Re: Thank you to the author of MC

On Mon, 7 May 2007, Tim wrote:

Robert Black wrote:

When I was teaching myself Linux about nine years ago and X was still having
growing pains Midnight Commander probably meant the difference between
learning linux and giving up as most work was done from the command line.
I realized today that I never said thanks back then when it probably would
have meant a lot more. Not sure what the status of the original author is but
if anyone knows let me know.

I have to agree.  I don't even bother with GUIs and MC is my main tool ... and it should
be.  I think it's important to have a good system maintenace tool independant of X.


See you,

Mc mailing list

In spite of, or perhaps because of the fact that I sent in a hot letter complaining about a usability issue the other day, I would like to say that I strongly endorse these comments. They very much agree with my experiences way back when. I heartily agree with the continuing need to have powerful tools which are independent of a GUI. I do a lot of work in X these days because I am doing camera support for ghoto and need the graphics capability. But to this day I do not run any of the fancy desktops. Just a locally customized FVWM2, with MC the typical tool for getting work done.

So I definitely do not want anyone to think this is an old, outmoded piece of software and decide to go and do something sexy instead. Sorry if I have appeared to criticize and not help, but I am pretty busy writing code, too.

Incidentally, do I have it right that now Alt-I is doing what Alt-O used to do? Perhaps I can just get used to it.

I also said in my previous letter that I might have some suggestions. Here's one:

We have a directory called /mnt, and we also have things like USB cameras and flash drives. And for that matter there are old things like floppies (huh? Daddy, what's a floppy?). How nice it would be if, without needing to do something really silly like intermittent device polling, but, perhaps with appropriate fstab entries, one could set up MC to

-- mount a USB stick automatically. That is, if one does something like to open the directory /mnt/usb and the stick is connected, then the stick gets mounted.

-- warn if copying, or refuse to copy, to /mnt/usb if no storage device is present (who would want to copy anything there if no device is present, anyway?), or refuse to open said directory without a warning statement that no drive is present.

-- warn immediately if some idiot jerks the flash drive loose while its associated directory is open.

-- offer the choice to the user (in setup and explained in the man page) of umounting the flash drive when the associated directory is closed, or of popping up a dialog box asking if it should remain mounted or be unmounted immediately.

The above things should of course be optional features, which can be turned on or off by root for all the users. These are things which would really add to user-friendliness for home systems, but obviously could be security nightmares in some other environments.

Something like this would be really helpful for people who like to use MC anyway and would alleviate the need of some others to have to have a popup icon on the desktop when someone sticks a flash drive in the USB slot. Popup icons are all very nice. But for that matter if a popup icon can be done without wasting system resources, it might also be possible to cause MC to pop open in a window automatically when something is plugged in, with one of the panels open to the flash drive, and the drive gets unmounted when the window is closed.

Me, I think the first proposal might be easier to implement. Also this is MC and it does not have to be done exactly the same way it is done in KDE or in Windows or in OS-10.

I am not the world's living expert on USB stuff, but I do know a little about it and have a little bit of practical experience with things like hotplug and udev, from my work on USB cameras. So I could probably help from that side. What I definitely do not know is the internals of the MC code. Anybody interested?

Theodore Kilgore

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