[clug] Software ergonomics

Bryan Kilgallin bryan at netspeed.com.au
Tue Jan 27 07:11:59 MST 2015

Following is an explanation of an error message. I am sure that on 
receipt, I would have quickly sussed what was wrong and corrected it.

{I'm typing the following command under Ubuntu Linux:

    route add default gw eth0

But it is giving me out the following error:

    *SIOCADDRT: File exists*

How do I fix this problem?

This error normally displayed when you try to modify or or add a new 
routing IP address. For example, when you set the same route multiple 
times you will get this error.

    Understanding SIOCADDRT: File exists Message

 1. SIOC: *S*erial *I*nput *O*utput *C*ontroller.
 2. ADD: *ADD* (addition).
 3. RT: *R*ou*T*e (routing ip).
 4. File exists - Routing is already configured so delete wrong one and
    add the new one.}


My concern here is for software ergonomics or human interface design. I 
have experience of reporting FISH shell documentation errors to people 
maintaining that.

As explained above that error message means as follows.
"The serial input/output controller advises that the address route you 
tried to add was already configured! So it suggests you delete the wrong 
address and add a new one."

Instead, the user was actually told "SIOCADDRT: File exists". Which 
seems much less human-comprehensible!

Can anyone here advise where (forum/e-mail) I might lodge lodge such a 
complaint with a relevant authority? Perhaps I might pass on a user 
suggestion to the relevant maintainers. I think it would be nice to be 
able to switch error reporting to verbose!


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