Clarity on the Linux Desktop

There’s been some confusion as of late via emails and comments on other blogs about YALB that I would like to “dumb down” linux to try to reach the masses. I’d like to take a little time to clarify exactly what I think of the Linux Desktop and the directions it is taking.

I’ve worked in quite a few different IT jobs the past 8 years. My current job allows me to work with many diverse individuals and technology. Diverse backgrounds, diverse ethnicities, diverse cultures, and diverse experience. Whenever the main business system can’t do what the users’ want it to do, they call me. Whenever they need information from that antiquated database (runs on AIX…not current) they call me. However, since we have a small staff being a small agency, I also get to answer some helpdesk calls. The odd part is, I like answering helpdesk calls. Why? Because it tells you more about the users and allows you to help them better. It also gives you a pulse for your users…something to measure them against.

Having done this for quite some time now, I can honestly say that if we rolled out Linux desktops tomorrow to these people in my agency our productivity would be seriously inhibited (for a while…until everyone got used to things). This is despite the standard business system running via telnet to an AIX Box. It’s not because of Linux…but rather because of the people. See, Linux is ready for the average power user…someone who went to college, graduated, and now works happily in department X of your business or someone who went to high school in the last 5-10 years (depending on where you grew up of course…we didn’t even have a computer at my school and I graduated in the early nineties)…and people all agree that government should be pushing Linux first and foremost. Since my current job is for a state agency, one would figure we’d be looking into FOSS, but this isn’t the case. The average power user isn’t the majority in this goverment agency and I’m sure it isn’t in many government agencies so we continue to look to MS for all solutions because they are the defacto standard.

So is Linux to blame for all of this? For not making headway onto the deskop? Nope. Linux is what Linux is. It is a fantastic operating system that is stable, secure, and customizable. The problem does not lie with Linux…sure, Linux could get better with increased usability and UI reconfigures, but in the long run, it can only do so much. Somewhere along the way the user must meet Linux halfway.

I’ve said in the past with my posts and I’ll say again…Linux ISN’T where it needs to be to appeal to the masses. It’s getting close and making fantastic strides. However, in order for it to make headway on the desktop, it needs to increase usability. Once again, I stress that this doesn’t require the “dumbing down” of the operating system. It requires a shift in the target audience to which Linux ‘aims for’. Instead of being designed with power users in mind…we should design it with standard users in mind. Here again, many people will take this to mean that we have to dumb down the operating system…but that’s not the case. You can make things quite usable without dumbing things down…some Linux programs prove this to be true. Please don’t confuse usability for dumbing down…they’re not the same thing.

Some readers of this blog think that I’m preaching out against the Linux “elite” (don’t confuse the use of this word…it’s used as in hacker speak to signify someone who is VERY knowledgeable on a subject: wikipedia entry) that is, those Linux users with a higher than usual knowledge level. They think I’m trying to say that these users should be persecuted for their knowledge and that I’m generalizing that all people with knowledge are elitists. This isn’t the case…those with knowledge I call on to not hoarde knowledge but rather to share it…to open source their knowledge. To teach those new users who have no idea how to do searches and RTFM the correct way. To have patience and understanding that people trying something new aren’t going to respond well to criticism.

What I’m trying to convey is that the Linux desktop CAN get friendlier. It CAN get better. And it MUST get better to make headway in the PC Desktop market. What i’m NOT saying is that we need to ‘dumb down’ Linux in any way, shape, or form. What I’m not saying is that we need to carry new users on our backs throughout the move to Linux. What I am saying is that we need to make it more friendly, more inviting. We need to give the standard user more victories than defeats on the desktop to give them confidence to WANT TO LEARN more about Linux.

Hopefully, people will understand my take on desktop Linux now. There’s been confusion on this topic in the past and I’d like to clear this up right away. It’s no fun to have people pointing fingers at you accusing you of being a geek basher (when you are a geek). I sure hope that this clears things up on my side of things.

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  • http:/bostonenglish.pl nate

    Hi, I’m sure you’ve heard this question before, but can you recommend a very simple webpage about Linux, for someone who knows nothing about computers? Thanks!

  • http://www.suseblog.com Scott Morris

    You know, I agree 100% with what you are saying here. We definitely do not have to lower our standards and take away the power Linux offers to reach lesser computer-literate segments of users. That said, you are right on. We can build ever-easier interface-driven tools that allow new users to point and click, while admins can still decide not to install X at all. Though not perfect, I like to believe that this is what YAST tries to do.

    Also, it seems that several non-Linux users which have installed SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 have not only been impressed, but have nearly been converted to Linux.

    Due to my lack of recent experience with other distributions, I am unable to make informed comments as to how well their tools were created with this “experience design” (making things easy to use) in mind. Thus, my comments are restricted to SUSE-related distributions, where my experience lies. That in mind, it feels like Linux is, indeed, making great strides in this arena.

    Things like XGL and such would not exist if people weren’t thinking about making Linux appeal to more people. It wouldn’t be there if developers weren’t thinking about how to make Linux appeal to more than just admins and power-users.

    I do think that this is only part of the issue, however.

    Another part that may be possible is to provide more (and better) education and exposure to Linux. Involve High Schools and colleges. We might seek a way to provide them with resources and tools necessary so that they could get these courses in place.

    You get those in the education system involved, and Linux literacy will skyrocket, while if you make Linux easier to use, it will appeal to more people. If we were able to approach this issue from both directions, we’d get twice the adoption rates that we currently see.

  • http://penguinpetes.com/ Penguin Pete

    “I also get to answer some helpdesk calls.”

    I hope you realize that the sample of people who needed to call the helpdesk in the first place isn’t representative of the whole sample of computer users. Be careful of the policeman’s disease – allowing your front row seat to the worst of human nature to taint your view of all humanity.

    “The problem does not lie with Linux…sure, Linux could get better with increased usability and UI reconfigures, but in the long run, it can only do so much. Somewhere along the way the user must meet Linux halfway.”

    It’s exciting to see you start to figure the big picture out. There is a very powerful idea that is waiting for you just around the corner from this thought. I can see you lose the trail on that powerful idea right here, from examining your subsequent statements.

    “However, in order for it to make headway on the desktop, it needs to increase usability.”

    OK, time-out right here. Since people use computers right now, somebody, somewhere, is finding some system to be usable. So, what, in your mind, is the computer system which currently has the usability thing licked? I’m just dying to find out what this legendary operating system is that Linux should be more like. From here on out, it’s as if you shifted personalities in mid-post.

    “Instead of being designed with power users in mind…we should design it with standard users in mind.”

    There it is, right there. What is the difference between the “power user” and the “standard user”? Who dictates this classification? Could we have a couple of Wikipedia entries to nail it down? Because these are very arbitrary terms. To a casual gamer, someone who codes Visual Basic is a power user; but I know some Perl and Lisp hackers who would enjoy a hearty guffaw at that notion. Could it be, instead, true that there are no categories of user but rather categories of tasks that we use computers to do? Perhaps, instead of stereotyping users, we should acknowledge that habits of usage are as different as people themselves. This is one of the prime points that I’m making with one of my mantras: “You’re smarter about computers than you think you are.” When we quit telling people that they’re just ‘standard users’, when we quit giving them the idea that computers are these mystery boxes unfathomable to mere mortals without the assistance of us white-robed wizards, suddenly everybody becomes a power user. I’m pushing for all users to be promoted.

    Then also, why do we have to say ‘instead of’? Because I have a feeling that the kinds of people who make Linux go in the first place are the ones you would dismiss as power users. Now, proprietary software can afford to draw that line. You just hire (if I’m using your terms correctly) the power users to code for you, and the standard users are your customers. Linux can’t do that. It isn’t just Steve Ballmer who needs “developers, developers, developers”. You already have the developers madly in love with Linux. Turn your back on them, and who is left to code more Linux for the ‘standard users’? Linux is a volunteer effort – squeeze out those volunteers and watch them flock to BSD or Open Solaris.

    “Elite… don’t confuse the use of this word.”

    We don’t. But you have in the past applied it as an insult. I can imagine, working a helpdesk and explaining to people for the thousandth time where the “any key” is, you may leave a shift cursing those elite developers making computers so difficult in the first place. May I suggest a new villain more deserving of your ire? The liars who tricked your helpless users into expecting that they could have the power of a Stealth Bomber with the interface of a tricycle.

    “And it MUST get better to make headway in the PC Desktop market.”

    How in the hell are we supposed to educate the community when famous Linux bloggers such as yourself persist in making such empty statements as this? What, are we supposed to write a mission statement and appoint a CEO? This is CEO talk, not free technology for the people talk. You can’t have it both ways.

    Linux has BEEN getting better. Do you think that we’ve all been sitting around saying “Let’s make it as crappy as possible to scare people away?” Linux has BEEN ‘making headway’. It will keep doing so. If it weren’t, why would we even be having this conversation about it? Linux has recently celebrated it’s fifteenth birthday – now consult history and check where Microsoft was on its fifteenth birthday. Count all the way from “Xenix” in 1980. You’ll end up at Windows ’95! Consider the arc of progress from Xenix to Windows 95. Linux’s progress in the same time span has blown Microsoft’s rate of progress to smithereens, and we’ve done it all on volunteer steam and some small corporate interest. Without a single TV commercial! Without a standard or a CEO or a board of investors! Without the majority of the population even knowing what it is! Just because we wanted to!

    And what do we hear for our trouble? People like you booing about what a miserable failure we are from the sidelines. What for? Money? Power? Replace Bill Gates as the dictator of technology nation? What goal is it we are not reaching for you? Because it is NOT POSSIBLE to sit in Bill Gates chair without being as evil as he is! Read your Lord of the Rings: you don’t just put on the Ring and take Sauron’s place on the throne and excuse yourself saying “But I’ll be the *benevolent* dictator!” You gotta chuck that sucker into the fire and firmly declare “From this day forward there will BE NO MORE MASTERS.”

    To hell with making headway on the market. It’s the people’s technology, and whatever they decide it should be is what it will be. All we have to do is let them know that it’s THEIR technology to mold and shape as they need it – then keep our big mouths shut and our avaricious ambitions to ourselves and stand back. Make the PEOPLE the masters; make the ‘standard user’ all be ‘power users’! Try to see it in terms of the first law of thermodynamics: at any time, the amount of power in a society remains at a constant. If we knock down the monopoly, the power that that monopoly wields isn’t just going to disappear. Instead, we need to dole that power out incrementally to each user. And with that little bit of power will come that little bit of responsibility – the responsibility of a “power user”.

    But, hey, you and Eric S Raymond have sounded a lot alike at this point. There’s distros that have easy-to-use ideology – Ubuntu, Mandriva and Damn Small Linux come instantly to mind – and, yes, I’ve used and enjoyed them nearly as much as my power-tool favorites of grml and Slackware. Why don’t you emulate ESR and join the panel of some big distribution and guide it’s progress towards your ideal system? I’m keeping a torrent window open waiting for your first release candidate – who knows, it might become my next favorite system!

    Well, that’s enough of me. Don’t get discouraged. I’m just one more big mouth on the Internet. Keep swinging for the fences. You’re bound to come up with a home run eventually.

    Sincerely, your “arch-nemesis” (well, if you think so…)

  • http://linux-blog.org devnet

    [quote]OK, time-out right here. Since people use computers right now, somebody, somewhere, is finding some system to be usable. So, what, in your mind, is the computer system which currently has the usability thing licked? I’m just dying to find out what this legendary operating system is that Linux should be more like. From here on out, it’s as if you shifted personalities in mid-post[/quote]
    Not really…increasing usability in something [i]normally[/i] makes things better. For example, a new design on a measuring cup might increase accuracy in reading how much liquid is in it (got that via NPR yesterday). In this case, increasing the usability of a thing does not remove the ‘guts’ of the thing…it just improves a process (error screen improvement…wizard improvements) or a design (see .94 of PCLinuxOS when it comes out in a few weeks). When a user feels more comfortable, they feel that the OS is more usable.
    I’ll agree with you that there isn’t a magical and usable operating system out there that I can tout…but I know things still can increase their usability…this is what I’ve been touting since the beginning of the blog…making things more usable through design.
    [quote]There it is, right there. What is the difference between the “power user” and the “standard user”? Who dictates this classification? Could we have a couple of Wikipedia entries to nail it down?[/quote]
    [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_user]Wikipedia Power User[/url]
    Now I know that this is a very general definition…but it’s the only one I pulled up. My own personal opinion, which I use in my blog, is that power users are those people who actually can (and love to) get into the inner workings of software they use and exploit the functions of said software to the maximum of their ability. Standard users would have difficulty operating at this same level.
    At my job, we have a power users group for our business system (old AIX based system). In this group are those people who have been using the system for a long time that know the ‘ins and outs’ of the system. I think this is a pretty good definition…we wouldn’t call them ‘people who know the standard business system well’.
    Think of it this way…when you have a product you’re designing…do you tell the marketing group to market the product to ‘people’ or do you tell them to push it toward a target group of people…say, ‘Windows Power Users’ or ‘Systems Administrators’? We’re a categorized world (unfortunately…I hate this fact as well) where we need to differentiate one thing from another creating division instead of what open source should create…harmony. I’ve got quite a few posts on this blog about division…[url=http://linux-blog.org/index.php?/archives/27-The-Great-Schism-Continues-and-the-Rift-Grows-Wider.html]I’ve posted about this before[/url]…and I hate this categorization still today.
    When you’re designing a UI for a program do you have your sister/friend/wife who knows nothing about computers test the UI to see if they can understand which buttons do what and IF the error messages make sense? We should…but we’re not. We’re designing UI’s AFTER we write the program and trying to adapt them. We’re trying to use [url=http://daringfireball.net/2004/04/spray_on_usability]spray on usability[/url] and it doesn’t work so hot. THAT’s my main point. That we need to reverse the target audience AND process so that we have less distance to go to make things usable…not just for the few of us that have been using Linux for many years…but for those of us that are trying it for the first time tomorrow. slapping a label on a group of people doesn’t discriminate against them…nor does it say EVERYONE in the group is the same and that there are no exceptions.
    [quote]You just hire (if I’m using your terms correctly) the power users to code for you, and the standard users are your customers. Linux can’t do that. It isn’t just Steve Ballmer who needs “developers, developers, developers”. You already have the developers madly in love with Linux. Turn your back on them, and who is left to code more Linux for the ‘standard users’? Linux is a volunteer effort – squeeze out those volunteers and watch them flock to BSD or Open Solaris.[/quote]This is a good point. I didn’t think of things this way before…but it still doesn’t convince me that by saying ‘power user’ I’m stepping on developers toes or offending new users for classifying some of them as ‘standard users’ of Linux. I just don’t see it yet.
    [quote]We don’t. But you have in the past applied it as an insult.[/quote]
    We’re still not seeing eye to eye on this. I wouldn’t insult myself…and when I saw the link you posted to in your blog, I didn’t get it. I didn’t see where I had offended anyone. I look at elite as a label from the early nineties when all my buddies were hacking aimnet and bigpond…they were elite because they had a skill level far beyond that of a normal computer user at my college. So, once again, I think we’re hitting the ‘power user’ ‘elite user’ ‘standard user’ imapsse.
    [quote]How in the hell are we supposed to educate the community when famous Linux bloggers such as yourself persist in making such empty statements as this? What, are we supposed to write a mission statement and appoint a CEO? This is CEO talk, not free technology for the people talk. You can’t have it both ways.[/quote]
    Let’s quote the entire sentance so we don’t take it out of context. “What I’m trying to convey is that the Linux desktop CAN get friendlier. It CAN get better. And it MUST get better to make headway in the PC Desktop market.” So, nowhere does it say that Linux sucks and isn’t good…it simply states that it (implying usability…which is what I’d been talking about in the post) can and must get better. Why? Because macroshaft holds the market. For something to take the market, it has to be 1. Unique beyond all compare 2. Usable beyond what is currently in the market. We’ve got stability, appearance, security, and a bunch others wrapped up. Now if we get to a tipping point on usability…we’ll careen over the other side of the mountain and make headway into the PC Desktop market. Should that be a goal for a Linux user? Most likely it isn’t…but if more users use Linux…hardware vendors will perk their ears up…drivers will get made…and usability will go up again.
    And by the way…I’m not famous…I barely have a readers base here.
    [quote]Linux has BEEN getting better.[/quote]
    Agreed
    [quote]Do you think that we’ve all been sitting around saying “Let’s make it as crappy as possible to scare people away?”[/quote]No I don’t think that. Never have, never will.
    [quote]And what do we hear for our trouble? People like you booing about what a miserable failure we are from the sidelines.[/quote]Not in one place in this article did I ‘boo’ Linux…nor will I ever. I’ve used it since 1995 and won’t turn back. Saying that something could stand to become more usable and saying that it sucks are two different things. Based off what you’re implying…this entire blog is BS. I’ve been doing it for 2 years…recording my ups and downs…jumping in with what I think on issues in the community…reviewing distros, desktops, window managers, applying tips and tricks for new users…do I do this because I think Linux is a miserable failure? I don’t think so. I don’t waste my time in this fashion and I don’t know anyone who does.
    [quote]Why don’t you emulate ESR and join the panel of some big distribution and guide it’s progress towards your ideal system?[/quote]
    I don’t mix into political positions which is all those ‘panels’ really are. I think they’re silly and not needed. Obviously not needed…PCLinuxOS is #6 right now at distrowatch. When I started promoting it a few years ago it was #22. It doesn’t have a panel. It doesn’t need one.

    Closing this comment, I don’t consider you my arch-nemesis…I just think you have me confused with someone else…or that we need to have a translator in between us so that when I say ‘standard user’ you hear ‘user with less knowledge on a system and the knowledge to operate that system at a high level’. Then maybe we wouldn’t be having a huge comment-fest on this.
    Regards,
    devnet

  • Penguin Pete

    “I just think you have me confused with someone else..”

    Depends. Are you the same person who wrote the rest of “Yet Another Linux Blog”? Here, I found this:

    “They shouldn’t be expected to RTFM (read the friendly manual) when the manual is as friendly as an axe murderer at a hardware store.”

    in your ‘About’ section. Geeks wrote that manual. They worked hard on it. The manual taught me. IT CHANGED MY LIFE! You don’t need to look far to see that REAL geeks burn some six hours a day average just reading. How else do you think we keep up with the latest programming language? And did you go to college, or even school? You must read; you write a blog after all. To speak out against basic literacy as you have is to SPIT ON ALL THAT WAS EVER PURE AND DECENT IN THE WORLD! And you have the unmitigated gall to stand there sniveling ‘What? What did I do? I’m not geek bashing!’

    Elitism… look at the sidebar to your right! WHAT THE HELL IS ‘MV ELITISM TO /DEV/NULL’ the title of one of your most popular posts, IF NOT USING ELITISM AS A DEROGATORY TERM??? And you apply this as an insult for doing what? For suggesting people might improve themselves by the same means we improved ourselves, by reading. Like I said, are you all the same person? Every sentence you type in seems to contradict two others!

    Somewhere else on this site, you have claimed both Mandriva and Slackware as your first distro. I’m not going to cite the exact instance, I forgot where and no longer care.

    There is something drastically broken with you. You were just wrong before, but now you’re just pissing me off. Don’t even bother linking to me, as I’m blocking your URL. Yes, it’s that bad, I don’t want your dirty karma polluting my page ranking.

    After ten years of Linux use, fifteen years of free and open source software use, and twenty years working in IT, I never had a bad reputation for being an “elitist egghead” until 2004, then all of a sudden I get flamed just for pointing people to helpful documentation. If I answer a question on linuxquestions.org, I was getting thanked for the helpful advice until about two years ago when I started getting yelled at for telling people what the command line + switches are, because suddenly command lines are a bad thing.

    For two years, I’m baffled as I’ve been wondering where all this heat was coming from all of a sudden. THEN I FIND YOU. Every insult to ‘elitists’ I find on the Internet traces back to JUST YOU!!! And it figures, given that you can print lies denying what you said just a div column away!

    Please get out of the Linux community, because friends like you put our enemies to shame.

    You’re also a disgrace to the military service you claim in your ‘about’ section. Fortunately, you are powerless to make me ashamed to have worn a uniform for my services to the country, as you are helpless to smear an honorable culture of geekdom which has a proud past and a proud future both without you. And in spite of you.

  • http://linux-blog.org devnet

    Pete,

    I’ve never read such an incoherent comment in my life. You’re going off on my take on Linux and then you [B]TROUNCE MY MILITARY SERVICE?[/b] Where the hell did that come from? It’s been my experience that when someone is debating and they don’t have a platform to stand on, they sling insults to the other side…That being said, I really don’t appreciate the last paragraph where you trounce my military service without knowing anything about it. You don’t know where I was, what I did, whether I was wounded, whether I saw friends die, whether I had to shoot anyone, NOTHING. You assume you have me figured out and you make an ass out of yourself by doing it. Even though you thoroughly disgraced yourself by lashing out at me…I still won’t hold you responsible and will forgive you. Why? Because that’s the type of person I am…I don’t hold grudges. I don’t get angry (or if I do, I don’t stay that way long). If you have any military honor left, you’ll refrain from assuming you know things in the future.

    [quote]“They shouldn’t be expected to RTFM (read the friendly manual) when the manual is as friendly as an axe murderer at a hardware store.”

    in your ‘About’ section. Geeks wrote that manual. They worked hard on it. The manual taught me. IT CHANGED MY LIFE! You don’t need to look far to see that REAL geeks burn some six hours a day average just reading. How else do you think we keep up with the latest programming language? And did you go to college, or even school? You must read; you write a blog after all. To speak out against basic literacy as you have is to SPIT ON ALL THAT WAS EVER PURE AND DECENT IN THE WORLD! And you have the unmitigated gall to stand there sniveling ‘What? What did I do? I’m not geek bashing!’[/quote]
    Once again, you take out of context. Here it is for you to take IN context “It is my belief that if open source is open and free for everyone and if Linux is Open Source (of course it is!) then Linux should be open and free for everyone. When I say everyone I mean EVERYONE…new users are no different. They shouldn’t be expected to RTFM (read the friendly manual) when the manual is as friendly as an axe murderer at a hardware store. I think there is a gap between programmers and regular non-tech users and if we can bridge that gap, we can truly create a wonderful Linux desktop. I believe PCLinuxOS is on its way to doing this.” So I’m saying that there is a gap that needs bridged between programmers who aren’t always the best documentors, and new Linux users…I’d say I’m pretty safe in thinking this…afterall, I am the lead for documentation for an entire Linux distro and have been for over a year.
    [quote]Elitism… look at the sidebar to your right! WHAT THE HELL IS ‘MV ELITISM TO /DEV/NULL’ the title of one of your most popular posts, IF NOT USING ELITISM AS A DEROGATORY TERM??? And you apply this as an insult for doing what? For suggesting people might improve themselves by the same means we improved ourselves, by reading. Like I said, are you all the same person? Every sentence you type in seems to contradict two others! [/quote]
    Once again, you’re using elitist like it’s a derogitory term…it’s not to me. It’s not to many others. This is a difference of opinion on a definition of a word. That article you point to addresses being ‘shown’ how to do something and being told how to do something. Some learners can’t be told or show a manual where they read things and magically learn them…some are visual learners and need to be shown…should we kick them to the curb because you said so? Should we make them read the manual because you did? Could we take them under our wing and show them how things are done? I say yes to the last one.

    You also neglected to read the portion of that elitism article that talks about knowledgeable users being ‘elitists’ IF THEY WITHOLD INFORMATION just because they can from new users. Since you feel I insulted you, let me ask you a question…do you withold information from new users? You say you don’t…so you’re not an elitist. Does that make you feel any better? That’s once again an example of you taking things out of context and not reading into the general idea of the WHOLE post as opposed to individual paragraphs that get you riled up when they stand alone.

    So can we take users under our wing to show them how things are done? This is NOT how a majority of people in Linux communities act nowadays though…most robotically post to read the man pages or read the manual. What happens when this isn’t good enough for a visual learner? Drop him/her on their head? Tell them to cry us a river? Your lack of understanding in this is mind-numbing. To think that you’ve been involved with computers for 20 years and you don’t know the difference between learner types? Were you under a rock the entire time or were you just blissfully ignorant within your own bubble? Honestly Pete, I don’t know how you confuse this…actually, I do know. You read everything out of context. You don’t transfer themes and general ideas in between paragraphs…you read them separately as their own entity…unfortunately, this makes for a very poor debate. I can’t debate anyone that takes things out of context because you will continously take more out of context…there are consequences to your contextomy that [url=http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/toc/jcom/55/2]you’re probably not aware of[/url]…so once again, I’ll let this one pass and won’t hold a grudge.
    [quote]Somewhere else on this site, you have claimed both Mandriva and Slackware as your first distro. I’m not going to cite the exact instance, I forgot where and no longer care.[/quote]
    Slackware was my first distro…without a desktop. Red Hat 7.2 was my first with one. I’ve never used Mandriva that much so you misread things on this one. I did test it out here a couple of times but it never flew for me.

    [quote]There is something drastically broken with you. You were just wrong before, but now you’re just pissing me off. Don’t even bother linking to me, as I’m blocking your URL. Yes, it’s that bad, I don’t want your dirty karma polluting my page ranking.[/quote]
    You’re welcome here anytime Pete…nothings changed except your attitude, which got considerably worse as your post went on…especially when you attack my military service. That’s low buddy…really low.
    [quote]Every insult to ‘elitists’ I find on the Internet traces back to JUST YOU!!![/quote]
    Wow…I’d like to see the proof on that one. EVERY insult? Wow. I’d say that’s awful hard to do when I haven’t insulted ‘elitists’ in this blog. Perhaps you should re-examine the [url=http://www.answers.com/insult&r=67]definition of insult[/url]…and remember to read the definition in whole without taking the paragraphs of the definition out of context as you have been doing with every point of your comments. Based on that definition, you’d be quite guilty of it yourself based strictly on comments here in this blog. I’d be guilty in a couple places as well…but NOT in articles.
    [quote]Please get out of the Linux community, because friends like you put our enemies to shame.[/quote]
    Why don’t you ask the 1500 members of MyPCLinuxOS and the PCLinuxOs community if they feel it’s time to cut loose the shameful thing that is me? I see you used ‘our’ here as well. This means you affiliate yourself equal to me. Don’t. Your last paragraph that slung baseless insults at me proves that you’re much less of a person than you think you are and that you rely much more on your passion and less on wits when commenting.
    [quote]as you are helpless to smear an honorable culture of geekdom which has a proud past and a proud future both without you. And in spite of you.[/quote]
    It’s a good thing you aren’t the CEO of Linux eh? You’d boot me to the curb? I’d let you stay just so we could have an irrational opinion in the mix…and because open source is for everyone regardless. But you’d kick me to the curb? Nice. I’m not going anywhere…and somehow, thousands of people read my articles in context and understand where I’m coming from. I’m not broken up that much that one person doesn’t. I really hope you can get it together though…it would be nice to have someone to debate with that didn’t quote out of context and sling mud around.

  • http://linux-blog.org devnet

    Try http://reallylinux.com

    check the docs section. It’s very informative and walks you through quite a bit of stuff.

  • http://www.rightleftcentre.com John Melling

    I agree with you 100%, but I do think the generalisation that Linux is the thing that needs to be more usable is incorrect. I think the main objective of Linux for ‘standard users’ is not a change in the direction of the entire system but rather a well thought out and marketed Linux distribution with a well designed, consistent and user friendly interface. Take what Red Hat tried to do with the identical themes for kde/gnome. Like that with a bit more interest, something that competes with the user interfaces of OSX, XP and now Vista.

    The framework is in place, we have Beryl, package managers and mini-apps to configure common desktop features. Nearly every cmd-line program has an accompanying GUI, now all we need are standardised layouts and to pull it all together. Linux is ready for the desktop; it is being used in the desktop, but only by power users, because of the fundamental fact that unlike commercial software, Linux and its distributions do not have a design and user interface engineering department.

    Linux’s complexity is not the problem, god even windows is complex down to its bare underwear. What is needed is a nice pair of clothes, designer clothes.

    ’Linux Elitists’ can be left alone, the system doesn’t need changing; it needs focus. All the Gent’s and the Arch’s and the Deb’s and the LFS’s can co-exist with the fabled “user friendly” Linux. It just hasn’t been made yet. Now, if I was a programmer…