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Subject: Re: [boost] A demonstration of why horrendous error messages can destroy usability
From: Gregory Crosswhite (gcrosswhite_at_[hidden])
Date: 2011-12-12 04:10:48

Thank you to the many people who graciously offered feedback to my original message! :-)

On Dec 12, 2011, at 12:15 AM, Mathias Gaunard wrote:

> On 12/11/2011 02:29 PM, Gregory Crosswhite wrote:
>> Unfortunately, it refuses to build. Why is that? For reasons that apparently took an overwhelming *56 kilobytes of error message* to explain. (See attached, if you dare. )
> I'd quite like to see the attached "horrendous" error message, but you didn't attach anything.
>> My point is exactly and *only* the following: horrendous error messages are a *big deal* with a *serious impact*
> Indeed, though knowing how to use your tools correctly can go a long way in lessening that impact. [...]

I agree with everything you say here and I truly appreciate and have noted your advice on how to better distill useful information from error messages; perhaps someday when I am procrastinating from working on something else I will take a second shot at figuring out where the problem is. :-)

However, my point still remains: I just wanted to get a piece of software I wanted to run to compile so I could try it out. I am sufficiently technologically experienced that I am able and willing to put out a certain level of effort to fix bugs that I ran into, and the error message was so overwhelming as to raise beyond that level.

On Dec 12, 2011, at 1:27 AM, Olaf van der Spek wrote:

> Mailing lists don't like attachments.
> Try pastebin or so.

Thank you! That idea had not occurred to me but in retrospect it was the obvious solution.

The pastebin is here:

(Expiration has been set to one month so that I am not polluting their servers indefinitely. :-) )

On Dec 12, 2011, at 1:35 AM, Daniel James wrote:

> Could it be this issue:
> There's an error message attached to the bug report (also note the
> comment there).

It could very well be.

> Can you try building with 1.47 to see if that fixes
> this?

Unfortunately, MacPorts (unlike systems such as Gentoo) doesn't seem to let you pick which version of Boost you are using trying to compile digikam with Boost 1.47 is non-trivial since I would first have to potentially recompile every other package that depended on Boost 1.48 to make sure that something didn't break.

One possibility I could consider would be to create a new local environment for MacPorts and then to build everything from scratch there, making sure that it pulled in Boost 1.47; in fact, if that is not too much trouble, I might just go ahead and play with that since one the process has been started it doesn't require too much intervention on my part, and honestly for the last couple weeks I have (very frustrating) been too sick to get real work done anyway.

(I also ran into problems simply downloading the digikam sources and getting them successfully to configure.)

On Dec 12, 2011, at 7:37 AM, Beman Dawes wrote:

> Also, Boost has a 75K limit on the size of attachments to protect
> those with slow email connections. As a courtesy, you might do far
> better to post the 7zipped error message on the web, and just point
> people to it.
> --Beman

Yes, I definitely see now that posting it elsewhere is the way to go, though it is worth noting that after compression the file was only ~ 4kb.

Thanks again everyone!

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