notes on Journal feedback (was Re: Bundle activity)

John Gilmore gnu at
Tue Oct 7 15:59:23 EDT 2008

> Don't know where you have read that. The Journal is intended to give a
> better way to deal with the results of the interaction with the
> machine than a folders-based system inspired on office workers.

Please quit making the kids the guinea-pig for somebody's untested pet
theories about how to improve on filesystems.  We had flat filesystems
on DOS 2.0 floppies and on original Macintoshes.  They sucked.  At
least files had *names* there; the journal makes that optional!

> >  Then,
> > when it's not working they drop into the command line and delete its
> > configuration and data caches manually using rm -rf !

My experience may be indicative.

Whenever I try a new release, I always do a full reflash.  There has
never, ever been anything in my Journal that I wanted to save.  This
would not be true if I'd been able to use my laptop like a real computer.
My real computers get backed-up and lovingly upgraded.  If only the
kids had real computers they could turn to!

> > (This knowledge
> > is becoming quite common in at least one of our deployments.  Just
> > yesterday a kid from Uruguay came into #olpc-ayuda to ask exactly how to
> > do this.  And this morning a user spontaneously wrote rm
> > .sugar/default/confis into the channel...)

This is lovely!  Despite the rigorous insistence that kids be unable
to see the hierarchical filesystem that underlies all the code and
data in their laptops, they are figuring it out anyway.

How long before we admit that it's OK for them to know about it?
How long before we admit that it's OK for the interface to SHOW it?
How long before we require them to learn it, e.g. so they can navigate
our source code, or their own saved data?

How long before we stop reinventing the wheel (and the file browser,
and the file-open-dialogue, and the battery icon, and the menu of
programs, and the task bar, and the network configurator, and the
window manager), and focus our efforts on putting that already-written
stuff into a small, low power, high performance machine?

No, let's teach them that your data is saved in files with obscure
garbage names, all mixed in with stuff you could care less about.


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