[OpenWrt-Devel] [RFC] stop accepting 4/32M board patches

Alberto Bursi bobafetthotmail at gmail.com
Thu Dec 20 17:26:05 EST 2018

On 20/12/18 20:46, James Feeney wrote:
> On 12/20/18 8:54 AM, Alberto Bursi wrote:
>> So no, the 4/32 warning should stay and remain loud and clear so newbies won't be frustrated by low end devices.
> There also seems to be a presumption that a "newbie" is, or should be, running luci.  I believe that that is also an inappropriate assumption.
> Using some web interface is not necessarily any easier than using a command line interface.  Just because Apple or Microsoft teach people to use a Graphical User Interface does not mean that LEDE/OpenWRT should be doing the same thing.

GUIs (both physical and digital) have proven time and again to be easier 
to learn as they are self-explanatory (if done well, anyway) by 
providing descriptions, names, showing all you can do right away, and 
providing guided wizards for more complex procedures, and even when they 
are not done well they are usually safe enough so you can try messing 
around to learn them.

Also, very important for modern projects: a decent GUI can be operated 
with a touch-screen device. Full blown commandline eeeeh, it's a bit 
painful to use on mobile.

Commandline is not self-explanatory in the slightest (also usually not 
as "safe" as a GUI that usually has checks on input and such) and pretty 
much doing anything does require reading documentation for a while which 
can be boring and also has to exist and be maintained.

An example: I've seen posts on Phoronix forum of some Linux users that 
know how to use command line. Yet they dislike OpenWrt because here we 
have the UCI system for configuration instead of leaving the standard 
config files you can find in Linux distros. To use OpenWrt over SSH they 
would need to learn again all the ins and outs for proper configuration 
through UCI and they don't like that, so they just use Debian or Arch 
instead (they have decent ARM device support) as they know already how 
to use them.

We need to keep in mind that the main objective of end users is getting 
a job done, many come to OpenWrt because they need to run OpenVPN or 
Wireguard, have a decent firewall or run some other service on a device 
they can actually trust, the faster they can do that, the better.

They will have one or two devices at most, following the stable release 
channel (i.e. updating them once every 6 months or whatever) and these 
devices will be deployed to provide some kind of service, they aren't 
constantly tinkered with, the configuration is often set once and not 
touched again for years. Any complex procedure or command will be 
forgotten by the time they need to change it again.

>   "Newbie" is not the same thing as "Dumbed-Down".  Now, if there is no text-terminal-based configuration "helper" for LEDE/OpenWRT, again, that is a distinct issue to discuss here.
> _______________________________________________

Luci allows to do pretty much the same things you can do with command 
line for what it actually supports, I don't think it is dumbed down.

Sure many packages don't have a luci interface at all, but as-is it 
removes a lot of the burden of dealing with the basic operation of an 
OpenWrt device, so you can just read one page about the configuration 
for your specific additional package and copy-paste in terminal window 
without fully understanding the actual commands, instead of having to 
read and understand 6+ pages about basic operation which can be done in 
a minute flat, no reading required, with Luci.

A "terminal-based "helper"" would be an awesome addition, as it would 
mostly provide the same benefits of a GUI I list above, without the 
footprint of an actual GUI (as long as it is shellscript-based), while 
it could also become dumbed down, just as a GUI can. (kinda less cool 
for mobile device usage though, but still much better than normal 
commandline operation)

But there is no such thing at the moment. The two possible choices are 
Luci GUI or commandline access. And as I said commandline with no 
"helper" is not really user-friendly, which leads to the "newbies will 
likely need Luci" assumption you find in the wiki and in the forum.


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