On Feb 19, 2006, at 11:17, Glenn S. wrote:
David - we can start a flame war, all rather pointless and doesn’t do
I or anybody else any favours. Or we can simply agree to shake hands
have a “virtual” beer.
Or you could ignore him. I certainly found comments like “It takes at
most five minutes over a slow connection of clicking around to figure
that out on the ruby-lang website, hopefully much less after
the revamp, and at most 30 seconds for anyone with mediocre google
skills to get the basic points right.” to be not only annoyingly
condescending, but quite opposite of my experience, which seems to
involve spending a lot of time finding documentation misplaced,
dreadfully obscure, or just plain missing, and discovering new and
different ways for those oh-so-easy installers to fail.
I think he’s probably wrong in believing that “You don’t represent any
significant majority of Ruby users on any platform in my opinion.” You
certainly are representing my opinions pretty accurately. On the other
hand, if he’s right, then Ruby might well be going down the
incoherent-and-eventually-irrelevant path. I see there being a danger
of that, but I don’t think it’s at all inevitable, yet, thank goodness.
I think you’ve taken by initial post on this thread to be a real moan,
what I was really trying to do was simply put forward one user’s
(ie. mine) of how Ruby was being presented to potential users. For
it’s worth, I think your point “Programming languages and tools are not
end-user software.” is quite wrong.
I agree. I have and use Ruby because I want to build programs and tools
for myself…in Ruby. The time I spend having to poop around with
recompiling Ruby, reinstalling Ruby, re-downloading source for Ruby,
debugging Ruby’s installers, is wasted time. I wasted something like
three or four hours trying to get readline support working with irb,
The only installer tool I’ve used for Ruby or Ruby-related material
that has NOT errored out or installed something incorrectly
is…Apple’s standard OSX installer. Unfortunately, as far as I can
tell, right now, only Ruby 1.8.2 is available in that installer. OTOH,
it includes Readline, Gems, Rails, TclTk, and the RI documentation (and
not just all using the same installer, but in the same package! Woo
hoo!), so I may just revert backwards to it, since Gem/Rails has not
yet installed correctly in three tries (one of those tries was on a
brand-new freshly installed OSX 10.3, no less), I have to install Ruby
and Readline by downloading and compiling source (the instructions for
using CVS for that failed on the second command), Rails with Gem, and
and I still have no idea why RDoc has completely failed to document
any of the core material. I’ve read over the stuff that came with the
source code, and done what it told me, and still, trying to get
information on, say, “Array” just gets me some useless chit-chat about
something called YARV.
I’m sure if I spent more time not trying to actually get work done, I
could get that fixed, by asking questions here. But I have a copy of
Pickaxe, so I just use that. If I have to spend time working on my car
instead of driving to work, then my car isn’t very good. If I have to
spend time working on my computer instead of using it to get work done,
then my computer’s not very good. And if I have to spend time sending
messages to Ruby-Talk trying to find out how to get Ruby to work
instead of programming, then Ruby’s not very good.
I’ll tell friends who are programmers about Ruby, but I haven’t yet
recommended it to anybody. It’s too unstable, too undocumented, too
hard to use. It’s too young. I’ve completely shelved any Rails
development because hours of searching, and an inquiry posted here,
have revealed the absence of critical documentation for database
design. I just don’t have the time to join a whole new mailing list and
see if I can coax somebody to document exactly what all of Rails’
assumptions about the underlying database are. I’ve already been much
the same thing with RubyCocoa, and now THAT is actually working as
expected, and I’m getting things out that work, so I’m just going to
stick with the system I’ve got that’s running, and put off projects
that want Rails as long as possible, and hope it’s more mature when I
come back around to looking at it.
I think the biggest difference between Ruby and Groovy is that there’s
somebody who “owns” Ruby and is still actively (and effectively!)
involved: Matz. I do wish Ruby were a bit more specific. Parentheses
are sometimes but not always optional, and the like. (shudder) But it
seems to be headed in the right direction, and hopefully it won’t be
too long before the amount of time one must spend working ON Ruby
instead of working WITH Ruby drops to nearly nothing.
I also agree with you, Glenn, in that I don’t think these problems are
fundamental problems with Ruby itself, or its tools, or its community.
The problem is with people who don’t recognize or admit that these ARE
problems, and would try to deny or excuse them. These issues can be,
and are being, resolved, but only as long as they’re recognized as
issues that NEED to be resolved.
Pointing out weaknesses in something to its fan base doesn’t always
make you friends, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing. Thanks,
Glenn; hopefully your observations will help Ruby grow even stronger.