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Re: Default GUI or CLI for 3.8

From: Michael D. Godfrey
Subject: Re: Default GUI or CLI for 3.8
Date: Fri, 22 Nov 2013 16:25:34 -0500
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:24.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/24.1.0

On 11/22/2013 03:53 PM, Rik wrote:
On 11/22/2013 12:31 PM, John W. Eaton wrote:
> From the messages I've seen so far, everyone seems to be in favor of
> releasing with the 3.8 version number and the GUI disabled.  That's
> OK, but I'm not sure it will accomplish what we want.
> 3.8 vs. 4.0 probably doesn't mean much to most users.  Many of them
> don't even know what version of Octave they are using.  One number is
> just as good as any other.
> We can ask, but we can't prevent packagers from enabling the GUI by
> default.
No, although I think most packagers won't go out of their way to disrespect
our wishes.

>   And users are likely to just want to run it regardless of
> what we do.  Having a --gui option won't tell them anything except
> that the GUI is optional.  It won't tell them that we consider it to
> be in a state of testing.  If that's what we want users to understand,
> then we need to be more explicit about that.  Subtle clues like
> version 3.8 instead of 4.0 and having the GUI disabled by default
> isn't enough.
We could keep the existing option --force-gui as the way to start the GUI. 
It doesn't sound that friendly and anything with "force" in it shouldn't be
something you throw in casually to an option list.

> How about adding a message box to the top menu bar that has a warning
> icon and tells people that this is the first release of the GUI and
> that we are looking for feedback and help with testing and fixing it?
I think this is good too, in addition to other measures like the
announcement in the NEWS file and requiring an option to start it.  Strings
for the new window probably won't be translated in time for release, but
that's a minor concern.
> I'm aware that there are problems, but I think the GUI is working
> pretty well on Windows and GNU/Linux systems now.  I think we should
> make it start by default on those systems (still with the warning
> displayed) just because there are more serious problems on OS X.
The GUI does work pretty well on Linux and I could recommend it there, but
my experience on Windows hasn't been great.  I know that is the system that
needs it most since Windows users almost never resort to the command line,
but I'd still call it rough.

The warning about "first release" or something a bit stronger is required in any
case.  If the choice is made to have the GUI as default the warning should make very
clear how to start Octave in CLI mode.

An argument for not making the GUI default is that due to its obvious importance
it would be seriously detrimental if many users (i.e. Windows folks) found it had
problems that impeded their work.  My experience is that once a user decides something
"does not work" it is very hard to convince them that it has been fixed, and that they
should give it another try.

Would it make sense to build rc1 as GUI default with a disclaimer that says the release
may be changed to default to CLI depending on feedback from the rc's?


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