yeah, I just saw that. Admittedly, when I saw this section:
>
> --begin-section--
>
> I'll add at this point that this isn't just a programmer problem. I've
> seen entire companies get locked into the idea that “perfecting” the
> program was everything. They then neglected what the users wanted from
> the program, supporting the users and so on. Most of us who've been in
> the business for a while have seen this cycle play out over and over
> again.
>
> Expanding on that second point, Torvalds says that's why the Linux
> kernel team is “so very anal about the whole ‘no regressions’ thing,
> for example. Breaking the user experience in order to ‘fix’ something
> is a totally broken concept; you cannot do it. If you break the user
> experience, you may feel that you have ‘fixed’ something in the code,
> but if you fixed it by breaking the user, you just violated that
> second point; you thought the code was more important than the user.
> Which is not true.”
>
> --end-section--
>
> I immediately thought of the udev thread.

The only problem with that attitude is that it eventually leads you to
the same position that Microsoft is in with Windows -- where too many
years of refusing to drop backwards compatibility were completely
holding them back. The direction that they took with Windows XP, drop
raw DOS support, release-freeze (9 years!), gather bug reports, fix
bugs(!), has actually left them with a pretty stable and functional OS
in Windows 7 (The release candidate was not quite as strong).

If you read the Old New Thing, you will still find some absolute
madness left in there to maintain support for Win3.1 programs, and
hacked around in some really awful ways.

Breaking User Experience is a major factor of open-source, it's
iterative though, and the general consensus is that each generation of
software improves on the previous one (that said, I'm pretty worried
about the directions of both gnome3 and kde4).

Canek Peláez Valdés 09-26-2011 09:00 PM

Slightly OT but interesting nonetheless...
 
On Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 3:44 PM, Michael Mol <mikemol@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 3:37 PM, pk <peterk2@coolmail.se> wrote:
>> Hi,
>>
>> Happened upon this interview with Linus Torvalds that some of you might
>> find interesting (if you haven't seen it already):
>>
>> http://h30565.www3.hp.com/t5/Feature-Articles/Linus-Torvalds-s-Lessons-on-Software-Development-Management/ba-p/440
>
> Yeah, I just saw that. Admittedly, when I saw this section:
>
> --begin-section--
>
> I'll add at this point that this isn't just a programmer problem. I've
> seen entire companies get locked into the idea that “perfecting” the
> program was everything. They then neglected what the users wanted from
> the program, supporting the users and so on. Most of us who've been in
> the business for a while have seen this cycle play out over and over
> again.
>
> Expanding on that second point, Torvalds says that's why the Linux
> kernel team is “so very anal about the whole ‘no regressions’ thing,
> for example. Breaking the user experience in order to ‘fix’ something
> is a totally broken concept; you cannot do it. If you break the user
> experience, you may feel that you have ‘fixed’ something in the code,
> but if you fixed it by breaking the user, you just violated that
> second point; you thought the code was more important than the user.
> Which is not true.”
>
> --end-section--
>
> I immediately thought of the udev thread.

Kernel and userspace are sometimes different.

Regards.
--
Canek Peláez Valdés
Posgrado en Ciencia e Ingenier*a de la Computación
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Jonas de Buhr 09-26-2011 09:06 PM

Slightly OT but interesting nonetheless...
 
>The only problem with that attitude is that it eventually leads you to
>the same position that Microsoft is in with Windows -- where too many
>years of refusing to drop backwards compatibility were completely
>holding them back.

i thought of that too. as with many other things, the trick is to find
the right balance. important code changes/cleanups sometimes have to be
made, even if they break things. if that happens too often its going to
annoy the users.

Alan McKinnon 09-26-2011 09:45 PM

Slightly OT but interesting nonetheless...
 
On Mon, 26 Sep 2011 23:06:36 +0200
Jonas de Buhr <jonas.de.buhr@gmx.net> wrote:

> >The only problem with that attitude is that it eventually leads you
> >to the same position that Microsoft is in with Windows -- where too
> >many years of refusing to drop backwards compatibility were
> >completely holding them back.
>
> i thought of that too. as with many other things, the trick is to find
> the right balance. important code changes/cleanups sometimes have to
> be made, even if they break things. if that happens too often its
> going to annoy the users.

Apple had a nice middle ground, most noticeable in MacOSX.

Support the old version in a VM-like environment for two releases then
drop the support. I think it's a nice compromise.

It's unrealistic to support everything you ever did forever
like MS tried to do (IE6 is *still* hanging around somehow...), while
the other extreme is probably even worse. The current classic extant
example is Amarok2 and kmail2 - in both cases the devs seem to have
just decided that anyone running anything older than 6 months isn't
worth the effort. Well, that's too bad for Amarok and kmail, there's
lots of alternative apps for both. And switching apps is far less pain
than trying to deal with upgrades with zero supported upgrade paths.

These are hard lessons to learn.

--
Alan McKinnnon
alan.mckinnon@gmail.com

Peter Humphrey 09-26-2011 10:21 PM

Slightly OT but interesting nonetheless...
 
On Monday 26 September 2011 22:45:20 Alan McKinnon wrote:




> It's unrealistic to support everything you ever did forever

> like MS tried to do (IE6 is *still* hanging around somehow...)




Tell me about it! IE6 is the nastiest pain in the backside of any webmaster. I keep having to abandon pretty enhancements of my site because IE6 makes a mess of them.




--

Rgds

Peter Linux Counter 5290, 1994-04-23

Dale 09-26-2011 10:42 PM

Slightly OT but interesting nonetheless...
 
pk wrote:

Hi,

Happened upon this interview with Linus Torvalds that some of you might
find interesting (if you haven't seen it already):

http://h30565.www3.hp.com/t5/Feature-Articles/Linus-Torvalds-s-Lessons-on-Software-Development-Management/ba-p/440

Best regards

Peter K




Has anyone seen anything about the udev/initramfs thingy and what Linus
thinks about it?


Just curious.

Dale

:-) :-)

Michael Orlitzky 09-27-2011 12:12 AM

Slightly OT but interesting nonetheless...
 
On 09/26/11 16:13, Grant Edwards wrote:
>
> That's hilarious.
>
> The Linux developers are _constantly_ changing APIs in ways that break
> existing device driver code. There are repeatedly wholesale
> re-designs of some APIs that happen between minor versions of a
> supposedly "stable" kernel.
>
> We have to touch our NetBSD and FreeBSD drivers maybe once every 3-4
> years. Often our Linux drivers have to be updated every 3-4 _months_
> to keep up with changes in the kernel that break things.
>
> I suppose one could try to claim that people who ship Linux drivers
> for their hardware aren't "users" of the kernel, and therefore our
> dealing with such breakage isn't a "user experience".
>

Contribute your drivers upstream. When the devs change an API, they'll
update your code for you.


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