[OS X TeX] Finally we are grown up
fcnpereira at mac.com
Mon Nov 20 10:00:49 EST 2006
On Nov 20, 2006, at 9:40 AM, Claus Gerhardt wrote:
> I am not offering an installer but install instructions combined
> with some Applescripts (now applications), that should allow the
> average user to install TeXLive (TUG) without any troubles.
"That should allow...". A pious wish that all of us who develop
complex software have expressed one time or another. But always
dashed by harsh reality.
> It is really interesting that the critiques of my approach come
> from people who obviously never tried to follow my instructions.
First, I would not need to follow your instructions to the letter,
because I've been working with Unix systems since 1979. Second,
natural-language instructions are just a kind of program for people.
I teach programming, and I know how to criticize a program without
having to run it. My point is simply that straight-line instructions
without carefully constructed feedback loops are bound to fail for
some people, either because they have ambiguities, or because their
situations were not anticipated by you.
This is not a criticism of your skill, just a recognition that all
programmers (including writers of natural-language instructions) mess
up unless they use good software development practices, such as
checking for invariants that their programs/instructions rely on. It
is a criticism of your over-confident claims that good installation
software is unnecessary. You tried to prove your point by posting
what you claimed were straightforward instructions, and you've had to
revise them over and over again. Your effort, however worthy, is a
shiny counterexample to your claim.
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