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SubjectRe: silent semantic changes with reiser4
Linus, you are looking at this like a lieutenant instead of an HQ 
staffer, which is unusual of you.

You are saying, 1-2% simpler and better, no biggie, why work so hard to
get it?

And we are saying, 1-2% simpler and better, times thousands of
applications, wow! That's a lot!

Yes, changing cat to use openat() is no big deal. 1-2% additional coding
cost for cat, who cares? But if you add 1-2% coding cost to every
application which might access an attribute/stream/whatever, well, that
totals more than the effort of authoring emacs. Can you see that?

Namespace simplifications and empowerments are force multipliers. They
don't add to Linux like writing a new app adds to Linux, they add to
Linux like adding percentage improvements to every app in Linux adds to
Linux. HQ staffer types know that if you collect enough itty bitty
little force multipliers, you win the war. Whether the troops have to
spend five minutes a day polishing their shoes because their type of
shoe needs polishing, that matters more than losing a tank battalion,
when you are a major power. Linux is a major power.

This is a software engineering issue. We are discussing improvements
that because they are diffused throughout the OS in their impact, seem
like no big deal. But they are a big deal. One of the major determinants
of an organization's efficiency is whether the management can recognize
widely diffused inefficiencies as well as it can recognize focused
inefficiencies of the same magnitude.

David is so very right about the usability issues. Usability is all
about trivia. Usability battles feature no dragons, they feature armies
of spiders. If you add one step to what a user needs to do to get to the
data with an app, that matters a lot. That's doubling the spider army.
Making a 2 step process to access data into a one step process to access
the data halves the time cost of accessing the data. Lifestyle
efficiency is mostly about reducing the cost of trivia, because trivia
is most of what we do. Most people have as much interest in reading the
man page for tar as you have in learning how to turn the hand crank to
start your car. Just the look of "tar -xf" turns them away. Crypto-Geek
gobbledy-gook is what it is. Let's value their time, there are a lot of


David Masover wrote:

> It's not about the kernel, it's about the interface. And see my other
> mail:
> cat
> less
> is a lot easier than
> lynx
> emerge zip
> man zip
> unzip
> cat bar.c
> which already assumes quite a lot of expertise.
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