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Re: Rep:Re: Permission to submit HOWTO

Gary Preckshot wrote:

> didn't get the way it is without someone being
> dissatisfied with vi. Why manually search a tag
> list when your editor can give you the valid tags
> at any point? Why type tags, when your editor can
> do it for you? Why be proud of doing something a
> bunch of diodes can do? Thinking is what they
> can't do, but you can.

This is just more childish insults.  Now, apparently, I'm a stupid
robot.  *You*, of course, are thinking but I'm just brainlessly
following the rut.

On the contrary, Gary, I think you lack insight into the operating
system this project serves.  Linux is a very well constructed system
which will run itself once installed, but which also offers incredibly
fine grained control, providing high-precision tools for the purpose.  I
can go with the default distribution set-up (and in many areas I do), I
can tweak just here and there or I can completely rewrite things.  I
have that *choice*.

There's a reason why the basic *nix interface has changed little over 3
decades: it works - efficiently and well.  Many of the tools are
basically unchanged (though much enhanced) because they are as precise
and fast as they ever were.  Much has been added on top of that and most
of it is good - but the old tools are still there and still used and
that is as it should be.  Choice has expanded with no loss of power.

The same philosophy applies to the range of apps available for Linux.
Sometimes I browse the web with w3m or Lynx, sometimes with Netscape -
it depends upon the task.

Vim is one of those high precision tools.  I use it because I'm a
touch-typist who finds the mouse a hindrance except for explicitly
GUI tasks - there's almost nothing I can't do faster in Vim than in a
GUI word-processor.  Vim does exactly what I tell it to in precisely the
way I want it to - no unexpected and uncontrollable mannerisms that I
have to simply work around ( as exist in every GUI WP I ever used ).  As
for the toil of writing out tags - I do 90 wpm, by the time I've thought
of a tag it's written.

In addition, Vim/Vi is a standard across *nixes and can be used as the
editor for a huge range of *nix apps.  I write my mail and news in Vim
and do almost all my text work in it - that standardisation saves me
having to relearn old tasks in new (as in unfamiliar to me) editors.  My
work machine currently runs Gnome and Enlightenment - but when I
right-click on a text file and select Edit (or, more likely, use the
cursor keys to select the file and hit Enter) it runs Vim.

Where I do run up against Vim's limitations, I simply rope in the many
modular text tools available on the command line - and from Vi macros.
This is the real power of the traditional *nix interface:  because the
tools all take text input, give text output and offer precise control
through command line parameters (just another form of text), they form
one huge, modular, endlessly-reconfigurable API.  The Unix
Text-interface API (not a term I've ever seen used but it's there).  Any
new tool written in this style is instantly part of the API, offering
its functionality to all the other tools and able to use the power of
all those other tools.

In practice, this means I can add in the feature-set of "more powerful"
word processors but have complete choice of and control over each
feature.  For example, I can select my choice of spell-checker, having
previously compiled it to my specs.  As another example, I do a fair bit
of C coding in Vim and I have an IDE as powerful as any commercial one.

Now, that's the way *I* work.  It makes *me* more efficient.  I don't
pretend that it would work for everyone or that those who work
differently are stupid or ill-informed.

> Because of a whole lot of folks grimly attached to
> old ways of doing things, progress depends on
> iconoclasts who aren't afraid of saying the
> shibboleth.

Of course, you are the iconoclast, the rest of us are "rugged
individualists", the quotes so laden with irony as to deny any possible
positive interpretation of the term.  Is there any limit to your ego?

> I'll say it here: refusing to use more capable tools is holding you back. 

I've already made the case that the "old" tools are perfectly capable.
But that's beside the point - and I certainly don't want to discourage
people from using "new" tools.

It's not important which tools people use - what is important is that
there is good information, a clear roadmap/guide to the sgml/DocBook
tool set that helps people make use of it in whatever style suits their
M.O. best.  Where you have argued for that, I've agreed with a fair bit
of what you said.

But you can never say it without simultaneously insulting and putting
down those with different approaches.  You don't seem to feel right
unless you've "proved" someone else wrong.  It's very destructive and
undermines the genuine contributions you have made (even if they don't,
in reality, match your inflated opinion of them).

Personally, it's made this list unusable for me.  I'm going to
unsubscribe, stick to the purely informative lists and get on with my
projects in an atmosphere where I'm not being constantly belittled and
insulted by someone who constantly portrays my efforts to contribute as
a hindrance (at best!).


It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that
his head smells.

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