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RE: [XaraXtreme-dev] Doesn't start on Suse
- From: "Charles Moir" <CharlesM@xxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2006 12:19:46 +0100
- Subject: RE: [XaraXtreme-dev] Doesn't start on Suse
> Whilst this one is probably possible to catch as it's late
> loaded (pango is the font rendering stuff), most shared
> library problems are not late-loaded and you would not have
> this option. This is exactly the same as windows. If you just
> copy a binary onto a windows platform, and expect it to work,
> it won't.
That's not what I expect or am asking for. I'm just asking that I get
useful error messages, as a user, so I can tell or report what's gone
wrong. And Windows does do that. It will say 'can't find xxx.dll' or
words to that effect.
As such Linux is incredibly user hostile and Windows is a lot more user
friendly (and I'm talking normal users here who just double click a file
and expect to see something, if only an error, happen.)
> Hoping to
> produce a binary that will just load and run, when it needs
> shared libraries, is I think cloud cuckoo land.
I'm not asking for that, just that I get user-friendly alert like
'XaraLX can't find the Pango (version xyz) shared library'
Even that would enable most users to suss it out themselves rather than
involving customer support (which doesn't exist on Linux). Even those
user's who can't solve it themselves, if they report that error to
anyone, say on a Forum, it's instantly obvious to more experienced Linux
users what the problem is and how it can be solved easily (e.g. using
their package manager to get Pango for example).
For a user to just report 'well it didn't start and didn't give any
helpful error message', is clearly not in the slightest useful or
helpful to the user or anyone trying to help that user.
It may be unavoidable that we have an install, But installers are, I'm
afraid, disgusting things, a source of a great deal of pain and expense,
and the world appears to be moving away from them. (e.g. Mac). It is
undeniable that it's a lot, lot better for everyone if the program is
stand-alone runable, relies on no installers to create secret
incantations with registry setting or other hidden stuff (MS even have
been recommending not to use the registry and to use local settings
files for some years now for this very reason). Install problems are
probably the single most expensive problem that most commercial software
vendors face (I know it is for Xara) and the single most frustrating
problems for users.
So the ideal solution is that the application is smart, able to test it
has the environment it requires, is able to report to the user when bits
are missing. It should self-register (things like file type
associations, thumbnail viewers, icons, registry entries etc) without
relying on someone else having done this for it. That is the way the
world is moving and is what Microsoft are recommending is a goal as
> That's not much different from requiring a modern version of
There is one very significant difference. Windows alerts users there is
a problem, Linux (double click) does not. One attempts to help the user,
the other does not attempt to help the user.
> Note that on windows you wouldn't even get the option to type
> a cryptic command line incantation. You'd just double click
> on the icon and nothing would happen,
No, something would happen. I can't recall ever seeing a Windows program
just quit (or worse) not even start, with no message, error or anything.
Case in point. I just deleted a critical shared library on Xara Xtreme
for Windows and attempted to start it. I got this error message
"The application has failed to start because xaradraw.dll was not
found." I'm not even sure Xara produced this error message. I suspect
it might have come from the OS.
And that's the simple point I'm trying to make - that is useful. Simply
disappearing-with-no-message is not useful.
Why, if it can output useful or semi-useful messages to the console when
it fails to start an application (from the console) can't it provide the
same info in a nice user-friendly pop-up alert when you double click to
start the application. Sending error messages, in effect, down the drain
is a pointless.
And yes I agree we should also be providing OS packages to try and
resolve these problems, but we don't have them (or rather we're getting
near having a .deb I understand) but that doesn't help users on the
Perhaps a universal installer is what we require. The klik guys have
been chasing us to use that.
For 0.5 we require that these problems be resolved. i.e. that I can
start the application on a plain vanilla Ubuntu and it works (it doesn't
right now) or Suse, or any other common Linux.