[TriLUG] different versions of 7.2 for sale]
raskinite at yahoo.com
Fri Oct 26 06:08:23 EDT 2001
> Message: 38
> From: "Vestal, Roy L." <rvestal at rti.org>
> To: "'trilug at trilug.org '" <trilug at trilug.org>
> Subject: RE: [TriLUG] different versions of 7.2 for sale]
> Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2001 10:42:59 -0400
> Reply-To: trilug at trilug.org
> Being one from the Windoze world, I can say that I like the "bloating" in
> the install. I'm learning this from experience as well as books. I don't
> have the *nix background like alot of the folks in TriLUG. Being used to
> bloat from the master himself, Mr. G., it does help some.
> I do have one request, if any of the RH folks are reading, the installer
> from Mandrake is a lot easier to use for those of us that are learning this
> way. There is a lot of front end, and the install takes longer, but it
> helped me understand what I was installing. I personally WANT to use RH
> Linux, since I'm a homegrown NC boy, I prefer RH to any other. Call me a
> hick, or a good ol' boy, but I plan on hanging on.
Before I proceed any further, as long as everyone in this thread has been having a linkfest, I'll throw in a link to an article that does a wonderful job describing the current state of the linux desktop. It is written by Jakob Nielsen, a very respected member of the HCI community and a leading authority on web usability.
On to my reply to Roy's message:
I agree with you about the easiness (or lack thereof) of the RH install. I made a list of about 20 usability design problems in the 7.0 anaconda. Stuff that would confuse a user enough that they would make a less than optimal decision, or if they could arrive at that decision, would force them take a longer time to do so. Chances are you got perplexed by one or more of these problems. Maybe 1-2 of those problems were fixed in 7.1. I haven't yet tried installing 7.2, but I suspect that most of these problems are still there. These problems could be squashed by modifying a few lines of python/gtk code here and there, but I seriously doubt that will happen. The redhat people are like most linux programmers: very technically talented and can push around bits with the best of them, but are complete newbies when it comes to designing GUI stuff. Most of the people who say that Anaconda is great are prior linux geeks who can use their existing linux skills to get around the most co!
nfusing parts of the installer. Not that I'm beating up on just Red Hat since the Mandrake installer also has its share of usability problems, though the problems are somewhat less severe. The worst part of Mandrake is that they've fallen prey to the "pretty == usable" crowd who have turned desktop linux into a collection of thousands of beautifully themed widgets laid out in the most confusing and unintuitive manner possible; anyone who uses tiny embossed stars in place of a hollow square with a big fat line running through it (aka checkbox) shouldn't be let anywhere near anything that's pointable and clickable.
For any graphical environment to get anywhere near a desktop, you have to have a group of people who are willing to accept proven usability engineering methods, accept core principles of cognitive psychology, and to think outside their little box (which is currently a server closet). Right now, most of the linux community is extremely hostile towards usability people who tell them things they don't want to hear but are necessary to do. For proof of this, see the talkbacks for the article I linked to:
(Saying that Jakob Nielsen he doesn't know what he's talking about and that Linux in it's current form is perfectly usable is like saying that Alan Cox doesn't know what he's talking about and that Windows NT is perfectly stable and secure).
To put linux on the desktop, you'll have to change the way that people think, which is a lot harder to do than changing technology.
More information about the TriLUG