Subject: Re: User-facing applications
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: 28 Mar 2002 17:40:31 +0900

>>>>> "Lynn" == Lynn Winebarger <> writes:

    Lynn> BTW, I wasn't being deprecatory in my earlier message when I
    Lynn> said the typical user views a computer as a magic box.

No, of course not.  But you're kinda missing the point.  It's not your
words that matter, it's the more or less willful misunderstanding of
them by "magic box" users.  Here's what ESR says:

and here's what Eli Zaretskii had to say about _that_ (on comp.emacs,
<>, in full):

    Eli> IMHO, it'd be a sad day when people who answer questions in
    Eli> this fine forum will follow the ``standards'' of behavior
    Eli> preached by this document.  Its implied assumption that
    Eli> hackers cannot talk like civilized human beings, and
    Eli> shouldn't be asked to, is especially disturbing.

Eli is (a) a Priest of Emacs, and (b) no wilting violet when it comes
to telling people he thinks they're being useless or obtuse.  If he
responds that way to something I consider a pretty sane collection of
advice, it's no surprise that ordinary "but I don't _want_ to know how
it works" users take as insults comments that we consider to be
"obvious statements of fact".

In the context of comp.emacs, "talking like civilized human beings,"
despite personally feeling this has nothing to do with civilization,
is pure noblesse oblige.  But for many FSBs, it's an important part of

Does this have something to do with the (stipulated) suckiness of OSS
GUIs?  I dunno ... but I find it plausible.

Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
              Don't ask how you can "do" free software business;
              ask what your business can "do for" free software.