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2020/06/12 Reply Demifiend Re:Games


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Demifiend.org

Said f(r)iend makes quick and nimble hash of the basic con job which is proprietary video gaming. Computers with locked down OS’s indeed they are, and as such may be up to all sorts of mischief besides their grotesque inaccessibility. Especially given how many video gaming platforms are now mostly software driven, even at the personal expense of users downloading content, their high price point is probably an overwrought profit.


Part of said rant was that all games ought to be easily compilable by no more than

./configure
make
sudo make install

This frustration is certainly one I must co-sign, and a mete criticism of the high walls around ‘nix culture in general. It’s understandable when a dev is fiddling with a smol or new doohickey and hasn’t had time for proper documentation. But I’ve come up against many projects in which steps to basic installation were assumed of the user, especially neglecting to mention dependencies which may be exotic or hard to install themselves. If any trouble in compilation is encountered, there is nigh no support for remedy. I’d say about 2/3 of Unix doohickeys I utilize are such a muddle.


This dovetails with discussions I’ve had recently on fediverse around the grotesque obtuseness of man pages. If there isn’t ample use of examples, they are useless for many users. Poor documentation is endemic to this culture and one wasting gigahours, I wager.


Man pages are a pickle. But installation guides should be an easy fix. If a ware is released, please provide a QuickStart section in the readme using the most lucid of terms. If compiling requires more than the above, or if exotic dependencies must be had, that is jake. But the acquisition of these dependencies ought to be spelled out without much uncertainty.


Testing is a vague rôle in the dev process insofar as criteria for being a “good tester” hasn’t been spelled out to my mind at least. But I’d hazard much of this muddle could be sorted out by having intermediate Unix user but non-coder testers simply try to install the product and report any issues. It wouldn’t take long to hash out any obscurity in the readme from such an effort. This should be a “standard thing” in the development process.


An arrogantly naïve suggestion, this, perhaps. But having banged my head against many a poorly documented ware, I offer it with tearful implorement.


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