[TAG] which distribution?
alan at popey.com
Tue Mar 9 21:52:28 MSK 2004
Thomas Adam wrote:
> --- Alan Pope <alan at popey.com> wrote:
>>I didn't say every problem was solveable. Ok, here's an example from the
>>windows world. If you're configuring windows you use a GUI for the vast
>>majority of stuff. My wife has never used a command line in windows,
>>had to. For Joe end user they shouldn't have to. The vast set of
>>daily tasks are available through a GUI. This isn't often the case with
>Perhaps, but you have to remember that both OSes are built up from
>different principles. Unix was, and is, and forever will be command-line
You, I and probably everyone else on this list know that. I never
suggested it wasn't.
>Windows was built entirely on the idea that point-and-click is the way
>forward. Fine. But you have to remember that yes, why such GUIs do exist
>under Linux to achieve so-called 'common' tasks, it does not escape the
>fact that the GUIs can only provide some of the functionality that the CLI
>equivilent holds. It is at *this* level, at the command-line that power is
That argument does not hold true for everything. You seem to dismissing
GUIs out of hand. As if GUIs have no place in this world. Mind you, what
should one expect from someone who uses fvwm eh? :D
What you're implying is that anything that is done with a GUI can also
be done at the command line. Fine, I have no problem with that. For
every "webmin", theres an xxx.conf, for each "network config wizard"
The problem isn't with me though is it? It's everyone else out there
we're trying to convert/upgrade/assimilate. They just don't want to be
faffing around with text files when they can choose radio buttons and
checkboxes with a nice little tooltip telling them what to do.
>By all means, allow the 'new' user to be able to use the GUI, but showing
>them the potential that the CLI has over a GUI is paramount. Whether this
>is done from the outset or not is up to the person. I often find it
>annoying that we should be trying to make windows -> (potentialy) Linux
>users work under Linux in such a way as to make it seemingly like windows.
But that's the problem Thomas. *You* have a problem with GUIs. There's
millions of people out there who don't, who actually *like* the feel of
clicking on things to get jobs done.
>Sure, with Knoppix you get a nice transition like this, but I have seen a
>number of people put off with this when they cannot find a GUI to do a
>task, because they assume *everything* can be done with a GUI. When one
>then goes on to present a CLI (shock horror) solution, they look on in
>vain. Why? Because they alas, know no different.
And they shouldn't have to know different is my argument. There are many
users out there who *rightly* see computers as a tool to get a job done.
In the same way that a car is a means to get from A to B, a VCR is a
method for timeshifting TV programmes, an alarm clock is a mechanism for
waking you up in the morning/afternoon. I want to use all those devices
for the purposes that *I* want to use them. Joe User wants to use them
for his purposes.
He wants to "just edit a document" or "just type an email". I find the
attitude that IT professionals have that users need to somehow
understand what's going on under the bonnet (hood) of the computer to be
seriously misguided. Yes, some people have an *passing* interest in
what's happening, or how they can better control the process they are
involved, but the vast, vast majority don't.
I teach IT courses all the time to people whose ability ranges from
"never used a computer before" to "16 years unix experience". Some of
them want to know how it all works and that's great, because I can talk
about computers and how they work all day every day. However, a lot,
and I mean a LOT, just want to know how to get the job done and that's
all. I've learned a very valuable skill over the years. "When to stop
talking techy to non-techies". It's a subtle skill that requires one to
watch carefully for the merest hint of boredom, and eye-glazing.
Your average driver couldn't care less how their car actually works,
they just want it to work. Now however much that annoys a car
enthusiast, there are millions of people on this planet who view cars in
that way, a tool. Same thing with computers, they are tools. My wife
falls into that category. I will never even attempt to explain how and
why the computer does certain things to my wife, she just plain isn't
interested. She wants to know that she can turn it on, press a button
and get her a mail. GUIs work, and work well for this class of user.
>>To be frank that's not relavent. I'm talking about joe-user installing
>>Linux and getting going with the same or similar apps as they can on
>>Windows in the same or less time. Not the reason why one distie chose
>>way over another.
>That's not what I was talking about either, Alan. I was saying that there
>is no advantage to having a GUI installer compared to a non-GUI one. Both
>are intuitive in their own right.
Of course there is. Compare a trabant to a VW Golf. Both do the same
thing, one with comfort and style, the other with excess pollution,
noise and smell. Given a choice I would be willing to bet the vast
majority of people would take style and comfort over noise and smell any
day. Ok there's an overhead to using the "better" one - in the case of
the car it's the initial cost, and servicing costs. A cost in money or
CPU cycles and memory in the case of a GUI on a computer.
If you are trying to convert a Windows user to Linux, the *first* thing
they are likely to see is the installer. All I am suggesting is that one
is better for the non-techy than the other.
Get a bunch of people - definately non-technical and put them in front
of a computer with a (set of!) Debian CD and a Knoppix one. Chances are
they will try both and prefer the Knoppix one simply because it's quick
to get going, doesn't require them to learn all kinds of "techy terms"
and has a real benefit in that it has the apps already loaded.
Yeah it's a CD full of junk apps that you or I may not specifically
choose, but the general populous will definately like it. I have shown
knoppix to windows users and they've been blown away. I've lost count of
the number of Knoppix CDs I've burned for people and given away.
I think Knoppix et al are the single best way for us to penetrate the
desktop with a robust, upgradable, maintainable, *usable* desktop for
I wouldn't use it myself, as I've said, I use plain Debian and only use
Knoppix when I want to show someone how fantastic (and fun!) Linux *can* be.
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