Re: [dev] Minimalist software. Should I care?

From: dther <>
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2023 23:40:51 +1000

So, a lot of people have weighed in on this one email.
So much so that it's taken up about my screen space in replies.
I've decided to jump in with my own two cents, because why not.
It's a fun question to chew on.

I use minimal software because I find it fun to hack software,
and I find peace of mind in being able to understand said software.
I use suckless software because I discovered that I
greatly prefer programming in minimal UNIX-like environments
over literally anything else.

I also found that I wanted *a lot less* from my computers than I expected.
I liked vim more than I liked IDEs, so I used it.
Then I found out I liked neovim more.
Now I'm using Berkley nvi and I'm surprised how little I really need.
(I still miss some stuff, but not enough to bother installing a vim package
on my new installations.)
Maybe if I were a Java or Python developer, I'd like IDEs more,
but I'm not, so I don't. Cscope and the compiler is enough.

It's like woodworking, y'know? There's a million different ways to shape wood,
and none of them are "better" than any other.
Many woodworkers swear by a table saw, and say that you literally cannot
make furniture fast enough to sustain a major business without it.
And the data backs them up there- just about every furniture factory on the
planet that turns a profit relies on a table saw.

But I don't have a table saw, I make like, 1 piece of furniture a month using
hand tools, for fun. I've never sold one. I've made negative dollars doing
furniture work. But you know what I *do* have? A cool bench to sit on,
the bruised thumbs to show for it, and a pile of scrap wood from all the times
I *didn't* manage to make a bench. I enjoyed the process enough that I tried it
again until I got it. And also I can't afford a table saw anyway.

But (this) software was free!
Try something out, and if you don't like it, stop using it.
Or maybe you like *most of it* and just want to change something small.
That happens enough times, you end up somewhere like here. ONE OF US. ONE OF US

oh and final note: bloat is subjective. if I didn't care about social media
I wouldn't have a browser. If I didn't care about playing music in the shed,
I wouldn't use spotify.
(yes i use mpd when i'm at my computer but i own a smart phone, sue me)

Different people ask different things of their computers,
I like this software because it does what I ask.

 - dther

On 23/07/04 07:06PM, Nikita Krasnov wrote:
> Just bear with me on this one, this is not a bait or a troll, I promise. I
> genuinely fell very confused.
> What would be the point of using minimalist software if bloated and
> excessively complex programs completely satisfy all my needs? I am not the
> kind of person that works directly with hardware, but it's not like I use my
> system only as a bootloader for a web browser either. It's just that my
> current workflow feels pretty complete to me.
> Take LaTeX, for example. I do all of my LaTeX in TeXstudio and, frankly, I'm
> satisfied with it. Autocompletion is there by default and there are many
> shortcuts that I don't need to set up myself. I simply use the all of this.
> You could say that TeXstudio is pretty bloated and isn't that flexible in
> terms of configuring and using it in conjunction with other applications.
> And you'd be right. But if I'll try to use more minimalist software like
> Neovim I would spend an endless amount of time configuring and patching all
> the features I now take for granted. And even if I succeed, there will
> certainly be a time when I would need some feature I haven't thought of in
> advance (a need to use a debugger inside Nvim, idk) and I would have to
> either avoid this feature for the time being or abandon anything I am
> currently doing and try to search information on how to integrate this thing
> into my system and into my workflow.
> If I had used one of the bloated programs I probably could have found a
> solution in one of the menus after reading few Stack Overflow answers. But
> with Neovim I'd have to first find the program that would be suitable for
> what I try to achieve, then I'd have to read many lines or pages of
> documentation, after that I'd have to implement that thing and only then I'd
> be able to use the thing.
> Such minimalism just seems unpractical to me. Maybe I have the wrong mindset
> when it comes to these things.
> I do love using more niche and minimalist programs. I like when things are
> small, simple and understandable. I really like C over C++, Rust or anything
> else exactly for that reason. It's just makes computers fun, comfortable and
> cute (idk how else to describe it). But am not fond of endlessly configuring
> these things before they become even semi-practical. I really don't know
> what to think about all of this. What do you have to say about this?
> --
> Nikita
Received on Thu Jul 06 2023 - 15:40:51 CEST

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