"shouted down", "shot down", apologies

John Wiersba John.Wiersba@medstat.com
Thu Jun 28 09:03:00 GMT 2001


Very well said.  I believe you're right -- there is a large cygwin
contingent which are not cygwin developers, but simply cygwin users.  In
fact I *am* a developer, as I suspect many/most cygwin users are.  But, I'm
not a *cygwin* developer, using cygwin to port anything to Windows.  I'm
using cygwin because the company I work for puts a Windows box on my
desktop.  I coined the phrase, "Cygwin...don't leave Unix without it" a
while back -- I truly feel that cygwin is a lifesaver for many of us (a BIG
thanks to all the cygwin developers and porters!).  

-- John Wiersba

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Vince Rice [ mailto:vrice@solidrocksystems.com ]
> Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2001 3:32 AM
> To: cygwin@cygwin.com
> Subject: RE: "shouted down", "shot down", apologies
> Chris,
> Somewhere in this thread you expressed some 
> wonder/frustration at why the
> gcc/gdb projects don't generate the kind of "newbie" requests 
> Cygwin (I just
> tried to find it and it's nowhere to be found; I tend to lose 
> things at this
> time of night).  I have seen this expressed in your messages 
> countless times
> over the three years I've been lurking here.  And I've always 
> wondered at
> your wonder <g>.
> GCC and gdb are tools for developers; you don't use them unless you're
> developing something.  However, Cygwin is a tool for users; 
> it's just as
> easy (easier IMHBAO) to *use* the Cygwin tools (defined as 
> the GNU tools,
> not gcc/etc.) as it is to develop on Cygwin.  One doesn't have to be a
> developer to use Unix.  One can be a raw user who has been 
> thrust into a
> Unix environment for one of a thousand reasons, or a college 
> student (or
> mid-life crisis male who I bear absolutely no resemblance to) 
> who wants to
> learn how to *use* Unix, not how to *develop* in Unix.  Your 
> outlook of
> Cygwin is the ability to develop/port Unix programs to 
> Windows.  That is
> Cygwin's reason for existence, from your (and Redhat's) and 
> much of the
> list's perspective.  However, I believe many (most?) users of 
> Cygwin could
> not care less about that.  Their view of Cygwin is the 
> ability to *run* Unix
> in Windows.
> As such, we have no skills to debug.  Our approach to this 
> mailing list is
> the same as to a Word newsgroup or a game newsgroup or 
> whatever.  We want to
> know how to *use* the product, and when something doesn't 
> work we come ask
> questions.  We don't always RTM, but that's what users do (or 
> don't do as
> the case may be).  We have no desire to use the source, we 
> have no ability
> to use the source, and many of us wouldn't know source if it 
> hit them in the
> head (which with you around is a distinct possibility <bg>).
> The fact that Cygwin allows developers to port Unix programs 
> to Windows is
> immaterial.  My introduction to Cygwin was from looking for 
> Unix utilities
> to run on Windows.  I have stuck around for three years 
> because the tools
> continue to get better and better, and many times, even 
> though I run from
> 4NT instead of bash, I can barely tell the difference between 
> a Windows
> prompt and a Unix prompt, because I can do durn near anything 
> I can with
> Cygwin on my PC that I can do on my clients' AIX boxes.
> However, because I'm in the computer business, because I've 
> written code in
> my distant past (but not C/C++), I lurk rather than ask 
> questions, partly
> because of the attitude around here towards those who want to 
> know how to
> *use* the product and partly because I believe in your 
> philosophy of fishing
> for myself, and if I don't have time to get the pole I try not to make
> someone else do it either.
> However, although I've practiced that here, I'm not 
> completely convinced
> that that is always a good thing.  Community building 
> involves interaction.
> Sometimes the way to get started is by asking questions.  If 
> someone asks me
> a question that will take me five minutes to answer but would 
> take them two
> minutes to look up themselves, then that's a waste of my time 
> and I'll tell
> them so.  But if someone asks me a question that will take 
> them three hours
> to figure out themselves when I can answer it in thirty 
> seconds, I think
> it's a little extreme to tell them to "use the source" when I 
> can save them
> three hours by just answering the question.   Whether they 
> can figure it out
> for themselves is beside the point:  I'm helping them be more 
> productive,
> just as someone helped me be more productive when I started out.
> I didn't really mean to get into that.  My real point was to 
> address your
> original question -- Cygwin attracts at least as many users 
> as developers (I
> suspect far more), so they ask user questions, not developer 
> ones, and they
> think like users (hey Joe, how do I change the font on a 
> footnote?), not
> developers (hey Joe, where's the manual for that graphics 
> card, I want to
> re-write the device driver).
> Vince
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