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is puppy top heavy?
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learnhow2code

Joined: 12 Jun 2016
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PostPosted: Tue 26 Jul 2016, 13:15    Post subject:  is puppy top heavy?
Subject description: this is about "development" on the "user" side, um...
 

puppy is something developers can worth with-- as for users, i think puppy is VERY friendly! unusually so...

this is NOT about the size of puppy or the friendliness for "users." this is about customization.

what makes puppy puppy imo is the ability to customize. when puppy was most active, it wasnt just about developer customizations, but USER customizations. and i dont just mean save files.

ive heard people lamenting woof-ce lately, as a turning point. imo it was a brilliant move, but it may have had costs. the brilliant move is that it let a dev team create itself pretty organically. the cost is that it increased the separation between user+(plus)devs and user-(minus)devs.

now most of the people that customize puppy can work actively on its development, and most of the people that dont work actively on its development are just users, complaining. i dont blame them-- theyre not the problem. however the "middle class" of puppy-- user+devs has disappeared. now there are only devs, and users.

my theory is that this middle class was a big part of the lifeblood of puppy, part of what made it unique. not complete devs, nor just users, these people in the middle made everything easier-- they were representatives and they helped with tasks. they articulated things both to users and to devs that are simply impedance-mismatched these days. they were a bridge, a common-- a community that made the community.

when i say "top heavy" im referring to the features that once served this "class" of puppy citizen. for example, i see more bug reports for the puppy remaster scripts than use of the remaster scripts--

i realize that barry isnt about doing it that way anymore, maybe most people arent. i ALSO realize that a lot of the "dev-only" stuff being done is ultimately an act of remastering. i dont think you can create a new version of a distro without something akin to remastering.

but im not talking about remastering-- im talking about the puppy scripts for users to remaster.

and im talking about pmount, which i examined the other day. its absurdly complex-- and there was a time when enough people were steeped in its culture (perhaps there still are) that ANYONE can modify that thing if they really want to.

its open source after all, so technically...

im not asking anyone to cater to anything for me-- although puppy WAS a catering company once. it had lots of people at every level, catering to each other.

now we cater to ourselves, which is okay-- and more people complain, which isnt a crime.

i think some of these tools are too complex for the "middle class" i spoke of to work with them. and while they were perfect once-- and im not suggesting we get rid of them or anything-- i think maybe we need something in between, some things that are lighter, some things that are more manageable for user+devs.

because right now imo its just devs, and users. the framework (in puppy) that allowed there to be a middle is imo, neglected. im not blaming ANYONE for that. it just happened. everyone-- no one-- is responsible. its not a condemnation.

its just a summary. it may be false. i hope it points to some contructive things that can be done, BUT ITS NOT A REQUEST! its a thought. if you want to, you can use it for something. if you cant use it for something, please move along-- it wasnt meant for you.

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starhawk

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PostPosted: Tue 26 Jul 2016, 13:57    Post subject:  

Thanks to the remastering tools that (at least at one time) were within Puppy, and other similar such devices -- such as the one I used to use, Woofy -- almost anyone can create their own custom Pup.

That has not changed.

However, there is another force here. People expect, when you put a Pup up on this forum, that you know enough to *support* it -- i.e. if there are problems, you are expected to solve them. On the one hand, this is not an unreasonable expectation -- or so, at least, it seems to the users. I don't entirely disagree -- after all, you made the thing, you should know how it works.

On the other hand, the effect of the remaster tools that we have, is that it complicates this situation. It is easy enough to create a Pup by way of remaster tool -- or by manual SFS-editing, as some devs do, which is now supported by way of a right-click (context menu) option in several Pups -- that support becomes a genuine challenge for those who wish to release their own creations.

The ability to provide support is what separates user from dev. That is because providing support requires a level of understanding far beyond that of the average user. To be a dev, in that respect, requires dedicated time and effort towards tinkering and otherwise becoming very closely acquainted with Puppy's inner machinery -- the "guts", the "under-the-hood" stuff. The parts that not only make Puppy Puppy, but make Puppy work in the first place.

Of course, mastering Woof-CE is an industry unto itself, on top of that. But if you do not have the understanding to fix the basic problems that exist in what you release (and there's always something) -- then you've hit a dead end until you can clamber over that wall of knowledge.

That last paragraph, in a nutshell, is why I'm a user, and not a user+dev. It's also why single-dev distros tend to come to an end pretty quickly (Puppy being one notable exception, at least in part specifically because of Woof and Woof-CE). Don't get me wrong, making and releasing new Pups is fun. But maintaining that stuff is hard -- extremely hard -- and it doesn't matter if you put "as-is, no warranty" or "use at your own risk" or even "I'm not supporting this" in your release post. People will come to you with problems and you must be able to solve them, at least for the most part -- and if you can't, you are just wasting everyone else's time.

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s243a

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PostPosted: Tue 26 Jul 2016, 14:03    Post subject:  

So I can't speak for the developers but I suspect that they would still consider the remaster script an essential feature of puppy Linux. If there are bugs in it then perhaps you can propose some solutions.
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learnhow2code

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PostPosted: Tue 26 Jul 2016, 14:14    Post subject:  

s243a wrote:
So I can't speak for the developers but I suspect that they would still consider the remaster script an essential feature of puppy Linux. If there are bugs in it then perhaps you can propose some solutions.


there ARE bugs, some people are losing their hard drive contents to it. but if youre a dev (even if youre not) you should know that virtually all programs have some bugs-- being able to fix them is another matter, and what im suggesting is that SOME of the infrastructure in puppy is too complex for perhaps ANY of us to fix.

im not saying the remaster script isnt essential. i dont know whats essential. the fact that barry himself isnt really using it anymore-- it seems to not be as popular as it was. and thats OK... but if its less popular, has some bugs, fewer people feel an incentive to fix it, and its large and complex enough for most people to not know what to do with it, and its author isnt interested...

im just saying, there may not be a solution that fits every problem with it. but if there is, thats great-- that means all we have to do is WAIT for it to be fixed Smile that still leaves pmount, which some people would like to modify but its too complex. i cant believe how complex it is.

its the natural order of things to become this complex over time. sometimes they end up unintentionally (or intentionally) abandoned. im not suggesting we do anything with haste, only that perhaps there are some alternatives to this complexity. i dont know if im trying to prove it, or if im asking. to me, thats not the point-- but i did mention it. dont think of it as a complaint; its something i find interesting. im not asking anyone to fix it.
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learnhow2code

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PostPosted: Tue 26 Jul 2016, 14:16    Post subject:  

starhawk wrote:
Thanks to the remastering tools that (at least at one time) were within Puppy, and other similar such devices -- such as the one I used to use, Woofy -- almost anyone can create their own custom Pup.

That has not changed.

However, there is another force here. People expect, when you put a Pup up on this forum, that you know enough to *support* it -- i.e. if there are problems, you are expected to solve them. On the one hand, this is not an unreasonable expectation -- or so, at least, it seems to the users. I don't entirely disagree -- after all, you made the thing, you should know how it works.

On the other hand, the effect of the remaster tools that we have, is that it complicates this situation. It is easy enough to create a Pup by way of remaster tool -- or by manual SFS-editing, as some devs do, which is now supported by way of a right-click (context menu) option in several Pups -- that support becomes a genuine challenge for those who wish to release their own creations.

The ability to provide support is what separates user from dev. That is because providing support requires a level of understanding far beyond that of the average user. To be a dev, in that respect, requires dedicated time and effort towards tinkering and otherwise becoming very closely acquainted with Puppy's inner machinery -- the "guts", the "under-the-hood" stuff. The parts that not only make Puppy Puppy, but make Puppy work in the first place.

Of course, mastering Woof-CE is an industry unto itself, on top of that. But if you do not have the understanding to fix the basic problems that exist in what you release (and there's always something) -- then you've hit a dead end until you can clamber over that wall of knowledge.

That last paragraph, in a nutshell, is why I'm a user, and not a user+dev. It's also why single-dev distros tend to come to an end pretty quickly (Puppy being one notable exception, at least in part specifically because of Woof and Woof-CE). Don't get me wrong, making and releasing new Pups is fun. But maintaining that stuff is hard -- extremely hard -- and it doesn't matter if you put "as-is, no warranty" or "use at your own risk" or even "I'm not supporting this" in your release post. People will come to you with problems and you must be able to solve them, at least for the most part -- and if you can't, you are just wasting everyone else's time.



i think youve described this well enough to justify quoting it in full, and sincere thanks for your input on this.

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s243a

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PostPosted: Tue 26 Jul 2016, 14:26    Post subject:  

starhawk wrote:


That has not changed.

However, there is another force here. People expect, when you put a Pup up on this forum, that you know enough to *support* it -- i.e. if there are problems, you are expected to solve them. On the one hand, this is not an unreasonable expectation -- or so, at least, it seems to the users. I don't entirely disagree -- after all, you made the thing, you should know how it works.


I only partly agree here. Sure it is a great ideal but if you are offering something significantly different then I think it's better for the puppet to exist than not exist.

For instance say I take tahrpup and make a math/engineering re-spin. This could save some users slot of time and they still might be able to get support from the base Tahrpup thread.

Last edited by s243a on Tue 26 Jul 2016, 14:31; edited 1 time in total
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s243a

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PostPosted: Tue 26 Jul 2016, 14:31    Post subject:  

learnhow2code wrote:
.

im not saying the remaster script isnt essential. i dont know whats essential. the fact that barry himself isnt really using it anymore-- it seems to not be as popular as it was. and thats OK... but if its less popular, has some bugs, fewer people feel an incentive to fix it, and its large and complex enough for most people to not know what to do with it, and its author isnt interested...

im just saying, there may not be a solution that fits every problem with it. but if there is, thats great-- that means all we have to do is WAIT for it to be fixed Smile that still leaves pmount, which some people would like to modify but its too complex. i cant believe how complex it is.

its the natural order of things to become this complex over time. sometimes they end up unintentionally (or intentionally) abandoned. im not suggesting we do anything with haste, only that perhaps there are some alternatives to this complexity. i dont know if im trying to prove it, or if im asking. to me, thats not the point-- but i did mention it. dont think of it as a complaint; its something i find interesting. im not asking anyone to fix it.


Well at some point if scripts become too complex it becomes time for a rewrite. I know that Jamebond has done this for some scripts in fatdog64.
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learnhow2code

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PostPosted: Tue 26 Jul 2016, 14:33    Post subject:  

s243a wrote:
I only partly agree here. Sure it is a great ideal but if you are offering something significantly different then I think it's better for the puppet to exist than not exist.

For instance say I take tahrpup and make a math/engineering re-spin. This could save some users slot of time and they still might be able to get support from the base Tahrpup thread.


yes!

if you make some changes to suit some purposes, but leave most of it the same, then you should be able to get a degree of support at the source. ubuntu is different enough from debian that it justifies its own forums and foundation-- but its similar enough that knowing debian will get you far more than halfway there.

all puppies have something in common. i suspect they have more in common than not, but i would say that about virtually any distro spin with the same package system-- and some even with a different package system!


Quote:
Well at some point if scripts become too complex it becomes time for a rewrite. I know that Jamebond has done this for some scripts


if he had read this thread, i would then assume he got the memo and the message. its not the only way to take something from this, but it would certainly count. (of course, he managed it just fine on his own.)
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s243a

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PostPosted: Tue 26 Jul 2016, 14:38    Post subject:  

learnhow2code wrote:
s243a wrote:
So I can't speak for the developers but I suspect that they would still consider the remaster script an essential feature of puppy Linux. If there are bugs in it then perhaps you can propose some solutions.


there ARE bugs, some people are losing their hard drive contents to it. but if youre a dev (even if youre not) you should know that virtually all programs have some bugs-- being able to fix them is another matter, and what im suggesting is that SOME of the infrastructure in puppy is too complex for perhaps ANY of us to fix.


I think the data loss issue you are referring to is for an old version of puppy Linux. Also, was the bug reproducible?
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learnhow2code

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PostPosted: Tue 26 Jul 2016, 14:49    Post subject:  

s243a wrote:
I think the data loss issue you are referring to is for an old version of puppy Linux.


quite possibly. we should really put some orange cones around it if thats the case. if you agree, id be happy to figure out how.

Quote:
Also, was the bug reproducible?


i hope not! in appreciate the good reason anyone would have to ask, but we are these days short of both users with patience or any feelings of need to experiment with such issues, or devs who dont have arguably better things to do. devs are volunteers after all, and so are users.

with the report of such an important bug, youd hope for more info. if puppy had done that to me, id simply drop puppy. i had a similar experience with a certain pup remaster (which was a little too eager to automount and write to things) many years ago, and i never used it (that version) again. but this was a lot older than most puppies in use.
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Sailor Enceladus

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PostPosted: Tue 26 Jul 2016, 15:10    Post subject:  

starhawk wrote:
Of course, mastering Woof-CE is an industry unto itself, on top of that. But if you do not have the understanding to fix the basic problems that exist in what you release (and there's always something) -- then you've hit a dead end until you can clamber over that wall of knowledge.

I can certainly relate to this. Say you pick a puppy to build and it doesn't boot to X. How are you supposed to know what went wrong? That happened to me when I tried to build one yesterday, I found out by miracle of chance and taking a completely wild guess in the dark ( Laughing Laughing Laughing ) that it was because my version of jwm was not compatible with one library, and I had to find the jwm source code and recompile it again for that particular base. It was one of those things where you see it not boot and say "epic fail! the entire thing was all for nothing" but it was really this one TINY problem preventing it from working, and normally one does not find that needle in the haystack so easy (or at all) lol
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starhawk

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PostPosted: Tue 26 Jul 2016, 15:50    Post subject:  

Or, worse -- everything works fine for you, but not so much for your users.

That's what happened to me with Vincent Van Pup -- there was a keyboard issue of some sort. I don't remember any more... but it was because I based "Vinnie" on Upup 3992.

I don't know squat about keyboards in Puppy beyond, I press a key and the letter's supposed to show up on the screen Wink

Ironically, one of Pelo's many old thread revivals was, in fact, "Vinnie" -- and he was kind enough to report that, sometime after I (and others) had given up on the Pup, greengeek had ferreted out the root of that particular bug and issued a fix. (Thank you, Pelo, for reporting the bugfix.) The result was that that particular Pup got some positive attention again. I initially had mixed feelings about it, at best -- but in the end (more ironically) I'm glad that he did that. Pups that are intended for art, that is a rare thing for us.

TBH, I'd be willing to produce an updated Vinnie based around X-Tahr 1b3 (which is extremely stable, despite its 'beta' status -- I've been using it for like a year now, with zero real issues)... but I cannot support such a Pup, and I don't want to put that extra load onto rg66 -- or, honestly, anyone else. I suppose if someone volunteered I wouldn't argue, but that's about where I am with that now.

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PostPosted: Tue 26 Jul 2016, 15:57    Post subject:  

There is a difference between using Woof-CE and doing a remaster.

Woof-CE builds a Puppy from scratch using core basic components, programs, kernel, etc......

Remaster takes an already built Puppy version and just basically decides what programs are in it.
If you are trying to do anything else with remaster, you will give yourself problems.

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jlst

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PostPosted: Tue 26 Jul 2016, 16:02    Post subject:  

I am a regular user that also happens to contribute code...

But i never published a puplet or something, even though i do have one that is highly customized, i have 3 different window managers (jwm,icewm,openbox), and before i removed rox, i was able to switch between jwm+rox to lxpup basically.

According to git stats, i added about 50000 lines and deleted 160000, and that's basically in the last 3 months, since i was given the collaborator status.


Before that, i used to make pull requests basically out of pure boredom, rather than a genuine interest. Since 2014 i started learning how to tweak puppy, and basically my experience in mIRC scripting made me learn bash quickly and i ended up editing almost everything
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learnhow2code

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PostPosted: Tue 26 Jul 2016, 16:18    Post subject:  

Sailor Enceladus wrote:
I can certainly relate to this. Say you pick a puppy to build and it doesn't boot to X. How are you supposed to know what went wrong? That happened to me when I tried to build one yesterday, I found out by miracle of chance and taking a completely wild guess in the dark ( Laughing Laughing Laughing ) that it was because my version of jwm was not compatible with one library, and I had to find the jwm source code and recompile it again for that particular base.


this same thing happened to me in the most recent of mkfigos. i updated the source iso to the most recent one (less than a week old now.) i booted it with icewm just like the previous version, and... it loads... it stops... lightdm loads it... it stops.

i assumed that the refracta dev changed something!

actually i was "playing it safe" with a recent (but previous) package of icewm. this was the problem, which i luckily guessed (i booted in textmode and typed icewm and it segfaulted. upgrading the version of the icewm package fixed it.)

icewms been stable for longer than puppy has existed. but like anything else it gets compiled against libraries, and those change often.

the point is-- im the sole dev of mkfigos and fig os, and i still didnt know what happened at first Smile so people need to know we are ALL downstream from SOME kind of work. or they dont need to know, but its still true. i know it happens to barry, and to linus.

Quote:
It was one of those things where you see it not boot and say "epic fail! the entire thing was all for nothing" but it was really this one TINY problem preventing it from working, and normally one does not find that needle in the haystack so easy (or at all) lol


and thats the thing Smile of course the text half of things is supposed to be (and in both these cases was) more reliable, precisely so its easier to find and fix these little things. getting past the idea that devs are superhuman or have mutant powers can only help users and devs alike Smile


bigpup wrote:
There is a difference between using Woof-CE and doing a remaster.

Woof-CE builds a Puppy from scratch using core basic components, programs, kernel, etc......

Remaster takes an already built Puppy version and just basically decides what programs are in it.
If you are trying to do anything else with remaster, you will give yourself problems.


this is a difference to be sure, but some of us (myself) will not always give much to the distinction. a remaster script can do all kinds of things, and if you know what youre doing... but your point does stand.

im not sure whether your point is relevant to the problems mentioned with remaster scripts-- IT COULD WELL BE, we dont have enough information yet to determine if it is so. we may not get that information. your point does stand.


jlst wrote:
I am a regular user that also happens to contribute code...

But i never published a puplet or something, even though i do have one that is highly customized, i have 3 different window managers (jwm,icewm,openbox), and before i removed rox, i was able to switch between jwm+rox to lxpup basically.


i didnt mean to suggest that literally everyone is only a dev or only a user these days-- that would be nearly absurd. only that there used to be this wonderful middle area that was vibrant and lively, and i think it has suffered to the point where both devs and users are actually suffering.

at the risk of sounding like im making things up, i have conversations in pm (sometimes people even pm me unsolicited and i welcome them to) with old puppy members and some new ones.

its always possible im exaggerating, and that would be wonderful. im not trying to alarm anyone, actually. just talk about what we had-- in hopes of possibly rejuvinating some of it if possible. there are people i know from a while back that might actually leave otherwise. im tired of that. theyre free to do what they want, but i actually understand some of whats getting to them-- and i experience it first hand as well. between my pov and the pov of other established users, fans and devs-- i dont think its made up at least.

you never said it was, im just pointing out that this isnt just me who is saying this. it is my own expression of the situation, however.

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