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Old 03-15-2014, 02:18 PM   #91
dederon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tronayne View Post
GNU has done a wonderful job of building look- work-alike software emulating Unix utilities (GNU is GNU's Not Unix); free and open source, well done, thank you. A little bloated here and there, over time a bunch of "extensions," some good, some not, some questionable but so what? It works.
i mostly agree on what you say, except on this. gnu is *horribly* bloated. the creators of the gnu userland tools where obviously not aware of the unix philosophy.

two examples:
1st, echo.c on various platforms: https://gist.github.com/dchest/1091803

and 2nd, my favourite, cat: https://gist.github.com/pete/665971

judge for yourself. cat is an interesting example, as rob pike was complaining about feature creep and bloat in 1983(!): http://harmful.cat-v.org/cat-v/. a must read for everyone interested in unix. the whole cat-v.org site is a treasure chest.

whenever i search for software to solve a problem, and i have the choice between a gnu implementation and something else - guess what i use.

regards
 
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Old 03-15-2014, 02:43 PM   #92
enorbet
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Greetings and thank you for an interesting post, Tronayne. It was a welcome reminder even if I already knew all of that except your personal experiences. I still love the History and Evolution of computing in general and I'm just terribly envious of anyone who got to work on "Big Iron", even though, as you point out, much of what passed for Big Iron is now dwarfed by common desktops.

Actually "dwarfed" may not tell the whole story in that computing has changed so radically to suit Desktop use that what was entirely superfluous years ago(eg: CoProcessor and dedicated graphics ram) is now not only commonplace but has become hugely powerful and a major factor. Some of that reflected back to Big Iron ie: GPU computing, as in the usage of clustered PS3 Gaming Consoles to create a Super Computer capable of doing the math of gravity waves near Black Holes. Who would have guessed that possible even 10 years ago?

I think this is particularly interesting since it was only 11-12 years ago that I saw a post where someone "did the math" on a forum like this asserting that 1MB video ram was all anyone needed since roughly 800KB would render 1024x768. Another 20 years earlier and we have Billy Boy saying nobody needs more than 1MB of System Ram. I recently bought a fairly cheap (~$80US) video card that sports 1GB DDR5 VRAM. To quote you - Are you kidding me Indeed ?!?!! But there's a larger point here and that is that different people have different needs and even those change with time, job, hobbies, and new technologies. Also, despite this abundance of resources, I too think Small is Beautiful and see no reason to be wasteful. Cue Bloat, an extremely imprecise and abused term..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia-Software Bloat
Software bloat is a process whereby successive versions of a computer program become perceptibly slower, use more memory/diskspace or processing power, or have higher hardware requirements than the previous version whilst making only dubious user-perceptible improvements. The term is not applied consistently; it is often used as a pejorative by end users to describe undesired user interface changes even if those changes had little or no effect on the hardware requirements. In long-lived software, perceived bloat can occur from the software servicing a large, diverse marketplace with many differing requirements. Most end users will feel they only need some limited subset of the available functions and will regard the others as unnecessary bloat, even if people with different requirements do use them.
Like you, and perhaps thousands of others, I, too, switched to Xfce when KDE 4 came out. Let me amend that to when Slackware finally bent to the pressure, and even by then it was still pretty broken and yes, wasteful. Worse, I, like you, couldn't see for what reason all this indexing was important or useful not only to me, but anyone.

My first home PC was a Tandy 8088 and it had a WD 20MB hdd on an ISA card with DOS 5 on it (and DOS 3 in ROM). I thought I was very familiar with what took up maybe half that space, since I literally ran every .com, .exe, and .bat to see what it did. I used it for over a year before I got PCTools PCShell and I was a bit floored when I saw the full structure and contents. After I installed OS/2 2.1 just how complex and large it could get began to sink in... or so I thought. I now have movie files of which one would fill almost 100 of those hdds. This box has 6TB of hdd space or roughly 315,000 of those drives. Staggering, eh?

This is why indexing has become important - sheer amount of data.... that and the fact that some people are active in more than one kind of work or hobby. For a rather long time Linux has had multiple virtual desktops with 4 commonly the default. Many people just used these as a sort of window storage since with hotkeys it's very fast to switch between them but this is much like using a riding mower on a 20 x 20 lawn, not really realizing full potential. KDE Activities for example can setup workspaces that are optimized for different kinds of work or play. One could have one for job related, another for home management, another for photo and video editing, another for music creation and editing, and another say for gaming, all indexed separately and specifically to optimize workflow in each case. It's pretty cool.

This is but one example, one more might be KRunner. Note that much of KRunner can be used without ever one's hands leaving the keyboard - not exactly pointy-clicky, Windowsy, is it?. There are many depending on for what and how you use a computer. I don't use anywhere close to all that KDE can do, so those things I tend to turn off or assign to a specific activity. However to assert these are useless to anybody is unimaginative at best. If we were all forced to run everything KDE offers then I might agree that the term "bloat" could be applied honestly. Fact is, we aren't and it isn't.
 
Old 03-15-2014, 02:52 PM   #93
tronayne
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@dederon:

Ah, I didn't want to go quite so far as horrible; I've been getting spoiled by large RAM and large disks and large processors and have kind of taken an attitude of ignore what you can and replace with something else that's more efficient if needed.

Shame on me.

I've gone off to http://heirloom.sourceforge.net/index.html and downloaded pretty much all the software available there, all pretty much Bell Labs originals (with a teeny bit of editing here and there. More than a few live in /usr/local for now and then fiddling. If nothing else, it's instructive to see what well-written code looks like.

One of them, ex (as mentioned in the previous pose) I've used on Slackware (instead of GNU or vim) for editing and for vi. Works just fine. Even built the whole shebang on a spare box just for shits and grins (worked, too).

I noticed one (or perhaps more) of the links you provided talked about Plan 9. Dennis, bless him, coming up with something radically different and completely fascinating. Still have an old Dell X86 box with Plan 9 on it -- now that was an interesting exercise! But, it works (though I don't really know exactly what to do with it) and it's kind of fun to play with now and again. If the capacitors haven't dried up, I may retrieve that box and fire it up next trip to Detroit just to see what's what.

Thanks for the reminder!

Last edited by tronayne; 03-15-2014 at 02:54 PM.
 
Old 03-15-2014, 03:26 PM   #94
astrogeek
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dederon View Post
judge for yourself. cat is an interesting example, as rob pike was complaining about feature creep and bloat in 1983(!): http://harmful.cat-v.org/cat-v/. a must read for everyone interested in unix. the whole cat-v.org site is a treasure chest.

whenever i search for software to solve a problem, and i have the choice between a gnu implementation and something else - guess what i use.

regards
Ahhh... thanks! Made my day! Just re-read the linked PDF in that page, here.

I have surely read this before but it was no longer complete in my diminishing memory cache!

How refreshing it was to start my afternoon by reading such a clear exposition of a simple and fundamental concept so well expressed, and summarized...

Quote:
One thing that UNIX does not need is more features. It is successful in part because it has a small
number of good ideas that work well together. Merely adding features does not make it easier for users to
do things it just makes the manual thicker. The right solution in the right place is always more effective
than haphazard hacking.
I think I'll have another cup of tea now, and savor this timeless, but mostly lost wisdom...

Last edited by astrogeek; 03-15-2014 at 03:43 PM.
 
Old 03-15-2014, 03:30 PM   #95
eloi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moisespedro View Post
From what I've seen from my friends and my family most people are like my grandma. They don't know much about computers and it is particularly hard for them to learn even if they want to. My grandma is trying but whenever she has a problem with her PC she struggles to explain what is happening, it is too confusing for her. Might be because of her age (arpund 70). Anyways, most people don't seen to care much about what is going on their machines (init systems, registers, logs, graphical sytem) and/or don't understand. They see a PC as a tool and they use it like that. Asking for any of these people to edit scripts, mount their stuff manually, etc would sound like an alien thing to do.

You gave me a hand with your grandmother example. It's difficult to explain
myself without confuse people focused in the technical aspect.

In my rant I piked not co-related but related examples. Even some not about
software. Because the future of machines is not determined by machines but by
people decisions, decisions more based on marketing than in computers or
software engineering.

Some times (mathematicians knows this well) the solution and/or cause of a
problem are not *in* the problem. In that cases you must jump levels of
abstraction to attack the problem from several points of view. If not you can
dead looping in one logical circuit. Like happens to this poor penguin:

http://roquesor.com/comic-8.php

In your case a practical example of "jumping" would be first to ask yourself if
your grandmother and friends really *need* a personal computer. Focusing the
issue from this new sight you see that the problem is marketing.
Multinationals have sold us the PC like one more electrical appliance.

Once you understand that you see that the computer is a tool (at least for me)
but a complex tool that ask you more care than just pluggin it to 220v.

Last edited by eloi; 03-15-2014 at 03:52 PM.
 
Old 03-15-2014, 07:16 PM   #96
moisespedro
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She might not need it (I'd say that 90% of her time on the PC is to watch Netflix) but she definitely did want it. She is also taking computer lessons, very basic and windows-based ones but still. She can user her PC to watch movies, listen to music, chat (she has Facebook and Skype). And I don't think she needs to care what system she is using, what hardware, etc or really try to understand what is going on. She just sits there and use it.

And most of what people around me do can be easily done on smartphones/tablets. They don't really need a desktop PC nor a notebook. But that doesn't change anything, they still will use their mobile devices as tools and not really care about what goes on under the hood.
 
Old 03-15-2014, 10:23 PM   #97
hitest
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I really enjoy reading the stories about Slackers helping their relatives. For a few years I spent a bit of time on the phone helping my Dad with his Win 7 laptop. Thankfully he recently bought an imac. I'm spending a lot less time on the phone these days.
 
Old 03-16-2014, 03:46 AM   #98
eloi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moisespedro View Post
And most of what people around me do can be easily done on smartphones/tablets.
Well I will give your phone to my web server clients to you explain to them how to configure SMTP to send email from their smart phones.
 
Old 03-16-2014, 03:49 AM   #99
eloi
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Last month I was ranting about the same in groff mailing list. Eric Raymond is
encouraging a pair of developers to transform groff in some kind of DocBook
(mobile devices are one excuse for doing that, you can read about in the groff
mailing list).

Features are good then the more features the better.

Automate is good then the more we automate the better.

You can replace "Features" or "Automate" with whatever.

KDE is bloated. I use FVWM and you know what?, it's bloated too. And Emacs is
bloated and Vim is bloated and gnu tools are bloated versions of the original
ones. And Linux kernel is mega bloated. And Slackware is bloated too. And
you may think I am being disrespectful with those that developed that software
for free, but wait, human society is bloated, human brain is bloated, all this
fucking world is bloated.

Today <put here what you want> is bloated.

We have a big, big, problem, someone must be disrespectful and say it.

The cure? I don't know, but a good start would be to assume the problem. A
second would be think carefully about what we really need.

Last edited by eloi; 03-16-2014 at 03:53 AM.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 03-16-2014, 08:22 AM   #100
enorbet
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eloi View Post
<some snips>
KDE is bloated. I use FVWM and you know what?, it's bloated too. And Emacs is
bloated and Vim is bloated and gnu tools are bloated versions of the original
ones. And Linux kernel is mega bloated. And Slackware is bloated too. And
you may think I am being disrespectful with those that developed that software
for free, but wait, human society is bloated, human brain is bloated, all this
fucking world is bloated.

Today <put here what you want> is bloated.

The cure? I don't know, but a good start would be to assume the problem. A
second would be think carefully about what we really need.

Yeah! the nerve of those Touch-Tone guys replacing a perfectly good, mechanical rotary dialer! If literally EVERYTHING is bloated then "bloat" as a term, ceases to be a definitive term, and ceases to have any meaning beyond some vaguely negative adjective. Then, even the word "bloat" just adds bloat to language, and we have an infinite progression, like standing between two face-to-face mirrors. Though I suspect some may enjoy that image, in all probability Trekkies prefer "infinite regress" and...SEE!?? Bloat! It's all consuming! Arrrrgghhh!

When you add "I == We" to the mix, meaninglessness simply becomes asymptotic to the point of singularity, where "Bloat=Black Hole" sucking in everything and even the Light of Reason cannot escape.
 
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Old 03-19-2014, 08:11 AM   #101
Fred-1.2.13
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This thread is all over the place..... but I have to add that I have been using Slackware since 3.0 1995 Kernel 1.2.13 (as my username proudly indicates).

It's funny just the other day I stumbled across my first purchased CD Set, Slackware 3.3! Prior to that it was the floppy disk shuffle and even with the CD Set I still had to use "Boot" and "Root" floppies, which, funny enough, I stumbled across those floppies at work yesterday!

(Punk kids today don't even know what Boot and Root floppies are, or for that matter what a floppy disk is!)

Oh and I am old (52) been using Xfce for years and I still have a working rotary phone in my house! And not the new fangled kind with the clear plastic finger dial, mine is made from proper steel! ;-)
 
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Old 03-19-2014, 08:27 AM   #102
WiseDraco
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ook View Post
I cannot thank you enough! That has been making me nutso for a very long time!!!!

I once bought a Packard Bell PC/XT. Had an Nec v20 drop in replacement for the 8086 that ran at 3.2 MHz, and 1MB ram. Fastest computer I ever had up until then, and what on earth do you do with 1MB ram? That is more memory then I knew what to do with....
good, old times. now programmists is more "talented" on wasting RAM, and easy create a tetris, who want 2 Tb RAM to just run....
 
Old 03-19-2014, 08:31 AM   #103
Ook
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred-1.2.13 View Post
This thread is all over the place..... but I have to add that I have been using Slackware since 3.0 1995 Kernel 1.2.13 (as my username proudly indicates).

It's funny just the other day I stumbled across my first purchased CD Set, Slackware 3.3! Prior to that it was the floppy disk shuffle and even with the CD Set I still had to use "Boot" and "Root" floppies, which, funny enough, I stumbled across those floppies at work yesterday!

(Punk kids today don't even know what Boot and Root floppies are, or for that matter what a floppy disk is!)

Oh and I am old (52) been using Xfce for years and I still have a working rotary phone in my house! And not the new fangled kind with the clear plastic finger dial, mine is made from proper steel! ;-)
I didn't discover linux until the 2.6 kernel was fairly mature. What was it like back then?
 
Old 03-19-2014, 09:05 AM   #104
Fred-1.2.13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ook View Post
I didn't discover linux until the 2.6 kernel was fairly mature. What was it like back then?
It was more challenging back then, and more fun! Now I just boot off the CD or DVD and in 15 minutes it's up and everything just works.

No more kernel recompiles to get things working. Back then on my old 486 it would take hours and hours to recompile the kernel only to have it blow up at the end because of a missing library or something else I did wrong. I would start a recompile before I went to bed and if I was lucky it would be done in the morning without errors.

And of course the stack of floppies... feeding them in one at a time only to have disk 7 have a read error with no way to make another since I just fried my DOS/Windows partition. (I quickly learned to make doubles of every disk)

Also no Internet forums (or even access) to ask questions... just my well worn copy of "The Linux Bible" that I still have to this day.

Also back then when you mentioned "Linux" NOBODY knew what the hell you were talking about! Good times!

Last edited by Fred-1.2.13; 03-19-2014 at 09:15 AM.
 
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Old 03-19-2014, 09:31 AM   #105
Ook
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred-1.2.13 View Post
And of course the stack of floppies... feeding them in one at a time only to have disk 7 have a read error with no way to make another since I just fried my DOS/Windows partition. (I quickly learned to make doubles of every disk)
....
Yeah...am I the only one here with about a thousand floppies packed away in boxes? Found my old Word Perfect 6 set - 20+ floppies. And how about some Windows 3.11 install disks, only 6 to get Windows up and running? Oh, hey my DOS 2.11 5 1/4 install set! Yeah....I burned the good ones to .img files and threw out about 1000 floppies. Now I'm looking at a couple boxes of cassette tapes and thinking of doing the same.
 
  


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