[svlug] This mess is surely a conspiracy, my brain hurts and I don't like complexity or live long and prosper

Sanatan Rai sanatan at gmail.com
Thu Jan 1 15:22:30 PST 2015

On 1 January 2015 at 17:43, Ivan Sergio Borgonovo <mail at webthatworks.it>

> Complexity is unavoidable, I'd say invaluable actually.
This isn't about complexity. This is about changing things but not
necessarily making them better. SysV init is well understood. People know
where to look when things go wrong. I don't claim to be an expert on
systemd, but using timestamps that need to be converted to something
human readable in dmesg---now that it seems to be the default log---is

One of my machines sporadically drops the network connexion. This is
easily fixed by a restart of network services. I see no errors in syslog or
dmesg. I'm sure that I can find the problem once I figure out the
log to look into. This used to be easy. Now it isn't. I will eventually
find the
time to figure this out, but my point is that I don't see this approach as
making things better (for me or non-sysadmin users) in any noticeable

One could go into nauseating off topic detail about why a system bus is
a good or a bad thing, or indeed why an object broking architecture is a
good or a bad thing. There are use cases when each of these things works
well and use cases when they're really bad ideas. I don't see how DBus
makes my user experience better. It isn't fast. I'd much rather not have an
extra process whose sole job is to make X desktops/apps easier to write.
If someone wants to use DBus, good for him. I should be able to run my
boxes and have a decent window manager without needing DBus. And no,
I don't regard tiling window managers as progress. The fan boys will
tell you how fast they are, and how clean. And all because they're coded
from scratch in C/Haskell---and so they don't depend on cruft like DBus,
gconf  and their ilk.

There are some investments that requires you to make debts and once
> you're mostly successful you may even forget you've some small debt
> hidden in some corner. sysvinit is actually a reasonably old system debt
> for Linux and systemd is not the first attempt to improve it.
> Worse is better, better is worse and everybody agree we can disagree,
> but someone at the end has to be right, so really worse is better is not
> really true, it is actually false and surely now someone is wrong on the
> internet.

I'm not objecting to change at all. I'm just saying that change that doesn't
necessarily lead to clear and reasonably immediate improvements is a
waste of time. The first tractors had reins instead of a steering wheel
because designers thought that they'd be familiar. However, they sucked.
Soon the steering wheel became standard and I think we'd all agree that
it's superior for piloting motor vehicles (though not horses). So the
is not with the change, but with a change that seems to make many
commonplace tasks difficult, without adding a noticeable benefit.

Did anyone came out with the perfect method of software development in
> an environment that is as rich as complex? [2]
> Do we have the perfect software? No
> Do we have a better software than say 5 years ago? It seems so.
> Do we have to be concerned? It just depend on how serious you are about
> this particular problem, because there are many others.
> If you've the skills do something, if you don't have the skills get
> them, if neither invest your time better.
> As a side note unix command line utilities don't really shine for a
> coherent powerful interface, that was secretly meant to make them really
> decoupled with anything with any random interface, IO redirection was
> there just to mislead you.

Perhaps. However, do you have an alternative? Eg, PowerShell's approach is
different, in the sense that it purports to be consistent. Unfortunately,
they decided on the `everything is an object' model instead of 'everything
is a (text) line', and that's a lot more annoying. So

wc -l CL*.log


get-content CL*.log | measure-object -line

[I'm actually not sure if the above just works, but it shouldn't be far
It's very consistent, and you can use all the `power of .NET', but it sucks.

 |Working with JS is much nicer now than it was 10 years ago, and you've a

That's a bit like saying that you can get used to banging your head against
the wall and even like it. ;-)

lot of tools. Still JS compared to python is a PITA and people are
> writing "compilers" as CoffeScript to avoid to directly deal with JS.
> But JS is in all browsers and in all mobile devices (and Dart isn't yet)
> and it will take time to replace it with something better... or with a
> better JS.
> I think very few people are writing Java applets that run in the
> browser, Flash is unfortunately still alive but Adobe and Apple sent a
> signal it may disappear (like COBOL), javascript is still among us and
> strong. The irony.

Ie  bad choices made now will be with us 10 years from on. All the more
reason to choose carefully.

> Should we talk about how the story on client and server went? or the one
> about process/threads/virtualization/containers?
> What about RISC/CISC/CPU/GPU?

Go on, I'd be interested!

Sanatan Rai
3, Admirals Court,
30, Horselydown Lane,
London, SE1 2LJ.
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