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[aclug-L] Re: Reactions to the following?

[aclug-L] Re: Reactions to the following?

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To: discussion@xxxxxxxxx
Subject: [aclug-L] Re: Reactions to the following?
From: Jeff Vian <jvian10@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2002 18:49:00 -0600
Reply-to: discussion@xxxxxxxxx

"James O. Harms" wrote:
> John Alexander wrote:
> >
> > My honest impression and gut
> > feeling is that Linux won't take off for the average joe/joan until the
> > install matches Windows '9x in simplicity, with all the inherent
> > assumptions. But then, do we all want our OS to be making all of those
> > assumptions for us?
> NO, I don't.  Which is why I run Slackware and not Mandrake.  (The fact that
> recent versions of Mandrake are seriously broken in places helped me make that
> decision as well.)
> But I disagree with your basic premise.  Most MSWindows users couldn't install
> MSWindows to save their life, so why do we expect this of Linux?  I work with
> a lot of people who use MSWindows every day.  And if you asked them to format
> a floppy they wouldn't know what you were talking about.  They know that to
> run a certain program, they click on a specific icon.  That's all they know.
> They couldn't load a program or change a parameter in setup.  The reason they
> use MSWindows is that it came on their computer, and probably on the one
> before that.  If OS2 or Linux was the system that came on their computer,
> that's what they would be using.

As I said in an earlier reply to this thread, the applications and ease
of upgrading hardware are hurting Linux in the home market. 

Here are just a couple of major hurdles to making the entire package
(hardware/OS/applications) completely home-user friendly.

        Making a package install do the menu entry and put an icon on the
correct menu on all the different windows managers (and doing it
correctly for the one this user likes) will be a real nightmare since
most are not similar in how they set up the menus. This is even harder
on installs that applie to all users since each (may) have a different
window manager in use (ked - gnome - fvwm - etc..)
        Also, since a user installing software often has to be root, or install
the package for a single user to use, there are some issues there that
would likely require the home user to have software installed by
whomever has root access on their computer.
        The plethora of different libraries and kernels in use also puts a road
block in the way of easy package distribution for the uninformed and
non-techie because compiling is required in the install process.

Many (if not most) packages are set up to install files in directories
that are only writeable by root. A way around that would be if the
install had an option to install as single user package or as a system
usable package. This requires cooperation from the software packager and
probably a lot of standardization on the systems. (Again, a reason for a
separate distro for the home user.)
> And guess what.  It wouldn't make any difference.  They would use it the same
> way.
> If you would say "...Linux won't take off for the average joe/joan until USING
> it (not installing) matches Windows '9x in simplicity", I would agree.
> Someone who knows how can set up the machine can set it up.  But it seems to
> me that common tasks a user needs to do while running the computer need to be
> simplified.  If they know what it is to format a floppy, they should be able
> to do this by clicking an icon without becoming ROOT.  Use an automounter, or
> simplify the mount/umount procedure.  One way to simplify this would be to
> have a mount/umount line in the menu of the kde file manager, instead of

You mentioned mount/umount..... RH 7.2 does an automount of any cd put
in, and puts the icon for it on the desktop (gnome) when the cd is
mounted (the icon is removed when unmounted).  From the icon, a right
click and selecting unmount ejects it.

> having to do this as a separate operation.  If we would fix the little things
> (hassles) that we put up with every day, I think it make Linux a lot easier
> for those who know nothing but MSWindows.
I agree here. but now you are tilting toward what I mentioned earlier as
There are many of us who want the ability to do what we always have
done.... tailor the system to our own usage habits.  A separate distro
(or distro version) for the home user would fill the needs of those who
are techies as well as the home users who want it to work brainlessly.

> The other problem, of course, is the huge quantity of .doc files that have
> been generated over the years.  To be useful in the office, we need to be
> compatible with MS file formats, even though MS itself keeps changing things
> from one software version to the next.  It is quite possible that StarOffice
> can read more MS formats than the current version of MSOffice can.  But still
> people purchase the latest version of MSOffice because that's what they have
> always used.  Even tho the new one won't read the output of the previous one.
> But they don't know that.  Oh Well...

I have never had a problem with MS products reading older verwions of
files created by the same MS product.  However, staroffice reads
everyones output and MS Word reads only those formats from products MS
considers harmless.  Probably because of competition (and marketing
strategies) but staroffice is definitely more versatile.

> --joh
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