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simpler file layout
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marksouth2000

Joined: 05 Apr 2006
Posts: 620

PostPosted: Tue 19 Dec 2006, 08:04    Post subject:  

lickthefrog2 wrote:
...I'm sure the debate is valuable....

The value of the debate is what most of the debate is about.

For example, I absolutely disagree with you. I think the debate is pointless.

Now I'll tell you why I think it's pointless. The definition of a file hierarchy is not a problem with a unique solution. So criticising it by saying "that's not what I would have done!" is pointless, as is debating the relative merits of slightly different schemes, since we already have one scheme in widespread use that works perfectly adequately.

If there were some glaring deficiency of the FHS that was preventing you from delivering some worldshaking software, then we'd all be keen to work to fix it. (This scenario has actually happened and been addressed in the past, and is the reason why some parts of the hierarchy were added where and when they were, for example /proc.)

Finally, an obvious point that seems, nonetheless, to have escaped some: most people never need to know anything at all about the Linux FHS. If you're the kind of person that needs to know, then it's the least of your worries. If you don't, then it is exactly none of your worries.

mark "no worries" south
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lickthefrog2


Joined: 22 Nov 2006
Posts: 57

PostPosted: Tue 19 Dec 2006, 12:20    Post subject:  

marksouth2000 wrote:
Finally, an obvious point that seems, nonetheless, to have escaped some: most people never need to know anything at all about the Linux FHS.


Actually, I have read this repeatedly.

This seems to me to be an issue with the technological divide. I work in an impoverished region and there are plenty of people here who can't understand the Windows file system either. Obviously they shouldn't be poking around in it.

But, then, their computers sit there broken, taking up space because of something really stupid and simple for any one of us to fix.

Sure, the file system needs to be complex for software designers, but for a great many users who can't understand it, it's that much harder to rescue still useful hardware. Rich people just go buy a new one. Poor people need Linux.

Again, I'm not supporting people who suggest a need for changing the FS; I'm just saying that if there's a way for the system to teach people how it works, maybe that's useful. I don't even know if that's possible, but, then, I didn't think it was possible to be using Linux to read and write files to my NTFS drive and I can just fine.

lickthefrog2
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marksouth2000

Joined: 05 Apr 2006
Posts: 620

PostPosted: Tue 19 Dec 2006, 13:56    Post subject:  

lickthefrog2 wrote:
This seems to me to be an issue with the technological divide. I work in an impoverished region and there are plenty of people here who can't understand the Windows file system either. Obviously they shouldn't be poking around in it.

I do not understand the Windows file layout at all, but that is only a distraction here, so let us leave it alone.

Quote:
...the file system needs to be complex for software designers,

I doubt that. More likely the original designers made the system just complex enough to be sufficiently rich for their purposes. They were striving for simplicity, after all.

Quote:
...but for a great many users who can't understand it, it's that much harder to rescue still useful hardware. Rich people just go buy a new one. Poor people need Linux.

Here we are in complete agreement. You can find many posts here by me where I suggest people recycle and reuse computers. Check out my post on the ideal Puppy machine on linuxquestions.org. I keep asking for others to consider older and weaker hardware when developing new Puppy versions, and I keep a few old machines and report on the results with them for each new Puppy when possible.

Quote:
I'm just saying that if there's a way for the system to teach people how it works, maybe that's useful.

Also agreed. Your approach contains the seeds of more fruitful activity. I would suggest that the best way to teach people is to start by encouraging them not to fear knowledge or the acquisition of knowledge. Starting out saying "oh that is just too complicated, I will never understand that, it should have been made differently for my benefit" (paraphrase of first post in thread) is not an approach that gets anyone anywhere. The beauty of Linux is that everything is in the open, and nearly everything that one needs to know is on the web somewhere.

TSEIYF Smile

Cheers,
Mark Cool
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Gn2


Joined: 16 Oct 2006
Posts: 936
Location: virtual - Veni vidi, nihil est adpulerit

PostPosted: Tue 19 Dec 2006, 18:05    Post subject:  

Iyaw (TSEIYF) Kikway ?

(Nikaki-astan ci ohota) - Kinihta-akayasimon > Ciitwestamawin pacimasis lmahti.
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marksouth2000

Joined: 05 Apr 2006
Posts: 620

PostPosted: Tue 19 Dec 2006, 18:24    Post subject:  

No, Gn2, it isn't Cree this time Smile

Code:
# export TSEIYF="The Search Engine Is Your Friend"


Cheers,
Mark Cool
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Gn2


Joined: 16 Oct 2006
Posts: 936
Location: virtual - Veni vidi, nihil est adpulerit

PostPosted: Tue 19 Dec 2006, 18:43    Post subject:  

Kiyam.... Ninohte-wapamaw wicih Wink Taniweha anihi >
Quote:
No standard web pages containing all your search terms were
found.

Your search - acronym definitition TSEIYF - did not match any documents.

Suggestions:
Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
Try different keywords.
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swarnick

Joined: 25 Dec 2006
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Tue 02 Jan 2007, 00:37    Post subject: Commercial Linux recognizes this as a problem  

I don't know if this will revive a dead thread. The last post was in Oct 2006 and its Jan 1 2007 today. I DO NOT think this a sterile discussion and that's why I'm chiming in at this late date.

On my day job I work a lot with Commerical Linux Workstations: SUSE, Fedora, Gentoo. One problem sysadmins face on all of those systems is that the default installation of things into /usr/local (/bin, /lib, etc.) becomes (very) unwieldy when you get lots of apps installed.

Most vendors who need there software installed cleanly solve this by using the /opt filesystem and creating their own directory, e.g. /opts/sybase, /opts/CA/harvest, etc. This lets them write scripts to install, deinstall and upgrade their software without getting entangled in what has been installed previously in /usr/local on a particular machine.

For all of the faults of Windows, c:\program files is an excellent idea. and the existence of /opt for installations on Linux seems to prove that many people agree.

Using /opt seems to solve the problem at hand, which is getting your stuff to install in a way that allows you to maintain it. The chances that anyone (ever) will change the primary layout of a Unix/Linux filesystem are vanishingly small. However, you can always add your own mount point and (e.g. /opt) and keep things clean that way. "Embrace and extend" rather than fighting the flow.

No matter what the OS you always need find, which, etc.
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GWJMateo

Joined: 27 Dec 2006
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Tue 02 Jan 2007, 13:07    Post subject:  

I'll jump in on the discussion as well.

The way I see it, GoboLinux has a nice file structure, but doesn't completely do away with the legacy file system, since it's simply hidden.

That is good and bad, since things will still compile and work, but it's also another layer of complex symbolic links on top of the existing file structure. Interestingly, the complexity is completely admin side: it seems to have little or no effect on the operation of the OS itself.

I've started working with Gobo as part of a project I am working on, and once you strip out KDE...it's very light, complete, and well done...but I don't see where it would have any real relevance to Puppy.

You could, for example, strip out the Kernel from Gobo, add Compile, etc., but isn't technology moving filesystem agnostic? Isn't that what Beagle, Google Desktop, and WinFS do: allow you to access your files without really messing with folders or navigation?

I'm just wondering if there isn't an end run to be made here.
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miriam


Joined: 06 Dec 2006
Posts: 268
Location: Queensland, Australia

PostPosted: Mon 05 Feb 2007, 05:55    Post subject:  

When I posted my initial suggestion I was full of hope and honest interest, but I was appalled at the amount of antagonism it prompted. Even worse was the almost religious belief that Linux is the Answer and that it had been handed to us on a holy platter which it would be blasphemy to criticise. This is the kind of response I would have expected from Mac people. I was astonished and saddened to see it in a Linux community.

It only takes a minute to see what a mess the Linux system of directories is. Look for a binary file? sure...
    /bin
    /sbin
    /usr/bin
    /usr/local/bin
    /usr/sbin
    /usr/X11R6/bin
    /usr/lib/mut/bin
    /root/my-applications/bin

It's gotta be in one of those, right? Well no, there are still heaps of places people put binaries.

How about libraries?
    /lib
    /lib/modules/2.6.16.7/lib
    /root/my-applications/lib
    /root/my-applications/xmms/lib
    /root/my-roxapps/gimpshop/lib
    /usr/X11R6/lib
    /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/locale/lib
    /usr/lib
    /usr/local/lib
    /var/lib
    /var/local/lib

and there is now a tendency by many programmers to make subdirectories in any one of those and collect their own libraries in them -- a practise which I think is a step in the right direction, but because it doesn't take it to its logical conclusion it simply ends up complicating the file layout still further.

And those are the easy ones. Try looking for a configuration file. What to search for? something .ini ? or .config ? or .conf ? or .xml ? or prefs.something? It's probably in your ~ folder... errr, unless it isn't... maybe it's been put in /etc or maybe /usr/etc or /usr/local/etc or in one of the folders in /usr/local/apps or one of the folders in /usr/local/share or maybe...
but you get the picture. It could be almost anywhere and called almost anything.

Appealing to the file system standard document I posted the link to is no defence of the layout. The document was drafted as an attempt to get the crazy file structure under some kind of coherent control. It was prompted by exactly the same concerns that I voiced. Read the beginning of the document:
Code:
Why Standardise?

    * No Standards in the Variants of Unix
          o No standard layout
          o Historical layouts
                + BSD
                + System V
                + SunOS

    * Lack of regularity
          o Difficult for newcomers to Linux
                + especially from non-UNIX backgrounds
          o Experienced UNIX users found navigating difficult

    * Incompatibilities for developers and users
          o Symbolic link workarounds becoming the norm
          o Movements between distributions very difficult

Unfortunately in trying to please everyone they pleased no-one, and pretty much everybody ignores it. If they had bit the bullet and trimmed down the file layout to something more rational then it might have been accepted by more people. Things used to be simpler, but I guess some of the over-critical newbies who like to pose as all-knowing grand masters don't remember this.

I guess I was wrong to suggest anything constructive here. That's a pity, but I won't bother again. I've just found out about a Linux site where girls can post and be taken seriously.

For the record, I've been using computers since the 1980s and over the years have taught myself around 20 computer languages. I've been building 3d virtual worlds since about 1989, and real-time virtual worlds since 1997. I have built many of my own computers, from my earliest ones using soldering iron and a hacked-together keyboard when 2k was a phenomenal amount of memory, to my current, fairly high-end computers, 3 of which are sitting on my desk right now (I use each for a different purpose) and my laptop on my bed and my Palm computer which goes everywhere with me. I have direct experience with dozens of different operating systems and about 4 different flavors of Linux. I don't say this to make myself out to be important -- far from it. I'm just an ordinary geekgirl trying to fix things. I simply say this to show that dismissing my suggestions as stupid is perhaps a little shortsighted.

My thanks to Flash and GuestToo for injecting some thoughtfulness back into the discussion from time to time. You two guys were a breath of fresh air.

_________________
A life! Cool! Where can I download one of those from?
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muggins

Joined: 20 Jan 2006
Posts: 6666
Location: lisbon

PostPosted: Mon 05 Feb 2007, 07:29    Post subject:  

i think it's terrible that you found the general puppy community's response to your query to be overwhelmingly negative & defensive, and you feel the need to look elsewhere for a group.

anybody should feel free to post any query, regardless of their computer competency, otherwise forums should be locked for conservative technoboffins only.
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Flash
Official Dog Handler


Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 10672
Location: Arizona USA

PostPosted: Mon 05 Feb 2007, 10:05    Post subject:  

miriam, I for one hope you stick around. The forum wants thoughtful, articulate people with experience.

As for reforming the Linux filesystem, you can do good by keeping the subject alive, and giving a nudge whenever the opportunity arises. The mess that is Linux's filesystem grew like topsy precisely because everyone has some say in how Linux turns out, kind of like how an ouija board works. Even Bill Gates gets to shoot off his mouth in this forum. Laughing
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Pizzasgood


Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 6270
Location: Knoxville, TN, USA

PostPosted: Mon 05 Feb 2007, 23:19    Post subject:  

From what I've seen, this is one of the more heated topics. If you stay, you'll find that the majority are more enjoyable.

Also, I don't think anyone was trying to worship Linux, but rather to suggest that much careful thought was put into it, and should also be put into any changes, and that the current system wasn't designed 'willy-nilly' and isn't oriented toward desktop use anyway.

Of course, that doesn't change the fact that it's used that way, and things have gotten muddled. Life generally doesn't follow the ideal. If it did, we wouldn't need spell check.

My opinion is to make apps as location-independent as possible, so the user or administrator can put it wherever the best place for the job happens to be. Also, to try preventing the need for the user to browse the filesystem in the first place.


One thing that I find useful when searching for something is to deconstruct the original package. Then I only see that packages files, so I can locate the config files and whatnot with ease. Then just go to that location in the actual filesystem.

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Between depriving a man of one hour from his life and depriving him of his life there exists only a difference of degree. --Muad'Dib

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sunburnt


Joined: 08 Jun 2005
Posts: 4983
Location: Arizona, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Mon 05 Feb 2007, 23:31    Post subject:  

GoboLinux is a project to make the Linux FS more like WinHoes.

Any file sys. is a reflection of how the OS must operate.
Change the way Linux works, & then you can make a new FS to go with it.

I've invisioned a morph of Linux that has very few files... so a simpler FS.
As I said above, this would make for a nearly new OS (like Apple's).
With few files in the OS, there's not much of a FS, apps. would be attached
at mount points, so they'd have their own FS... probably in Squash files.
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fudgy


Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Posts: 86
Location: Berlin, Germany

PostPosted: Tue 06 Feb 2007, 05:24    Post subject:  

miriam, what you suggest is nothing more than rewriting a whole system.

Nothing against the idea, but work for years. You have to change the mind of some millions of programmers who get used to their individual (anarchistic) way. This is for shure not desirable for the user. Linux is user-unfriendly. At the end 'your' system wont be called Linux anymore. OS Y perhaps... who knows. Go for it!

Apart from that, any attempt to make executables location-independent is greatly appreciated. That results in a bigger memory footprint though. I dont care. But probably other puppy users will.

fudgy
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debernardis


Joined: 12 Nov 2005
Posts: 177

PostPosted: Wed 07 Feb 2007, 03:25    Post subject:  

IMHO one right way to look at this issue is go *do* something different by yourself, like gobolinux people did, and show the world for peer-review. This is the real thing. The rest is chitter-chatter and flame wars for the sake of it.
And, I hope Miriam stays here with us and with Puppy.
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