Taste the soup.

I’ve always been a big fan of Coming to America. To me, it represents in many ways the artistic pinnacle of Western achievement. One reason: there’s a parable in Coming to America for just about everything.

Today’s parable comes from the end of the movie. Maybe some of you remember the scene:

“Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait stop right there! Listen: Stop right there, man. A man goes into a restaurant. You listenin’? A man goes into a restaurant, and he sits down, he’s having a bowl of soup and he says to the waiter, waiter come taste the soup. Waiter says: Is something wrong with the soup? He says: Taste the soup. He says: Is there something wrong with the soup? Is the soup too hot? He says: Will you taste the soup? What’s wrong, is the soup too cold? Will you just taste the soup?! All right, I’ll taste the soup – where’s the spoon?? Aha. Aha!”

It’s funny when someone comes up to you on the showfloor and *makes* you taste the soup. For me, today, it was this question: “Can you show me how to remove packages without using the command line?” So I brought up Pirut on Fedora 7, and because I didn’t have network, it wouldn’t even load. “No networking? No package list. Sorry.” And when I tried it on RHEL5, it took me about 5 minutes of staring at the GUI to realize that unchecking a box removes a package.

“Yeah, yeah,” my inquisitor said to me. “You don’t even notice, I know, because you would go the command-line to remove a package. But my typical user is a science teacher who became the technology coordinator for her high school. And I’m sorry to tell you this, but she will never bring up a command line, ever.” He then challenged me to manage my system for a month without using the CLI at all.

I think I’ll take him up on that. I think a lot of people in Fedora-land should. And we should be tasting not only our own soup, but the soup of others, too. Here’s the thing: everyone’s soup is basically the same, and we keep saying “what? Our soup and their soup is equally tasty. Is our soup too hot? Is our soup too cold?” But smart users are pointing out to me, more and more, that sometimes they can’t really taste our soup because we’re trying to feed it to them with a fancy salad fork.

Ah, what you know from funny, you bastards.

Taste the soup.

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