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osOpinion: Standards are a good thing. Honest!

[ 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.”

Complete
Story