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Dividing the Linux desktop
LWN.net Weekly Edition for June 13, 2013
A report from pgCon 2013
Little things that matter in language design
The Grumpy Editor's Moblin review
Posted Nov 26, 2009 20:54 UTC (Thu) by evgeny (guest, #774)
Posted Nov 28, 2009 14:53 UTC (Sat) by corbet (editor, #1)
Posted Nov 26, 2009 22:55 UTC (Thu) by malor (subscriber, #2973)
Linux users before Linux existed
Posted Nov 26, 2009 23:11 UTC (Thu) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954)
That's the subtle difference between simple past ("I roller skated") and past participle ("I have roller skated") that people often have trouble grasping. The latter is actually a statement about the present -- as influenced by the past.
Posted Nov 27, 2009 0:26 UTC (Fri) by malor (subscriber, #2973)
These are really just the virtual desktops or workspaces that Linux users have been using since before Linux existed.
This is poorly written. There are three main problems here:
What matters is that they were X users back in the antediluvian times, and that's how the sentence should really be worded. As written, it's sort of correct, some of the time, if you jump around between two separate time periods and two different software packages, but it's both confusing and a real stretch. It requires only a single-word edit to instantly become clear and completely true, to wit:
These are really just the virtual desktops or workspaces that X users have been using since before Linux existed.
Heh, can you tell I'm a little bored? :)
Posted Nov 27, 2009 1:30 UTC (Fri) by mp (subscriber, #5615)
Posted Nov 27, 2009 1:42 UTC (Fri) by malor (subscriber, #2973)
Looks fine to me. It's clear that it was the same user, and the same thing that was being used, you're just putting a time qualifier in. "Something that my father has been using since 1953" is a perfectly acceptable noun + modifiers. "Before I was born" is a more approximate time modifier, but lexically similar, and appears to be a drop-in replacement for a date.
Note that in the case of Linux and X, he's changing both what was being used (Linux or X) and the timeframes they were being used (now and in the past) within a single sentence, but using the same word for what's being used. You're not doing that in your example here. :)
Posted Dec 3, 2009 12:37 UTC (Thu) by ccurtis (guest, #49713)
Ultimately, I think the sentence is simply the grumpy editor being grumpy ... and dating himself.
 In reality, my virtual desktop experience probably began in 1993, up to 2 years after Linux was unleashed onto the world; anachronisms aside, I think the point remains.
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