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For another, if tools are standardized, then updating them (say, for security patches) is a lot easier if all desktops have a common set of tools.

That's an argument I do not buy. I've worked too long in sysadmin departments. Maintainance of tools is important (and needed). And therefore, desktops shall have NO tools. Nada. You put them on a central file server, and use NFS (or whatever they use in a Windows environment) to install something once, and make it available everywhere. In a large environment, or in a heterogeneous environment, you might use AFS instead of NFS, for the same reasons.

Providing your developers a consistant set of tools, regardless of their actual physical seating place is a good thing, and independent of whether you have a standard set of tools. But standardizing (or rather, limiting) the set of tools has its benefits too. Take editors for instance. Installing a flavours of emacs, the entire army of vi look-a-likes, pico and whatever else is out there is one thing, but once you do, developers will insist you always have the latest version with all the bells and whistles possible. Of course, you'd need to keep the old version around, because someone will exploit the undocumented feature that was fixed in the newest release. And then a new flock of cheap teenagers enters the workforce, and rob the sysadmin of her valuable time by asking how to delete a line using editor X (which the sysadmin doesn't know, as she has always used 'd' or 'dd' just as god intended). And that's just free editors - there are also commercial editors like Crisp, that need license keyservers.

This is just text editors, which are relatively small and easy to maintain. But then everyone wants their favourite mail reader, news reader, web wowser, GUI editor, scripting language, coffee machine, and god knows what. Then the situation quickly becomes unmanageble.

It's best to have some form of middle ground. Have a relatively small set of tools for the same task. Emacs, vi, ed and a modern vi-look-alike for editors for instance. More editors can be included if someone can make a good case. But "I got to use vi-plus-plus with these 15 options buildin, because I like the dancing penguin theme" just isn't going to do it. "Here's vi, kiddo. It has no theme or colours. Deal with it.". And the same for other classes of tools.


In reply to Re: Usage of tools by Abigail-II
in thread Usage of tools by toadi

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