Re: [gnome-love] Things that make you go "What in the world is That?!?"

On Mon, 2004-05-24 at 15:22, Ed Mack wrote:
(Depending on which tools you are referring too, I was also new to some
of them when I started, though I was familiar with others...)

Can I ask you the same questions as Geiregat?  Which gnu building tools
are you referring to (gcc, make, auto*, etc.)?  And, which of those do
you believe are important for the beginner to know?

I can compile, link with gcc - Essentially everything I need to do and
no more. For more advanced things such as optimisation I am unsure.

make - I can use this fine, although writing the files isn't always fun

auto* - This is where my weakness lies, that part of the toolchain is an
enigma to me. I can watch ./configure do its work, but have no idea how
to use it or what it could do for me (ignoring my vague folk beliefs :) 

Fair enough.  Are all of these answers to both questions?  If so, then I
have three more questions (I'll explain in a minute why I have so many
  1) Why would (or why wouldn't) new developers need to know about
     optimizing options of gcc?
  2) Really?  Most of my makefiles start out like 5 lines long (though
     some slowly grow over time).  I'm curious as to why you don't like
     writing them.  I'm suspecting you're using examples that rely on
     more advanced make features which make them hard to understand and
     remember, but maybe it's just that I've used make for a decade and
     I really don't remember what it's like to be a beginner with that
     tool.  I *really* want to understand the beginner point of view,
     though, as I've already noticed a number of places in my tutorial
     where I assumed to much or misguided new developers into advanced
     details.  I very much want to avoid that.
  3) You are by no means the only one with a weakness in this area.
     Let me just say that you are definitely in good company.  Again, I
     have a question.  I once believed this was necessary for the
     beginner to learn.  I tried to analyze why I had thought that.  It
     appears that you may have thought the same.  What led you to
     believe that?

Okay, about the reason I'm asking so many questions: I started trying to
learn how to develop with Gnome in the latter half of 2002.  I came
across a large number of frustrations in doing so.  I thought for a long
time that the problem (beside my slowness at learning) was lack of
documentation.  Currently, I believe that's only part of the problem... 
I think that we have systematically mislead new developers into a
quagmire of irrelevant details.  Seriously.  It's been so bad, that even
after trying to write up a guide for newbies, I found myself guilty of
doing the exact same thing (I've tried to revise my guide as I've found
this out, but I'm sure problems remain).  And I believe it has caused no
end of problems.  I've been meaning to write up my thoughts and
discoveries and put them online somewhere.  I'm so inquisitive because
I'm just trying to get a few extra viewpoints...


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