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Re: use of SLUG mailing list
I tend to think of the SLUG mailing list as a public forum for those of
us interested in the kind of computing done on Symbolics computers. It
is not intended as a replacement for CUSTOMER-REPORTS nor should things
that might go to CUSTOMER-REPORTS be avoided on SLUG.
If you communicate to CUSTOMER-REPORTS (and I presume not everyone pays
for software support) you generally wind up talking to one person and
that person typically is not one of the that directly affects the future
directions of Symbolics. Those people do see the messages and they do
use them as input.
However, if you do communicate over SLUG, then you do communicate with a
lot of people. The people at Symbolics are not typical users. They
have full sources, lots of machines, lots of in-house expertise.
By expressing opinions, frustrations, or hopes to real users, you may
find you strike a chord and discover problems you have are not peculiar
to you or your site. I think we are hearing frustrations with the
command processor interface (or its documentation at least).
I've had a person at our site say she felt SLUG had a lot of mail
(more than they wanted). If anyone feels they get too much mail on
SLUG, you can express your opinion as Barry did or you can ask
SLUG-REQUEST (or your local distribution maintainer) to remove you.
Maybe Barry's letter will reduce mail that he finds objectionable.
While I don't always feel all the mail is useful to me, I don't recall
any I think shouldn't have been sent.
(As an aside, if I had been the one interested in computer music, I
would have looked around for awhile for such a list (eg, the List-of-Lists
that is kept on SRI-NIC) or checked up on mailing lists of machines
that have many more people doing music. I suspect the Macintosh list
(INFO-MAC) might be more appropriate; I know the INFO-ATARI16 list has a lot
of people that use that machine for generating music. I also believe
there is(was?) a computer music group at Stanford that uses LM2's.
Don't misunderstand... I was not unhappy to see the message; it was simply
of no use to me.)
Anyway, while specific bug reports and recommendations clearly should
be sent to CUSTOMER-REPORTS (although I wish I could read those too as
it might save me days of tracking down a bug or months of putting up
with something that could be corrected), I think no one should feel
intimidated from sending whatever *they* feel is appropriate for the
SLUG mailing list. Especially welcomed by me are hints (eg, you can
still put :MOUSE-CLICK methods on Dynamic-Windows which do a
:FORCE-INPUT of a constructed command) and opinions (eg, our people
have very little/no respect for Symbolics Prolog).
By the way, I personally feel that Symbolics shouldn't respond to bug
reports on the SLUG mailing list unless it is to Symbolics's benefit.
(After all, people do pay for software support.) I would be happy if
Symbolics chose to use SLUG (or an electronic mailing list of their
own) for electronically distributing warnings or bug fixes. It does
seem a while since the last customer bulletin we've received.