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osOpinion: Standards are a good thing. Honest!

Sep 01, 2000, 06:44 (9 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Monty Manley)


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[ Thanks to Kelly McNeill for this link. ]

"My last essay (The Gnome Ascendant) generated quite a bit of comment both in e-mail and elsewhere around the web. I was unsurprised to find that many people objected to positing GNOME as a standard for Unix desktops; indeed, some respondents decried any attempt to "standardize" Linux at all."

"These people are representative of the geeks who tend to flock to Linux: programmers, admins, and alternative-OS experimenters. A random sampling of developer screenshots shows a polyglot mishmash of window managers, desktops, and themes. To most folks like this, standard is a dirty word. They tend to view Linux as a geek playground in which there are no hard-and-fast rules."

"Well, this is all well and good for the minority of users, but for most people (including most programmers) standards are an essential part of making the computing experience worthwhile. Unless a computer system adheres to at least a basic set of usability rules, its value to users is diminished. Unix has traditionally been a hostile place in terms of standardization -- there is no tool or program in Unix that does not have at least one alternate (and different) implementation. Command shells, MTAs, MUAs, window managers, widget toolkits, file managers, and the list goes on ad infinitum. It's as if Unix folks are pathologically unable to decide how they want to do things."

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