Full Article Attached Minutes of the Staff Meeting of Monday 28th April 2003

Friday May 2nd, 2003

The minutes of the staff meeting of Monday 28th April 2003 are now online. Issues discussed include 1.4 Beta, 1.3.1, Mozilla Firebird 0.6 and 1.5 onwards.

#29 I agree...

by SmileyBen

Saturday May 3rd, 2003 4:11 AM

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In case it wasn't clear, I do completely agree. What I was saying *wasn't* that there should be no more preferences than there currently are, but simply that the discussion amoungst Asa and the others linked above, with all due respect, is a little facile. Asa points out that about:config and prefs.js are the place for the hundreds (thousands?) of weird and wacky preferences that are possible because of mozilla's flexible design. I was saying that just about EVERYONE can see that most of these hundreds of preferences shouldn't be exposed to the user, because nobody is ever going to use them, except for very specialised cases. A good example are options that aid debugging the browser whilst its being written: clearly about:config may allow for easy access to developers, whilst a user would NEVER want this, and would be terrified by the sudden appearance of debug information.

But the reason this discussion is pretty facile is that nobody doubts that there are a huge number of preferences that we don't need access to, but that's beside the point. The reason that people have a problem is that loads of options that *do* need exposure aren't there. It seems bizarre to me, and presumably to the others here, that anybody should be suggesting that setting user_pref("general.smoothScroll", false); is anywhere near the same league as unticking the box that says 'Enable smooth scrolling'. If about:config was altered so that it had tick boxes and nice descriptions of the option (such as 'Stop most links opening in a new browser when you don't ask them to'), then maybe it would be acceptable, but that would rather defeat the point.

So, to try to put this briefly, yes, Asa et al., we know that there are plenty of prefs no user will ever use, nobody disputes that, the problem is that the current policy on prefs avoids loads of middle-user option, and in fact plenty of basic options, that need an easy, tells-you-what-it'll-do preference.