Re: Unknown command line options and --help

On Mon, 2003-04-21 at 23:38, Mariano Suarez-Alvarez wrote:

> Error messages need not be impenetrable!
> There is nothing hermetic in ls's response here:
>     $ ls --not-an-option
>     ls: unrecognized option `--not-an-option'
>     Try `ls --help' for more information.
> This message clearly states what the error is...

Again, I agree - but how can you express this from a GUI perspective, as
most of the GNOME binaries are going to need to do?

> If programmers start writing error messages like ``Error 1652417
> at 0x19A02D38E7'' then we'll be in trouble, of course; but that's not
> what happens usually: even the linux kernel has some very informative
> messages :)

Is that a real life error? Have you been playing with some of my old
projects? :)

> As to giving the user a means to fix the problem at the touch of a button,
> that is not possible except for the most trivial of problems. Trying to
> provide simple (from the user's view point) `solutions' to problems that
> do not admit simple solutions is the best way to turn any system into
> something unusable. It ends up making life more difficult even to the
> kind of user those `solutions' are meant to help; word processors and
> their insistence in making things one-click-away come to my mind as
> examples.

I really wasn't thinking of anything this world-changing :) Perhaps just
'Do you want to continue ignoring this option?' or something similar.

As for word processors - they never got the level of helpfulness right.
MS Word can tell I'm writing a letter, and offer to help - but it stays
eerily silent when I need to hand in an assignment in less than 24 hours


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