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Old 12-09-2012, 10:52 AM   #1
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The horror! The horror!

Those who read the distro reviews my have noticed that I write some of them. Last Friday I was testing ZenevOS. The live session looked much like last time, so I started to install it on my guest partition. At one stage, things seem to have stuck: wondering if it had registered my click, I clicked on "proceed" again. I wouldn't have thought that clicks would be stored, but that second click was taken as consent to the next page: disk configuration. Who'd have thought that the default action would be "use the whole disk"? Who'd have thought that it would reformat the disk without asking for confirmation? By the time I realised what was happening, the deed was done. I have just spent 2 days reinstalling OS and programs, restoring /home from backups, reconfiguring everything. The job is not yet finished.

Is there a moral? Perhaps, "more haste, less speed". Perhaps, "always keep your backups up-to-date". Really, I just felt the need to vent. I feel better now. Almost.
Old 12-09-2012, 11:03 AM   #2
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Point and click isn't always your friend. In slackware you have partition things yourself, and usually this is done with fdisk or cfdisk which have confirmation screens. I know in cfdisk (which I use) you have to type 'yes'.
Old 12-09-2012, 01:37 PM   #3
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Wow. Great example of how not to do a user interface. Sounds like two problems:

1) Why should the OS installer reformat your disk? That violates the Principle of Least Astonishment. It should expect you to give it a free partition. If you don't have one it should fail and tell you what you need to do. And BTW it should provide a tool for clearing a partition or reformatting your disk if that's what you want to do. This idea that it has to do everything in one go is just wrong. If you're too stupid to do 2 or 3 steps to install an OS, then you probably should not be using a computer. Confirmation dialogs are the mark of bad code.

2) I've never seen a guideline on when to flush the keyboard/mouse buffer. Is there one? Seems obvious to do it if you are changing the whole page, but there's a whole continuum of other cases. Seems like this is done inconsistently. When I do 'yum update' and it starts downloading 600MB I like being able to type 'Y-enter' and walk away so it will all be installed when I get back with fresh coffee, but others may disagree.
Old 12-09-2012, 08:58 PM   #4
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"Principle of Least Astonishment."

I like that. I learned a new term today.

I'm the guy who accidentally clicked "Restore" instead of "Backup" on his webhosting service and wiped out two days' posts on his blog (fortunately, they were the usual deathless drivel). Something about clicking while sleepy.
Old 12-10-2012, 07:51 AM   #5
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For a disk wipe, usually there should be at least one confirmatory prompt and accept. So it is 2 most astonishing things. For more on the principle of least astonishment and related practices, read "The art of Unix programming" by Eric S Raymond.


Last edited by AnanthaP; 12-10-2012 at 07:52 AM.
Old 12-10-2012, 09:26 AM   #6
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Coming from the guy who formatted his /home partition in gparted due to a lapse in attention I feel your pain. The installer sounds very borken though -- most I've come across will just error out and do nothing unless you tick a few boxes and click yes a few times.
Old 12-10-2012, 12:04 PM   #7
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The installer is Ubuntu's Ubiquity, which ZevenOS have customised. Making "use the whole disk" the default instead of "use free space" was their idea.

I still haven't finished. The printer has to be re-installed: perhaps this time I may persuade it to run without SELinux having to be turned off before I use it. And there's my one Windows program, where the exe in ~/.wine was luckily preserved in my backups, but which Wine can't find now because it wasn't installed: I have to click on the program in Nautilus and choose the "open with Wine option".


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