It just kills me that in 2021, in a default Debian install, console colours are deliberately turned off by default and the argument made in the comment doing it amounts to “I find tinsel very distracting”.

I actually find the based-in-the-physical artefacts of the ancient days of Unix kind of endearing - adduser asking me for my room number is charming as hell! - but there are still so many really regressive, exclusionary ideas rattling around under the hood here that it gets harder to really love every time you look under the hood.

@mhoye I mean, it is the worst Xmas tree decoration. ;) But yes, that is a bad decision.

@Greg @mhoye “I dislike any attempt to highlight important information. All characters printed to the terminal are as important as all others.”

@mhoye What worries me is people who cut their teeth on these habits and who have achieved some fame in their field carrying them into new projects through their influence and reputation.

This is a subtoot of a specific person, but the problem generalizes. The "hacker mythos" gatekeeping and the subtle worship of making things hard and then demanding that others prove themselves worthy sneaks in through lots of places.

@owen "I have suffered and am good, therefore you must suffer in order to become good, and my causing your suffering is also good", is a familiar cycle, isn't it.

@mhoye I mildly complained about that on the fediverse before and was promptly chastised by somebody. 😆

(The irony for me is that part of the reason I like color prompts is that it helps me scan my screen and find the places where I entered commands so that I can better focus on the "output of commands". Anyway...)

@cstanhope @mhoye

The one good reason I can think of for doing this is that there are multiple terminal implementations of varying quality so it might be a good idea to turn off things requiring some of the less-used features so that the user doesn't get stuck with an incomprehensible prompt. A mono screen is still usable, at least; if the terminal doesn't recognize colour codes but claims it can, the session may be unusable.

@suetanvil I'm not that concerned about the default, which could have valid reasons as you state. But the reasons presented in the comment are not valid and are weirdly condescending. That was what I had mildly complained about originally. Have your mono default, but don't lecture me about how my preference for using color is bad when I go in there to change it. :)


Agreed. You have (and had) a valid point and I apologize if I came across as dismissive about it. That wasn’t my intent.

In the spirit of trying to see the best in people, it’s possible that the original author recognized the problem I presented but wasn’t able to articulate the reasoning and so wrote the obnoxious comment we see.

@suetanvil No apologies necessary! And you're right that I should not judge the commenter(s) from that one comment. The comment could probably be improved, but that doesn't mean the intention was originally condescension.

@mhoye maybe it's just reverse psychology to make people more interested in their dotfiles?

@pizza_pal a neat idea, but it presumes a level of intentionality and self-awareness that is not, to put it mildly, in evidence.

@mhoye i think it's pretty on-brand (or "anti-brand," maybe?) for debian. the default appearance of everything is always butt-ugly on a fresh debian install.

it's funny, though, i'd never noticed the thing about the colors in the console because i always use tmux and have it set up to use my preferred color scheme.

i'm looking at my .bashrc now and i enabled colored GCC warnings and errors, i hope my senses don't become overwhelmed.

@pizza_pal maybe this is why hackers wear sunglasses while coding?

@mhoye i've also got my console-setup file configured so that it uses a very large font size so i don't have to wear reading glasses, at least.

@mhoye I think this is one of those things where people have strong different opinions, and there isn't a right answer, just tastes, so the right thing to do is to make it easily configurable (and I believe that “uncomment this in the configuration file” counts as so, for a text terminal).

Maybe making periodic user surveys and selecting as the default the choice used by more than 50% of the users would be ideal, but I suspect that in most such cases having the maintainer's choice as the default is good enough.

@valhalla I mildly disagree with that, in that default settings are quite powerful. I would wager that there is a large segment of the Linux user population that doesn’t even realize that this is a thing you can change precisely _because_ the defaults are so poor. Making the defaults _the most accessible_ they can be, then configurable after that, is the winning play.

@mhoye the fact that some one person finds it distracting shows a lack of project-wide UX thought in Debian

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