Sound file compatibility and Linux

Kay C Lan lan.kc.macmail at
Tue Apr 28 03:37:12 EDT 2009

On 4/28/09, Richmond Mathewson <richmondmathewson at> wrote:
> The loveliest bit of that article was this:
> "I think the Ubuntu people spoke sincerely and accurately, but perhaps
> ambiguously."
> I didn't know that one could be accurate and ambiguous at the same time :)
Apart from the linguistic game play that you and Mark have enjoyed, I
would have thought that in the real world that this is the norm. In a
previous life I was occasionally amazed with the results of engineers
who'd talked most accurately but in the end the ambiguity that existed
had resulted in products that were suppose to work with products made
to the same spec by any other company, but invariably Co. F's would
work with everyone's except Co. Y's and Co. G's wouldn't work with Co.

As an example, my youngest Bro. who works for Belkin, gave me a DVI to
HDMI adapter. I could take any DVI cable from around the world and
plug it into this adapter. I could take any device from around the
world with HDMI In and plug this adapter into it. The specs for HDMI
and DVI sockets are very accurate. Unfortunately the adapter was
completely useless because the plastic finger grip around the actual
sockets was so large that I could only plug it in if no other cables
were plugged into the other in/out ports. A thousand other devices and
it would have worked, but because this portion of the design is open,
unspec'd and therefore ambiguous, in my case it was a waste of.....
well I'm glad I didn't actually pay for it!

I believe the software industry is even worse than the tech specs of
the hardware/engineering industry. I certainly do not wish to start
any OS war, but IMHO the stability of OS X is more to do with less
ambiguity the Apple guys enjoy by knowing and being able to test on
exactly the hardware they are developing for, rather than being better
coders. The Linux and Win crowd, no matter how accurate their specs,
no matter how fine a detail they go into, no matter how good their
code is, when you have a zillion different companies make endless
varieties of hardware and software to specs that are mostly accurate
but will inevitably leave something to the imagination, then you've
just opened the door to ambiguity and the countless - "It works on my
box, why isn't it working on yours?"

I would suggest that a small portion of the alpha/beta/post release
patch cycle is destined to discover the ambiguities that the creators
of the original extremely accurate tech specs never envisaged.

My 2.06549019512947192875934503645403590873179065908¢ worth

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