Heater
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Re: Why is everything so difficult?

Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:22 am

r3d4,

Well, perhaps I should have said "impossible to reproduce exactly what they have done".

Most we are lucky, things have not changed too much since whatever was written was written, different versions of different components are still compatible, magically we get it working.

It's just that I'm into a bit scientific rigour for this kind of thing. It helps a lot with those failure cases.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

gkreidl
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Re: Why is everything so difficult?

Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:23 am

Heater wrote: Four decades of watching the evolution of computing, hardware and software has convinced me it's as irrational as anything else humans do.
I completely agree, but I was speaking about "computing". Take bug fixing as an example. If you are not completely rational you'll never find the cause of a bug.
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rpdom
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Re: Why is everything so difficult?

Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:29 am

jamesh wrote:With regard to the official docs, I wonder if we should have a thread that asks people to read and report any issues. The Foundation is really a bit small to be constantly re-reading even their own docs (there are a lot of them) and figuring out where they are deficient, so crowd sourcing might be a good option. Hmm, I talk to the Foundation about that.
That might be an idea.

I reported an issue with one of the docs on github and it was dealt with very promptly. There's at least one other document that people seem to have been having issues with and I will go through that one and see if I can suggest any changes. I'm not familiar enough with github to do a pull request, but I will raise an issue if needed and suggest changes and corrections.

ShiftPlusOne
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Re: Why is everything so difficult?

Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:31 am

jamesh wrote: With regard to the official docs, I wonder if we should have a thread that asks people to read and report any issues. The Foundation is really a bit small to be constantly re-reading even their own docs (there are a lot of them) and figuring out where they are deficient, so crowd sourcing might be a good option. Hmm, I talk to the Foundation about that.
One problem with that is that even when issues are raised, they can sit there unaddressed for a long time. Someone needs to find the time to go over the issue, verify that it's a valid problem, find the solution, test that it works and then update the documentation. It's a bit difficult when the documentation is for something you personally never use and have no interest in and you have a long list of other more urgent things to do. Many issues are subjective "wouldn't it be better if this was worded this way?" type of issues. But I agree that it's important to find the time to fix these things once in a while, because bad instructions are worse than no instructions.

So I am not sure if it would be the answer to the problem, but it would certainly help.

Pithagoros
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Re: Why is everything so difficult?

Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:32 am

ShiftPlusOne wrote:When people find official outdated instructions, it would help if an issue was raised or better yet, a pull request was sent.
Would be good, but often a google search will pull back everything from personal blog posts to Stackoverflow and sometime Fakebook.

Heater
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Re: Why is everything so difficult?

Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:34 am

gkreidl,

Can't argue with you there.

Although I usually fix bugs with my wit, charm and repartee. Or threats of extreme violence, depending on the case.

That usually gets the software authors to fix it.

:)
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

Pithagoros
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Re: Why is everything so difficult?

Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:40 am

I'll volunteer to go through some of the docs if it will help.
I've got a lot of Pi stuff, multiple units of everything with the exception of the Compute Module.

I've been itching to do something to help the Pi cause, and I can benefit by learning a lot of new stuff.

gordon77
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Re: Why is everything so difficult?

Tue Jan 19, 2016 10:17 am

Pithagoros wrote:I'll volunteer to go through some of the docs if it will help.
I've got a lot of Pi stuff, multiple units of everything with the exception of the Compute Module.

I've been itching to do something to help the Pi cause, and I can benefit by learning a lot of new stuff.
+1. Assuming it's stuff I might understand ;)

jamesh
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Re: Why is everything so difficult?

Tue Jan 19, 2016 12:18 pm

Pithagoros wrote:I'll volunteer to go through some of the docs if it will help.
I've got a lot of Pi stuff, multiple units of everything with the exception of the Compute Module.

I've been itching to do something to help the Pi cause, and I can benefit by learning a lot of new stuff.
You don't have to volunteer - Just Do It, and post any issues to github!

Even better, and if you have the required knowledge, pull requests are also very welcome, as it saves a lot of time to have replacement documentation ready to go, that just needs peer review.
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Navyscourge
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Re: Why is everything so difficult?

Tue Jan 19, 2016 7:43 pm

gordon77 wrote: +1. Assuming it's stuff I might understand ;)
In reality, it is better if you don't understand it. New Pi owners won't, and experts will read something like "sodo command" and know subconciously that it means "sudo command".

It is important, as suggested above, that when you check a RPF guide, that you list the versions of the software you used, so list the Python version for a Python lesson, and the version of libraries, etc. It would be good if we had this at the top of every guide and lesson, so it can be easily checked by a quick 2 minute read of each article.

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rpdom
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Re: Why is everything so difficult?

Tue Jan 19, 2016 8:01 pm

Navyscourge wrote:
gordon77 wrote: +1. Assuming it's stuff I might understand ;)
In reality, it is better if you don't understand it. New Pi owners won't, and experts will read something like "sodo command" and know subconciously that it means "sudo command".
Actually, I'm quite good at this sort of stuff.

I've spent a lot of my career writing simple instructions for people who don't understand the system they are using. I tend to read each instruction carefully and look for ambiguities. Not making any assumptions was a major part of it. Asking for feedback was also part of my job.

asandford
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Re: Why is everything so difficult?

Tue Jan 19, 2016 8:30 pm

gkreidl wrote: Feelings!
Did it ever occur to you that computing is one of the most rational things?
It may have once, but 25+ years in the business drove that idea out a long time ago.
Computers may well be rational, throw in a few humans, and all bets are off.
How many totally irrational, almost religeous 'wars' have we got / had in 'rational' computing?
Off the top of my head I can think of:
  • BBC v Spectrum
    Atari v Amiga
    Windows v linux
    Apple v Microsoft
    Istuff v Andriod
    (almost any programming language) v (almost any other programming language)
    PIC v Arduino
And remember that I wrote (as an irrational human) "I feel", I doubt my PIs could give two hoots what they're running, but I do.

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Re: Why is everything so difficult?

Tue Jan 19, 2016 8:39 pm

jamesh wrote:
Pithagoros wrote:I'll volunteer to go through some of the docs if it will help.
I've got a lot of Pi stuff, multiple units of everything with the exception of the Compute Module.

I've been itching to do something to help the Pi cause, and I can benefit by learning a lot of new stuff.
You don't have to volunteer - Just Do It, and post any issues to github!

Even better, and if you have the required knowledge, pull requests are also very welcome, as it saves a lot of time to have replacement documentation ready to go, that just needs peer review.
First questions are where on github and where to find info on 'pull requests'?

asandford
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Re: Why is everything so difficult?

Tue Jan 19, 2016 8:56 pm

Heater wrote: If asandford has an example of a service not coming up because of some race condition that is a bug that should be reported and can be fixed. At least it would be good to post it here so that we know to avoid/work around it.
Networking. Fortunately, there is now an option to wait for networking to come up, but it's not the default, and it's a kludge.
In a properly ordered boot (again IMHO), the OS should wait for resources to become available before staritng processes that rely on said resources.
My PI0s run jessie, and althought they are playgrounds until some stuff arrives from China, it always feels (there I go again with my feelings!) like a gamble whether the system will come up in a coherent state.
In my Ops Analyst days, I was responsible for creating the batch schedules for mainframe and Unix systems. Jobs were scheduled to run depending on the outcomes of previous jobs and availabilty of required resources.
If systemd extended itself to scheduling (probably on its roadmap), every job would start at once and stall / fail / deadlock / run - maybe OK on a PI, not so much in an enterprise environment.

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B.Goode
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Re: Why is everything so difficult?

Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:19 pm

gordon77 wrote:
First questions are where on github
At the foot of almost every resource published by the RPF (linked from https://www.raspberrypi.org/resources/) there is a link back to the relevant area of github.

So, for example, in the case of the Burping Jelly Baby - which was the cause of a protracted thread recently with claims that the resource was fundamentally 'wrong' - the Worksheet for the Resource is at https://www.raspberrypi.org/learning/bu ... elly-baby/

Looking at the foot of any of the pages that make up the Worksheet there is a link that leads to https://github.com/raspberrypilearning. Eyeballing that list of projects, or using the filter provided, quickly brings you to the repository for that project, which is https://github.com/raspberrypilearning/ ... jelly-baby

I was in the camp that said there was nothing wrong with that Worksheet as published. What do you think?

Heater
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Re: Why is everything so difficult?

Tue Jan 19, 2016 10:11 pm

asandford,
Networking. Fortunately, there is now an option to wait for networking to come up, but it's not the default, and it's a kludge.
I thought that might be the case.

Question then is: Why does your application need networking to be up before it is?

Networking, by it's very nature, is intermittent and unreliable. There is no logical order to start things that require a network connection. Maybe they have a connection, maybe they don't. If they do maybe they don't a second later.

Applications should be tolerant of this unreliability.

Now, if you are saying the OS itself does not come up properly then we would like to know how, this is not my experience so far.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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liz
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Re: Why is everything so difficult?

Tue Jan 19, 2016 10:11 pm

I *know* that the Jellybaby resource is being used in thousands of schools worldwide with no problems. (The user in the thread in question seemed to have a touch of fat finger syndrome.)
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rpdom
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Re: Why is everything so difficult?

Wed Jan 20, 2016 8:32 am

liz wrote:I *know* that the Jellybaby resource is being used in thousands of schools worldwide with no problems. (The user in the thread in question seemed to have a touch of fat finger syndrome.)
The Jellybaby resource was one that I am planning to look again at, although I couldn't see any problem with it on my initial glance.

I'm quite good at pretending to act like I know nothing when reading instructions :)

Heater
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Re: Why is everything so difficult?

Wed Jan 20, 2016 9:12 am

asandford,

Don't forget the Emacs vs Vim wars.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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rpdom
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Re: Why is everything so difficult?

Wed Jan 20, 2016 9:26 am

Heater wrote:asandford,

Don't forget the Emacs vs Vim wars.
"Do you really think I would use emacs?"
"No Mister Bond, I expect you to vi!"
:lol:

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rurwin
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Re: Why is everything so difficult?

Wed Jan 20, 2016 9:49 am

hippy wrote:People expect problems in what they create, but expect the foundations they are building on to work as advertised. It's frustrating when they don't and, when it happens often enough it, it becomes easy to think it's a steaming pile of horse manure written by Mole People.

It is perhaps an unreasonable expectation that the foundations will work flawlessly, but it's understandable there will be frustration when one has done everything right only to find a project sunk because someone else hasn't.
This problem is not limited to the Raspberry Pi or even the Open Source community. Every product has bugs. In my day job I write software for Windows and we have found bugs in most of the third-party libraries we use. But those libraries are closed source and often we are not using the latest versions of them (because that would cost more money, or because we are not ready to go to 64-bit, or because we would have to re-write too much code.) The developers are usually not interested in fixing an issue that only affects a small user of an obsolete version. At least with open-source it is possible to dive into the code and either fix it yourself or have someone else do it.

Every now and again with both Windows and Linux I get a problem that has me tearing my hair out in frustration for three days. With Windows I emerge beaten and humiliated having reformatted and reinstalled the OS. With Linux I learn something new and get it to work for me because, even though it may be hard to find and harder to understand, even if you have to read the source-code, the truth is out there. With a closed-source product the truth is locked away and the published documentation is all that there is.

jasoncampbell4
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Re: Why is everything so difficult?

Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:09 am

I’m glad that there are voices saying every OS/platform has problems- so it boils down to different problems. Also Pi is supposed to be educational; at its simplest it is no more complicated than installing W98 was back in the day (easier as far as I’m concerned) except as you master it you won’t be confined by closed source.

Windows isn’t intended to be educational, although it certainly was back in W98 days, just to get the graphics card working! Even W10 is still throwing up problems every day and your only real hope is to wait for MS to solve those. About the best you can say about Windows is while there might not be a solution there’s always a work around, whereas with open source there’s always a solution you just haven’t found it yet.

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Re: Why is everything so difficult?

Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:13 am

To respond to a more recent post...
rpdom wrote:I'm not familiar enough with github to do a pull request, but I will raise an issue if needed and suggest changes and corrections.
I wrote an article that may help you there: http://www.soronlin.org.uk/github-setup

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rpdom
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Re: Why is everything so difficult?

Wed Jan 20, 2016 11:24 am

rurwin wrote:To respond to a more recent post...
rpdom wrote:I'm not familiar enough with github to do a pull request, but I will raise an issue if needed and suggest changes and corrections.
I wrote an article that may help you there: http://www.soronlin.org.uk/github-setup
Thanks :)

I'll have a look at that when I'm ready to have a go at that sort of thing.

It wasn't so much a "can't find out how", as a "haven't got time for it now, and it's low on my priority list".

asandford
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Re: Why is everything so difficult?

Wed Jan 20, 2016 7:35 pm

Heater wrote:asandford,

Don't forget the Emacs vs Vim wars.
Didn't know about that one.

Also didn't mention playstation v xbox.

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