this is a geek world! ... or not?
> I used to generate my entire web site via a complex
> set of m4 macros. Not my fault if you're not geek
I thought that the editorial was about tools that make common peoples' life complicated; geekishness is another issue ....
> There is such a tool. It is called 'krpm' or 'gnorpm',
> my friend. Less experienced people should not be
> messing with source code, and shouldn't even
> know what a compiler *IS*, much less be invoking
Why should't they? Are you afraid that the less experienced people might like it, learn it and take your job ;-) ?
The editorial was also about taking care that the user, experienced or not, does not loose precious time.
I am not experienced as far as C or C++ programming is concerned, but I can survive if
$ configure;make;su;make install
does not work smothly.
I don't expect the developers to see the future and make room for all the changes that might occur and I don't expect them to addapt their source code to those changes even if they lost interest in the program. I am happy if I can find out that I have to make some soft links to persuade the configure or make programs that I run RedHat and not Debian or Slackware, or that I have to modify some lines in config.h, and I am extremely gratefull when I find in config.h or some place else
# for debian users ...
# for slackware users ...
The contemporary "unexperienced users" are not smarter that those that caused the term "user friendly" to be coined, but neither are they using hardware worth bilions on a time sharing basis. Most of them are going to waist their personal time and run the risk of trashing hardware worth about 800$. Why not let them choose if they want to spend some time solving a problem and learning more about their tools in the process?
I am not an authority in what m4, autoconf or such other "thingies" are concerned. They worked great for me most of the time, and when I decided that I loose too much time recompiling I decided to switch from Slackware to Debian for the sake of those 9000+ of precompiled packages. I guess that m4 etc. are good enough, but if there are simpler solutions, why not use them if they can make both the developer and the end user happy?
Re: What about typesetting?
Why not let all this internationalization to be the burden of typesetting and wordprocessing programs? The ``source'' can be stored in ascii without much trouble ... I did this in LaTeX with English, Romanian and Polytonic Greek in one document ...
Then think of the costs of internationalization, the trouble of standardization and coping with programmers' hybris ...
P.S.: I have no claim to correct English in my reply