Saturday, December 5, 2009


Cryptic Linux Distro Updates



We're almost in 2010, I thought by now to anyone who basically knows how to use a computer, general upgrade prompts in Linux Distros would make sense, and won't seem cryptic like "Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail?".

Then you get something like this:



This is a new upgrade message in Debian/Ubuntu.
Here's the full text:

Various snmp software needs extracted MIBs from RFCs and IANA - which cannot be shipped - to be working as expected. These MIBs can be automatically fetched and extracted as part of installing this package.

This will take several minutes to complete, even with a fast internet connection.

Download and extract MIBs from RFCs and IANA?


Are all these acronyms really necessary? Should a user even be given such cryptic information, and instead see a prompt along the lines of: "This package requires additional components to fully function, download them?".

Even a power user who is familiar with a term like RFC, does this message even make any sense?

Seems like Linux Distros still has a long way to go.

7 comments:

insane coder said...

Oh this gets even better.

After selecting yes, I now see:
Downloading RFCs and IANA documents and extracting MIB files.
This will take some minutes.

In case this process fails, it can always be repeated later by executing
cd /usr/share/mibs
make -f Makefile.mib


------------------------
And it is actually downloading RFC documents and extracting information from them, instead of just downloading the information it needed hosted somewhere.

This has to be one of the most retarded things I've seen in the couple of years that I've used Debian.

NIC1138 said...

Users who don't know or care what that all means should just follow the default setting and be happy.

insane coder said...

NIC1138:
Perhaps. But then it should end off with saying: "If you don't understand this, select the default option".

Colin D said...

The message should begin with "The default option is likely acceptable for most uses. Further explanation follows."

I think there's a certain expectation that if you're using the command line instead of synaptic/adept or Update Manager, you're more likely to understand what the acronyms mean. If this message is shown to those, then it most certainly needs to be less cryptic. Head over to Launchpad and suggest it!

Dan said...

Hey, I just realized i'm out of bread and milk. Let's go buy out a supermarket owner, then throw out everything that's not a single loaf of bread and a half gallon of milk!

L3thal said...

thats Debian , which is chosen by ubuntu ( the most retarded distro ever ) , what did you expect ? :)

try archlinux

yashar HaKodesh said...

Programmers should not be allowed to write messages that the user will see. Ever. Not even "click OK" - because they will still screw it up. You need to have a UI specialist create the entire UI and have the programmers stick to it. Trying to teach programmers to make usable programs is a losing battle.