Re: [As-users] where is database 'Layer' setting documented?

Andrew Sullivan (
Fri, 6 May 2005 11:23:02 -0400

On Fri, May 06, 2005 at 02:07:13PM +0200, wrote:
> a) well your mystery surprise document has been on wao since 8 months, read
> eight. so if you don't check don't blame others for
> your own lazyness. 

This isn't laziness.  The totally bog-standard, absolutely normal way
to solve a problem on any UNIX is the man page.  Given the argument
for changing the old ~/G/L/A/ layout to ~/.afterstep (i.e. that it's
more usual), I can't understand an argument that a web page, HTML
document, or anything else should be the first thing I should have
looked at.  But. . .

> c) man ASDatabaseEntry gives you the
> same info in a man page format. (man pages have been divided

. . . this is excellent news, and I thank you for it.  It is indeed
helpfully complete.  May I suggest, however, that you put a SEE ALSO
section into the main afterstep man page?  There's no way, from
looking at the output of "man afterstep", to tell that I should look
at another man page (or even a web page -- heck, just "Do
afterstepdoc" in the man page would have helped.).  The 1.8.x man
page has this, for instance:

       X(1), Animate(1), Audio(1), Banner(1), Cascade(1),  Clean(1),  Form(1),
       Ident(1),  Pager(1),  Save(1), Script(1), Scroll(1), Tile(1), Wharf(1),
       WinList(1), Zharf(1)

That made it possible for a user to realise, "Hmm, this page doesn't
answer my question.  But maybe one of these other pages will."  It'd
have been a really big help to me, and might stave off future rants
from others. 

> Sasha decided in the beta days to drop compatibility somehow, i don't
> remember you ranting then... 

What would have made me rant?  Remember, I stopped following the lead
end of the development curve ages ago, precisely because I was
spending my time on other things (like making the .org registry
work).  I don't have time to spend following the front end of
development systems that aren't my main line of work: I'm too busy
keeping up my end of the log in my little segment of the free
software world (PostgreSQL) to help in every other project.  I use
Debian; they put the 2.x code into the testing distribution, and
poof! my desktop broke.  Other users have no doubt (and in future
will again no doubt) been similarly surprised.  What did they do? 
Come here?  Go away?  Just give up on AS?  You don't know, because in
free software, there isn't any way to know.  

The lesson here is that even very motivated users (like me) will be
sometimes surprised by breaking compatibility; and if you don't make
it really easy for them, they'll become frustrated and annoyed by the
surprises.  This is _especially_ true in cases like a window manager,
where most of the users mostly don't want to spend a lot of time
fooling with it, exactly because they depend on it to "just work". 

Making this sort of incompatibility change without an incredibly
strong reason is therefore contemptuous of the users -- users that,
in a project like this, you're unlikely to know you had until they
show up grumbling.  I've been using AS for years, and I like it.  You
don't know about me precisely because I'm satisfied.  You only find
out I'm even out here when I'm unhappy.


Andrew Sullivan  |
A certain description of men are for getting out of debt, yet are
against all taxes for raising money to pay it off.
		--Alexander Hamilton
As-users mailing list