Why text=binary mounts

Larry Hall (RFK Partners Inc) lhall@rfk.com
Fri Jan 9 13:40:00 GMT 1998


At 07:15 PM 1/8/98 -0600, Gary R. Van Sickle wrote:
>Let me address one sure-to-come-up complaint right now: the notion that it 
>would be too much work to 'fix' all the existing code.  How much time and 
>effort is wasted on 'working around' the current situation?  Certainly more 
>time than it would take to search-and-replace "w" with "wt", etc.

OK, you've come up with yet ANOTHER solution to this problem.  You wouldn't
be the first or probably the last.  So what are YOU going to do about it?  
You raise the issue that the "fix" is generally "dismissed" as a result of 
being too much "work".  From my perspective, the people with this view 
probably agree with the notion that the "fix" must occur but they have found 
work-arounds for their particular environments which are suitable and don't 
require much personal time investment.  Those people who have not and need 
something else complain loudly but seem just as unwilling to take on the 
herculean task.  For the moment, this is still largely a GNU-cenric project 
in spirit, without a large, committed development team behind it.  That said,
let's all acknowledge that while the users of this software may agree in 
general that a particular course of action may be beneficial, unless people 
VOLUNTEER to undertake the task, changes are NOT going to happen quickly.  I
personally don't feel like I've invested any large amount of time to work-
around my text/binary issues, although I don't have many.  Certainly it 
doesn't add up to anywhere near the time investment that would be necessary 
for me to go into even some of the source of these tools and make changes to
alleviate the difficulties.  Certainly one could argue that collectively all
users have spent some significant time working out these issues for themselves
and that maybe if that time was spent, collectively and in an organized 
fashion, fixing the tools, we'd all benefit.  However, as I said, unless 
someone organizes a volunteer effort, things aren't going to change quickly. 
So, if someone wants to pick up and organize that effort, great.  MAYBE I'd
even be willing to help.  However, I'm not certain that having all sorts 
of individuals posting to this list with general algorithms for fixing the
problem is useful, unless the one who posts actually might entertain the 
thought of making the changes, organizing a group to do so, or maybe even
somehow sponsoring Cygnus to do it for them.  I'm not trying to downplay the
issue here and I certainly don't want to discourage people from discussing
issues and solutions.  But this particular issue comes up frequently and 
always ends up being debated in a vacuum.  Admonishing others on this list or
the list in general for not fixing problems one finds intolerable in the 
current software is unfair.  Its not productive.  Perhaps we can find a 
different approach in regard to dealing with the text/binary issue and 
others like it?  I can see some overall benefit from this.


Larry Hall                              lhall@rfk.com
RFK Partners, Inc.                      (781) 239-1053
8 Grove Street                          (781) 239-1655 - FAX
Wellesley, MA  02181                             
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