Too Busy For Words - the PaulWay Blog

Wed 1st Feb, 2012

Critical Thinking

In the inevitable rant-fest that followed the LWN story on the proposal to have /lib and /bin point to /usr/lib and /usr/bin respectively (short story), I observe with wry amusement the vocal people who say "Look at PulseAudio - it's awful, I have to fight against all the time, that's why we shouldn't do this". The strange, sad thing about these people is that they happily ignore all those people (like me) for whom PulseAudio just works. There's some little concieted part of their brain that says "I must be the only person that's right and everyone else has got it wrong." It's childish, really.

And in my experience, those people often make unrealistic demands on new software, or misuse it - consciously or unconsciously, and with or without learning about it. These people are semi-consciously determined to prove that the new thing is wrong, and everything they do then becomes in some way critical of it. Any success is overlooked as "because I knew what to do", every failure is pounced on as proof that "the thing doesn't work". I've seen this with new hardware, new software, new cars, new clothes, new houses, accommodation, etc. You can see it in the fact that there's almost no correlation between people who complain about wind generator noise and the actual noise levels measured at their property. Human beings all have a natural inclination to believe that they are right and everything else is wrong, and some of us fight past that to be rational and fair.

This is why I didn't get Rusty's post on the topic. It's either completely and brilliantly ironic, or (frankly) misguided. His good reasons are all factual; his 'bad' reasons are all ad-hominem attacks on a person. I'd understand if it was e.g. Microsoft he was criticising - e.g. "I don't trust Microsoft submitting a driver to the kernel; OT1H it's OK code, OTOH it's Microsoft and I don't trust their motives" - because Microsoft has proven so often that their larger motives are anti-competition even if their individual engineers and programmers mean well. But dmesg, PulseAudio, and systemd have all been (IMO) well thought out solutions to clearly defined problems. systemd, for example, succeeds because it uses methods that are simple, already in use and solve the problem naturally. PulseAudio does not pretend to solve the same problems as JACK. I agree that Lennart can be irritating some times, but I read an article once by someone clever that pointed out that you don't have to like the person in order to use their code...

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