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Re: Too many options

From: Greg Hudson <ghudson_at_mit.edu>
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2009 10:05:58 -0500

On Fri, 2009-01-16 at 10:53 +0100, Greg Stein wrote:
[quoting someone else, I think:]
> The number, obscurity, and triviality of such preferences
> ends up confusing ordinary users, while everyone is penalized by the
> resulting bloat and reduced thoroughness of testing.

To some extent the first argument is specious. Firefox has a zillion
options underneath its about:config interface, and they don't get in the
way of ordinary users. Likewise, GNOME programs often contain options
configured only via gconf (say, using gconf-editor). Such options
require some wizardry to enable and so are of limited value, but they
are of no UI cost to ordinary users.

The second argument is... often difficult to sell. Last year, Pidgin
changed the behavior of its input window to resize automatically instead
of under control of the user. (Please do not turn this thread into a
discussion of the merits of that particular UI change.) This led to
perhaps the most heated bikeshed discussions in the history of open
source, partly reflected here: http://developer.pidgin.im/ticket/4986.
Very, very few of the users commenting there were convinced that
simplicity of code warranted a lack of configurability.

(That said, I agree.)

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Received on 2009-01-16 16:06:34 CET

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