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Unnecessary functions slow Athena operations

It took me 11 minutes to log in today.

Gosh, I really love new Project Athena releases and updates. I don't mean to imply that they are the sole cause of this stressful login delay; some of it was the heavy user load.

However, I'm sure at least part of the delay was due to the new update, which kept up the long-standing tradition of adding more fluff to the system.

One of the seniors at Random Hall told me a story of how once there was no login window, no pretty little message in the nifty font giving you the terminal number.

There was just a line that said "login: ." I myself can recall the days when "help" actually gave you help, instead of ulcers and sore fists from pounding the keyboard in a futile attempt to speed the computer through torture and duress.

I actually remember asking for "help" once, though the delay was so long I managed to answer my question on my own. Of course, the window popped up a few minutes later.

When I tried to kill it, another silly little window popped up and told me the "program may not die gracefully." Hah hah. I killed it anyway, as nothing would have made me happier than to see it die a slow and agonizing death, preferably 11 minutes long.

I read an article in the paper the other day about washer detergent. Apparently Tide, Cheer and many other brands add inert ingredients to their product to increase their bulk. They do this to make consumers think they are getting more.

Sound familiar? Athena has been doing it for quite some time now with silly login windows, frivolous help screens and xmh windows cluttered with icons. All this fluff merely slows down the system.

There is a place for this type of icon-driven fluff and garbage. In some cases it makes a program more understandable and easy to operate. Login windows are not the place for this.

To be fair to Athena, I must note that there is a text-based version of "help" which is barely adequate, although I'm sure it would have been axed were it not for the fact that some people log in through dialup machines.

Xmh is no problem; it's easier to ignore than it is to use, and provides a useful feature for the occasional user with nine fingers missing. As for the login window, I guess it does give you an icon for registering as a new user and for logging in using the system default.

People who have more windows than they need really annoy me, although I can understand their feelings. It's sort of like xload windows: My screen feels empty without it. I have never really needed one, and I hardly ever look at it, except during those long minutes when I'm waiting for a window to pop up. Even then it tells me what I already know -- I'm going to have a long wait.

I've decided to get rid of my xload window. It's not going to help much -- it's such a tiny process. But every little bit helps.

Ken Ellis '93->