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Re: [Bug-gnubg] PNG Export

From: Gary Wong
Subject: Re: [Bug-gnubg] PNG Export
Date: Sat, 28 Dec 2002 12:07:26 -0500
User-agent: Mutt/1.3.28i

On Sat, Dec 28, 2002 at 01:58:24PM +0100, Jim Segrave wrote:
> I agree with this summary. The majority of gnubg users probably aren't
> "computer literate" and as gnubg improves in features and ease of use
> under Windows, this is going to become more the case. Wherever
> possible, gnubg should "do the right thing" by default, and, as the
> majority of users will be running some version of Windows, it should
> default to adding extensions.

Perhaps... but the primary target for GNU Backgammon (and all GNU
software, for that matter) is the GNU system (see
http://www.gnu.org/prep/standards_27.html, for example).  Other free
systems (e.g. *BSD) are generally worth supporting, but portability to
(and usability on) proprietary systems such as Solaris or MS Windows
is very much a secondary issue.

Interoperability and consistency with other GNU software is an
important goal (see http://www.gnu.org/evaluation/evaluation.html).
So it seems clear that on the GNU system, gnubg should not try to
enforce/recommend file naming conventions, nor should its behaviour
depend on the way a file is named, since the GNU system generally
does not operate that way.

In some situations, it might be a good idea to provide different
behaviour when running on non-GNU systems.  (For instance, we
currently have other code to determine the user's "home directory" on
systems which don't support home directories.)  I think this is a
reasonable thing to do in some circumstances, but when taken to
extremes, it is likely to cause more platform-dependent bugs, clutter
the (eventual!) documentation with exceptions, and make the code
harder to maintain for the GNU system.  When it comes down to it,
users of non-GNU systems must realise that gnubg is not a native
program for their system.  They might want to use it anyway, or they
might prefer a native program which behaves more like and operates
better with software they are used to, in which case they are probably
better served with a native interface on top of the gnubg engine
(such as Mike Rudman's Blowfish).

   Gary Wong           address@hidden           http://www.cs.arizona.edu/~gary/

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