[rescue] SGI Indigo2 & IRIX 6.5

Phil Stracchino alaric at metrocast.net
Mon Dec 1 19:04:03 CST 2008

Jonathan C. Patschke wrote:
> Printing systems were just an example.  Go through the package list for
> most any distribution and look at all the competing packages.  Software
> that does exactly the same thing, only differently: printing systems,
> MTAs, web servers, database servers, desktop environments, etc.  Any one
> of them is supported well by part of other packages included with the rest
> of the system and mostly ignored by the rest.
> At least when Microsoft does this, they tend to support everything equally
> poorly (the many different database-access APIs come to mind).

Whereas most of the open-source MTAs, for example, work equally *well*.
 I think I prefer the latter approach.  :)

> Linux distributions, on the other hand, tend to be just that: a bunch of
> programs distributed on the same medium with little care in shaping the
> entirety of the system into a single product.

I think this is because Linux originated as a hackish OS assembled with
the assumption that if you knew how to get a Linux box up and running,
you had at least the minimal clue necessary to have decided which
various alternatives you had chosen to install, PROBABLy had personal
preferences over which ones you wanted to use (grub vs. lilo or loadlin,
qmail vs. Postfix or exim, and BIND vs. djbdns or tinydns, to name but
three examples), and therefore knew what documentation to look up when
you needed to do something.

My impression is that a lot of work has gone into making packaged "boot
and use" consumer-oriented distributions like Ubuntu a bit more coherent
and better integrated.  But I haven't played with such in depth, so my
impression could easily be wrong.

>> but diluted your message by bashing Linux for the cryptic component
>> names often adopted by Red Hat (the Microsoft of open source) and GNOME,
> You wondered what one would ever use online help for.

Uh, no; if someone did, it wasn't me.

But I do entirely agree with you about man vs. info for help files.
IMHO, the entire point of help files is defeated by using a help file
browser so cryptic to non-EMACS users that in order to read the help
file to tell you how to use the help file browser, you must first figure
out how to use the help file browser so that you can read the help file
on the help file browser so that you can figure out how to use the help
file browser to read the help file on the help file browser so that you
can figure out how to use the help file browser.....

It's my personal theory that Richard Stallman developed info  in order
to force even the people who don't use EMACS to learn EMACS' deranged
command syntax anyway.  (MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!)

Fortunately, I have discovered alternate info browsers that make info
documentation, if not *pleasant* to use, then at least more or less usable.

  Phil Stracchino, CDK#2     DoD#299792458     ICBM: 43.5607, -71.355
  alaric at caerllewys.net   alaric at metrocast.net   phil at co.ordinate.org
         Renaissance Man, Unix ronin, Perl hacker, Free Stater
                 It's not the years, it's the mileage.

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