Hi,

You are rightfully commenting about what I call "Packaging", as marketing
people call it: The nice box around the product. That includes:
   - Documentation
   - Install/Update
   - Support service.

For whatever reason, after 20 years in the industry, I am pretty sure
that Packaging is one of the most difficult thing to do, based on the
quality of the results I observe.

Would you imagine a beautiful perfume in an ugly bottle ?
Yet it is what a lot of software is.

In french there is a saying:
   "Qu'importe le flacon pourvu qu'on ai l'ivresse"
Which translate (poorly) into something like
   "The bottle is irrelevant as long as you get drunk".

For sure most software developers are guys !

Yours,

Jean-Hugues

At 23:35 30/04/2004 +0900, you wrote:
>A word of warning from a potential friend.  Please don't take this 
>negatively,
>because I think you have something, and I'd like to help.  If you can read
>through to the end, there's a modest proposal.
>
>It's too late and too early for you to start evangelising Ruby.  That's a
>shame, because right now there's a major opportunity for grabbing hearts and
>minds.  "Too late" because Ruby has grown beyond the early days when a
>product can be forgiven holes, and "too early" because it still has some big
>ones - getting newbies interested will leave a lot of them dismissing Ruby
>unnecessarily.
>
>I've only been using Ruby a few days, so I'm perfect to point out a few
>things; I've no emotion invested, and am almost (but not quite) totally
>ignorant about Ruby.
>
>The great opportunity is that I and a lot of people just like me have just
>realised (or are about to realise) that they have a serious need, and Ruby
>might be just it.  But I need to be sure.  That means I need to see some
>things about Ruby before I jump.  They may exist, but I can't see them, and
>that itself makes the point.
>
>I'm a Java programmer, and am sitting on a product with world-wide usage and
>over a quarter-million lines of code.  I'm deeply worried, after the Sun/
>MediocreSoft rapprochement, about the potential future of Java.  That's a
>shame, because for all its faults, Java is the best production language I've
>come across in over thirty years practical experience in the industry - and
>don't bother trying to engage me in a discussion over that; I know it's a
>personal evaluation.
>
>However I am sufficiently worried about the future of Java to consider
>alternatives, and after looking around, Ruby seems the best bet out of a
>narrow field.  The criteria are:
>
>* Proper OO.
>* Write once, deliver once, run anywhere, in any language/locale.
>* Open Source with unrestrictive licence.
>* Comprehensive functionality, good libraries, easy extensibility.
>
>Now you ruby experts know that ruby is good for all this.  My first point is,
>however, that after looking at ruby in some detail for well over a full day,
>I was reluctantly about to discard it as a possibility because it doesn't
>support Unicode, and that or something like it is necessary for "Write once,
>deliver once, run anywhere, in any language/locale".
>
>Yes, I know.  But it took me two days to find out, and I *still* don't know
>how to write or handle Unicode strings in ruby code.  Or where to go to find
>out.  So, POINT 1.  Needs improved documentation.  As a minimum, a current
>features, capabilities, and extensions document.  A central repository of
>HOWTOs would be nice (how about one on how to write and handle Unicode in
>Ruby?  The world doesn't end in Japan and America.)
>
>Next point.  To handle what I (and probably most Java programmers) want
>requires a good, configurable, GUI.  I'd heard of Tcl/Tk, but most of the
>examples I'd seen were pretty simplistic and, how to say this politely, not
>overdesigned.  Some of what I read mentioned others.  It's nice there's a
>choice, but you can't make a choice without information.  If you make the
>wrong choice because of lack of information, by the time you realise, you may
>have invested so much effort that you're stuck.  I took a look at Fox for my
>eval.  So, POINT 2.  Needs improved documentation.  As a minimum, some good
>examples of how GUI coding can be done with different packages, and
>INFORMATION about the different possible choices.  Oh, and the GUI code comes
>from another website? It's a separate product?  You mean I have to install
>*three* things? Ruby, the GUI toolkit, *then* the Ruby toolkit enabling
>stuff?  Where's the documentation?
>
>Finally (for this posting at least; it's too long already), distribution.
>Windows users seem to have it nice; preconfigured downloadable distros.  I
>use Linux, so of course I'm happy to download fifty-eight different source
>code tarballs from nineteen different websites for all the options I want,
>and configure, make, and install each of them (in the correct order so as not
>to muck up pre-requisites), *then* manually add links to put the libraries in
>the right place for my particular Linux distro, then copy files all over the
>place when it doesn't work.
>
>After all, that's what every Ruby hero has had to do over the years; that's
>how they learnt how Ruby works.
>
>Naah.  If I had any sense I'd have dumped this and gone on to something
>productive days ago.
>
>99% of the people you might want to attract would have; I suspect you've lost
>a few already.  We're not all sysprogs, and you need the ordinary joes as
>well as the early adopters and enthusiasts.
>
>You need to have good packages for all the distros.  Something like the Java
>SDK and Runtime packages.  A single file download and install that contains
>*everything* (yes, Victoria, the GUI as well).  OK, that means big files, but
>disks are big these days, and install procs can have things called options.
>Oh, and if you need to distribute applications to end-users (yes, those
>mythical beasts *do* exist), you need a tool to generate customised runtime
>install packages of Ruby and whatever extensions are needed (oh, and it needs
>to be able to recognise already installed rubies and do deltas).
>
>Documentation and Distro packages.  It looks to me that Ruby has some serious
>good function and serious good technical people (and maybe a couple good
>designers).  There are a lot of interesting sounding people in the Who's 
>Who.
>Shame a lot of the links are broken.
>
>What Ruby needs is some thought to the process side and the needs of the
>non-techie user. I'm an application programmer, but for my sins I've had to
>do the marketing bit to persuade people to use my products, and that sort of
>thing gives you a perspective; it's dirty work, but someone has to do it.  I
>think Ruby users at the moment are enthusiasts; if it's to grow, it needs a
>bit more ease of use.
>
>I'd say Ruby has reached the position where it needs something like a Red Hat
>(Ruby Turban?) to package it and represent it to the world.  I'd be willing
>to get involved in that.  What do you think?
>
>On Friday 30 April 2004 00:34, Simon Strandgaard wrote:
> > Josef 'Jupp' Schugt <jupp / gmx.de> wrote:
> > > Simon Strandgaard wrote:
> > > > Sascha Ebach <se / hexatex.de> wrote:
> >
> > [snip]
> >
> > > >> And if not we could burst into a PHP meeting and try to convert
> > > >> some ;)
> > > >
> > > > A ruby crusade :-)  the history repeats itself.
> > >
> > > "crusade" is a hard word. I'd prefer calling it evangelization the
> > > traditional Societas Jesu way >;-> Actually Sascha's idea reminds me
> > > of what Greenpeace did in the past.
> > >
> > > Anyway: Ruby evangelization is important because many people who
> > > don't use Ruby simply do so because the don't know it exists.
> >
> > Agree, we need to spread the word a bit more.
> >
> > Yesterday I went to the local library, and asked a guy looking at the
> > computer books, what he was searching fore. He wanted to learn perl5!
> > I of cause recommended him to learn Ruby (or secondary Python),
> > but unfortunatly no books at the library. My local library seems only to
> > buy bunches of Visual Basic books at the moment, which is unfortunate. If
> > somehow we could infect some libraries with books about Ruby, it would be
> > great.  This is frustrating, any suggestions what to do?
> >
> > Also much more Ruby in the media would be an eye-opener.
> >
> > --
> > Simon Strandgaard
>
>--
>Clear skies!
>Mike Calder.

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