[jp] New "Web" menu in 0.99.5. Why?

Jeff Vian jvian10 at charter.net
Mon Mar 3 10:22:39 EST 2003

Paul Gear wrote:

> Jeff Vian wrote:
>> For debian to NOT support a standard xterm seems to me to be going 
>> toward the propietary model.
>> I agree with an earlier comment that the xterm should be a standard 
>> interface, and then if the OS has specific needs it should handle the 
>> interface in such a way as to handle the generic cross-platform 
>> method of starting a terminal window appropriately. 
> NOTE: The following comments are made by a non-Debian, traditional 
> xterm user.


> You're coming at this whole thing from the wrong angle.  The point is 
> not that they don't support xterm and want to be proprietary (the 
> *last* thing i'd accuse Debian of - ever heard of the social 
> contract?) -- the point is that they want the user to be able to set 
> their preference for a terminal emulator globally and have all 
> programs obey their preference.  The only way to do this is for 
> everyone to call the same program.  It's not a matter of calling a 
> program in a standard way - it's a matter of "which program to call?"

But IMHO the best way to have everyone call the correct program is to 
have the API/UI  standard on all platforms and then have the OS handle 
the specifics according to the users preferences.  Our difference here 
is that I believe the OS should take more of the responsibility for 
handling the redirection of calls from a standard interface (in this 
case xterm) to the specific interface (x-terminal-emulator) chosen as 
default and the application developer should not have to do this.

>> It is unreasonable in an open software environment to expect each 
>> developer to handle the specific API requirements of the OS.  It is 
>> easy for the OS to have a standard API and handle their own 
>> requirements behind the scenes for the user. 
> Ludovic's point was that x-terminal-emulator IS the standard API on 
> Debian.  There may be better ways to implement a standard API, but 
> that's not our problem.  Robert is right: this is probably the Debian 
> maintainer's problem, and it should be able to be fixed with a couple 
> lines of diff (although having seen the same sort of thing on Red Hat, 
> i can understand Ludovic wanting to minimise the number of diffs). 

My point exactly.  The developer should not have to keep track of the 
differences in the API/UI on each OS.  If each distribution has its own 
"standard" interface then it becomes proprietary for that distro.  While 
I agree with their right to make it the best they can for their group of 
users, standardized API/UI calls make the software portable regardless 
of the specific OS involved.

If one user chooses Gnome and another chooses KDE and another chooses 
??? then the OS should have a means of complying with an appliction that 
calls a single API/UI and handle the call according to the users 
preferences and the OS "standards"

My point is that xterm is a standard terminal emulator that is universal 
for all flavors of ?nix (but apparently not debian) and it should work 
the same on all platforms.  If an OS chooses to make something else it's 
standard then for _application portability_ it should handle calls to 
xterm and relay them to the other emulator.  Much the same way ALL ?nix 
flavors have vi as a standard editor but most Linux varieties actually 
use vim and do so  transparently for the user.

> Paul
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