Hi,

"Aleksi Niemel" wrote:
> I think it's the feature of the mailing list archive to create a threads
of
> discussion based on the subject line.

Any idea of what algorithm deja.com uses?

> So I won't change it now, even while
> we're away from 'Why it's quiet' discussion.

My recent personal policy has been to only to append to existing subject
lines so that readers can follow and either read or skip thread branches
they may or may not be interested in.

> Conrad & Dave:
> > > Most users don't have always-on Internet connections.
> > Today maybe. Next year, I suspect the opposite will be true.
>
> I had. Now I don't have, and it took some to adjust (and that's the reason
> I'm visiting my work place even at weekend :). What it comes to next year,
I
> believe I'm without net at home. Even if I'll have it, I'm very sure my
> parents wont' and my guess is they won't have it for next ten years. My
> point is that while the average person will get to the net more and more
> it'll take quite a while before we're entering to new era where majority
of
> homes have 24h net. Until it, any software built requiring random access
to
> the net is going to be doomed (except for dedicated and enthusiastic
group).

I certainly agree. I think it's important for a substantial static
distribution to be the default and for a dynamic updating system to be an
option for cases where users find it desirable.

> I tried to be silent during this discussion because there's no problem
with
> the current way. Now. The distro is under 800k compressed. There will be
the
> day when it won't fit to one old fashioned 1.44MB disk. Today I'm going to
> transfer new 1.4.5 to home, by carrying the disk. I will not smile in the
> future if the distro won't fit to  one disk (eliminating already the
> possibility for ruby-1.4.5+all_raa_sources.tar.gz :), but that's only if
I'm
> still forced to use (small) disks and don't have always-on-line net :).

Well, I personally really wouldn't mind having to use 2 floppy disks,
especially if it ever saved me from having to fetch more pieces later.

> These days we have big drives so the size of the distros is no problem. Or
> is it? Would someone like to install Word using floppies or nfs over 2400
> bps modem?

Well, we are not talking about anything approaching the size of Word. Also
don't the vast majority of PCs these days have something approaching 56K
modems?

> From my point of view, the current distro is way too big. There's plenty
of
> unnecessary stuff for plain Ruby programming.

If we want Ruby use to be widespread, then our primary concern should be
with widespread convenience and out-of-the-box usability by a majority of
users.  The Perl distribution is 5MB+ and yet Perl is enormously successful.
One reason for this is that the great majority of users don't have to go
back and fetch more stuff. (Of course some developers do so, but they are
always in the minority; we need to keep in mind that comp.lang.ruby posters
and Ruby very-early-adopters are not statistically representative of the
users of such languages.) A somewhat more full-featured Ruby distribution
would probably be considerably smaller than the Perl distribution.

(For some reason, people seem to be falsely presuming that you have to go to
extremes when moderate changes are suggested, rather than looking at the
most reasonable options.)

> > This is the kind of novel and useful functionality that, if
> > implemented intelligently and flexibly, could make Ruby's name.
>
> And now the problems with dynamic way:
> - security
> - early adoption
>
> Even if things are implemented intelligently and flexibly in the first
place
> we'll be facing few problems. First of all, I'm quite sure there's no way
we
> can get the security aspects right with first try. If we will, we're
> probably ending up with way too complex product. In any event, this leads
to
> multiple versions just like Conrad said, and that imposes the second big
> problem: early adoption.
>
> There's really great danger we'll develop a system for dynamic library
> handling. Then people start to use it. To make it better, we have to
develop
> the second generation, the second major version. This point I really hope
we
> haven't catched the majority of the users yet. Because if admins have
spent
> time to set up anything, it'll be painful to delete working system just to
> get better, more secure, working system. That's the very reason the
current
> internet infrastructure at companies is full of security holes.
"Unnecessary
> work" won't get done.
>
> If these problems start to get bigger than I now imagined, this
> 'intelligently and flexibly implemented' system will make bad name for
Ruby.
> There's the danger.

I certainly agree.

I'm all for experimentation with _optional_ ways of doing stuff, but until
it is satisfactorily demonstrated, it's vaporware, and shouldn't be regarded
as _the_ solution in the mean time.

Meanwhile, I think something more modest might be useful, where you tell
some (optionally menu-driven) program to fetch modules from the RAA or CRAN
(I would prefer to call this RCAN) for you, and so on. (Wish list item: I
would really like to see the Ruby/Tk stuff on windows somehow be cleaned up
so that it worked for everyone, and could be widely used by tools like this.
I gather from unanswered posts that this stuff is languishing at the
moment.)

Conrad