Growing Pains

I spent most of today trying to configure my new ServInt account, moving domain names, and changing name server settings.  It's a quite a learning experience/torture.  ServInt account is a VPS account which is just a step below a dedicated server.  Such an account is used by resellers to divide up the bandwidth and storage for sale to those who just wants modest bandwidth and storage.  So it was configured bareass.  Gee, where is my copy of Linux for Dummies?

What I can't figure out is how in the world software like cPanel became popular?  What is the point of putting up user-friendly forms for Linux server administration if you are not going to explain anything about what the forms does, explain input being requested, and what the effects and possible problems will be?  Sure, cPanel has documentation but it's just as skimpy.  It goes something like this,

To assign name server IP, enter IP address for the name server in that box and press Submit.

When you scratch your head and enter an IP address, it will say something like X is assigned to Y.  Huh?  Where did Y come from?  With all that space left empty on the form, why do you need a separate documentation at all?  Why not just include the documentation on the form and turn the form into a Wiki so I can made notes on it and share it with others?

While it's easy to blame the Unix mentality, Windows software aren't much better.  When was the last time you saw a dialog or a wizard that explained itself to your satisfaction?  Help button on those dialogs are common but what is the use when there are idiotic text that rarely say anything beyond the self-evident.

Excuses I often hear are:

  • It's obvious.
  • I am not a GUI engineer.
  • What do you expect from open source?
  • File a bug report.

Most geeks are just too obsessed with adding new nifty features than polishing what they already have more accessible.