Linux for Dummies?


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  1. #1
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    Linux for Dummies?

    * From: Linus Torvalds <torvalds osdl org>
    On Tue, 13 Dec 2005, Till Kamppeter wrote:
    >
    > Frederic told that the options from the PPD file are intentionally mot
    > listed in the printing dialog, the usability team of GNOME was against
    > listing these options. They clutter the dialog and can be more confusing
    > than useful to the user.

    I personally just encourage people to switch to KDE.

    This "users are idiots, and are confused by functionality" mentality of
    Gnome is a disease. If you think your users are idiots, only idiots will
    use it. I don't use Gnome, because in striving to be simple, it has long
    since reached the point where it simply doesn't do what I need it to do.

    Please, just tell people to use KDE.

    Linus
    Now I like KDE too, but the reason I bring this up is to ask your opinion on the "users are idiots, and are confused by functionality" mentality as it pertains Linux as a whole. Dumbed down distros like Ubuntu, Mandriva, Suse, Mepis, should they be allowed to exist?
    Or should we be encouraging folks to use Slackware, Debian, LFS? (I am not mentioning Gentoo, since it is "emerge world " and then take a nap)
    Should we encourage folks to work at configuring a distro installation? This will cut down on the number of Linux users, but if we keep going in the direction of Windows, will we not become Windows?
    Personally, I am of the same mind as Linus, when you dumb down something, you get dummies using it. What advancement do we get from that?
    And I really do prefer KDE- much more advanced than Gnome.

    I know these are old issues, but when I look in /dev/random and there is a 4 day old thread that is about a Russian keyboard that is not even built yet, I think there needs to be some new discussion.
    About topics that create argument.
    So you Gnomies, want to come out and play?
    And you Gentooers, can you spare a minute from watching X compile to tell me I'm wrong?
    And the Ubuntuites, does using Ubuntu make you dumb? Exactly what do you do after Ubuntu or Mepis detects all your hardware and boots into a GUI? Go to the Windows Update page- err, I mean the Ubuntu update page?

    The link:
    Mail thread
    P.S- I have been away for the last 6 months- working 66 hours a week, and a new lady and regular(well sometimes it was considered irregular by some ), frequent sex cut out computer use. Now I am back to 40 hours a week and infrequent sex- there is something to be said for marriage when it comes to keeping a lady around- but, alas, it was not meant to be.
    Last edited by hard candy; 04-18-2006 at 12:25 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Welcome back, hard candy! We have been lacking in the /dev/random area lately, but I'm sure you'll take care of that.

    As a gentooer, I agree with you on everything except Gentoo being as simple as emerge world. It took me a year and a half to get to the point where I could do emerge world, so I wouldn't say that it's idiot-proof just yet (although apparently there's a GUI installer now. Totally cheating I say.)

    Oh, and sorry to hear about your lack of frequent sex, but at least you can spend more time with us now.

  3. #3
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    Welcome back HC, it's been quiet around here and no I remember why

    True, making things for idiots will bring in the idiots...BUT if the idiots communicate with you and let you know what they are having troubles with, you can fix it and make it better. If Linux was only designed to be used by Linux people then only Linux people will use it and wonder why the rest of the world doesn't see things their way. It's a two way street and the BS flows in both directions.

    What developers need to worry about instead of "should this be easy to use or easy to configure" is that they should be asking "IS this easy to use and what should be done to make it better?" We don't need to throw every option possible at people, but we shouldn't hide them all either. People won't change something if they don't know it's there (buried in a .config file somewhere with little to no comments).

    Easy to use and pretty is what the future should be for Desktop Linux, OSX should be setting an example of this. Easy to use and nice to look at, it does NOT mean that we should focus on making MAC clones, or Windows clones. It means that we should use what works and build on it.

    There is no "they stole this idea from so-and-so" argument that holds any water these days. Everyone has mimicked something at this point, look at movies, want to watch something 'original'? Not going to happen but they can make the same stories more interesting and build on them. Superman is a very good example, it's the same story over and over but told in a different way making each of them good in their own way. This is what Linux should be (and is in a way), the Superman of Operating Systems. It only needs to be told in an easier way to understand, what do most people understand more, Kal-El or Clark Kent?

    {/rant over, back to your normally scheduled program}
    Last edited by Icarus; 04-18-2006 at 01:13 PM.

  4. #4
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    Hey there HC, welcome back bud!!

    Well, gee, if people say that using a distro like suse makes you dumb, that I must make to short planks look like a computer!! I think that we do need distro's like Suse, Kubuntu, etc... I ams till of the opinion that if they wernet wanted they woudln't exist, I also agree 100% with Linus on this one....
    Feel free to PM me for help

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  5. #5
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    Thank you and it feels good to be back.
    Now, I tried the XGL window system on the livecd, it was nice and was original and was full of potential.
    Kororaa
    And I can see myself getting XGL to work on a Slackware install- 5 days spent configuring and end up with with no wobble.
    And I am heartened by what I read about Microsoft's Vista, their pricing schedule is going to favor Apple and Linux.
    I am surprised by KDE's Konqueror in the KDE 3.5, it has actually become useful, configurable, and looks halfway decent (Still not as pretty as Firefox or Opera). But it did pass the test and i believe it is the only officially released browser to do so, the others were beta's. Firefox didn't pass, and only beta Opera passed.
    Web Standards Project
    Last edited by hard candy; 04-18-2006 at 02:22 PM.
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  6. #6
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    * From: Linus Torvalds <torvalds osdl org>
    On Tue, 13 Dec 2005, Till Kamppeter wrote:
    >
    > Frederic told that the options from the PPD file are intentionally mot
    > listed in the printing dialog, the usability team of GNOME was against
    > listing these options. They clutter the dialog and can be more confusing
    > than useful to the user.

    I personally just encourage people to switch to KDE.

    This "users are idiots, and are confused by functionality" mentality of
    Gnome is a disease. If you think your users are idiots, only idiots will
    use it. I don't use Gnome, because in striving to be simple, it has long
    since reached the point where it simply doesn't do what I need it to do.

    Please, just tell people to use KDE.

    Linus
    I don't know, I'm sure you've totally interpited what Linus has said correctly. But then, I can't honestly say I agree with Linus either. I think he's saying that he dosen't agree with Gnome's philosphy. He beleives that by treating your users like idoits you almost make them idiots. He' right though in that to much simplicity for computers will only take away thier functionality, but the oppisite could be said to be true as well. If you put to much "functionality" you might make it overly complicated and to hard for anyone use to use with any effiency.

    Gnome and KDE are taking two different approaches. I hate to disagree with the Father of Linux, but different strokes for different folks man. Use what you want to!! Is that not the whole idea behind Linux anyway? The freedom of choice? Isn't that why he made linux anyway, was so he could choose something besides what? DOS?

  7. #7
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    Software design should follow the law of least astonishment, and that is particularly the fundamental arguement here.
    Software should do what the user whats it to do without him/her having to resort to drawing pentagrams on their boxen or selling the soul.
    For example

    debian apt-get system follows the laws of least astonishment well. you type apt-get install <packaged name>. and Apt-get will kindly look for the package and download it and install if it exists.

    Windows installers work rather well. You download the program you want and it is installed onto computer after a few clicks. The system works well.

    In both cases the user is not astonished that the program has done exactly what it is supposed to do.

    I am not in favour of making things hard for the sake of it, mentality that seems to exist for some users. People should be able to "read the documentation" and be able to use it.

    I also have no sympathy for joe-I cannot be bothered to use google.

    /rant over

    Kind Regards

    Lucas
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    I don't use Gnome, because in striving to be simple, it has long
    since reached the point where it simply doesn't do what I need it to do.

    Please, just tell people to use KDE.

    Linus
    Maybe I just don't understand his point here, KDE has a GUI for just about everything, how is that teaching anything to anyone? Isn't that what windows does?

    Or should we be encouraging folks to use Slackware, Debian, LFS? (I am not mentioning Gentoo, since it is "emerge world " and then take a nap)
    What really is the big difference between apt-get install /this/ or emerge /that/ ? not sure what slack uses.

    I have two pc's built with Debian and one I've been workin on installing Gentoo, and I have to say Gentoo has been a challenge. I still have a long way to go before it is how I want it to be and I'm on my 4th month now. But being the newbe that I am I'm happy to have any of them working.

    I will say, had I not tried Gentoo it would have been a long time before I ever would have tried to compile a kernel.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucas_Maximus
    Software design should follow the law of least astonishment, and that is particularly the fundamental arguement here.
    Software should do what the user whats it to do without him/her having to resort to drawing pentagrams on their boxen or selling the soul.
    For example

    debian apt-get system follows the laws of least astonishment well. you type apt-get install <packaged name>. and Apt-get will kindly look for the package and download it and install if it exists.

    Windows installers work rather well. You download the program you want and it is installed onto computer after a few clicks. The system works well.

    In both cases the user is not astonished that the program has done exactly what it is supposed to do.

    I am not in favour of making things hard for the sake of it, mentality that seems to exist for some users. People should be able to "read the documentation" and be able to use it.

    I also have no sympathy for joe-I cannot be bothered to use google.

    /rant over

    Kind Regards

    Lucas
    So what happens when you find something is not working, say you were upgrading Xorg via apt-get, and the cat jumps in your lap, your foot shoots out and hits the power button. You boot up and no xserver present, you're in runlevel 2 or 3, with only a command line.
    Would you know how to use links to browse the web, browse to a forum, navigate to the search bar, find a thread on what to do when xorg is screwed? Can you use apt-get and view package lists from the command line? Or would you be safe just using "apt-get --upgrade xorg*" ?
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by hard candy
    So what happens when you find something is not working, say you were upgrading Xorg via apt-get, and the cat jumps in your lap, your foot shoots out and hits the power button. You boot up and no xserver present, you're in runlevel 2 or 3, with only a command line.
    Would you know how to use links to browse the web, browse to a forum, navigate to the search bar, find a thread on what to do when xorg is screwed? Can you use apt-get and view package lists from the command line? Or would you be safe just using "apt-get --upgrade xorg*" ?
    So am I not a "true linux user" till i'm comfortable in the command line? I don't believe that. The command is great, i love using it as much as any one else. But it can be painful and thats why KDE is great as well. Hell I bet even Linus gets tired of writting "cp /myprogram/file /mynewprogram/file"

  11. #11
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    I use both and I had to learn the command prompt because I was always screwing up my X11 configuration and video drive installation, and was in runlevel 2 a lot. It's a lonely place, runlevel 2.
    Heck, I even use Run-->msconfig in WinXP. But I'm always screwing up in windows consoles because their slashes lean the wrong way.
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  12. #12
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    I think whart Linus was trying to say is that Gnome has gone so far into being easy, that it's no longer has any really good fetures to speak of, and lacks the ability to customize. I can make KDE look like Gnome, and feel like Gnome, but unless I reprogram large parts of Gnome I can't get it to look, and feel like KDE.

    Even though I like the way Gnome handles in some areas, it just seems to be lacking in all others. The file browser is awful, the control panel was made for idiots, and beyond changing your icons, window decore, and colors, that's about all you can do with Gnome. KDE gives you so much power in how to should handle files, what it should do when you drop in a burnable CD, and much more. Also Konqueror is a file browser that has a location bar, you can connect to FTP, SFTP, SVN, CVS, and many other protocals, without the feel of the basic file browser changing. You can right click, and get lots of action for one file, or folder. It's just soooo much nicer to work with, and easier.

    Now this doesn't mean simple = bad, it means fetureless, and functionless = bad. SuSE is simple, but I can still set up SQL servers, webservers, install software, make serious changes to the system, and everything any other linux distro can, it's just I have an easy to use tool to help. If SuSE were to say, not allow you to directly edit files in /etc, and you could only make changes threw Yast2, then SuSE would be bad. If SuSE didn't let you use any other desktop then Gnome, then it would be REALLY BAD. If SuSE didn't allow you to force packages to be installed, even if you know what your doing, then it would be REALLY REALLY BAD. But no, SuSE lets you do anything you want, and I think that's why Linus hates Gnome. Gnome doesn't let you do jack.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by hard candy
    It's a lonely place, runlevel 2.
    That's why I don't go there.

    Seriously, I was only there once when I wanted to be bleeding edge with Gentoo and they changed the driver name for the generic keyboard to kbd unknown to me. And that's the point when liveCDs come in.

    As a major in psychology and ergonomics and usability consultant I am strictly against the claim that user are dumb. As I explained in a previous thread, some people are good at fixing cars, but have no clue how to use a computer, and then there are those who are good with computers but have to bring their car to the local repair shop.

    As Icarus correctly pointed out, the number of visible options is a factor in the game among others. A good interface is an interface that adapts to the level of knowledge a user has got. And it's not like in Linux we don't have enough interfaces to choose from, is it?

    "What can be said at all can be said clearly, and what we cannot talk about we must pass over in silence."

    Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus by Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Parcival
    As a major in psychology and ergonomics and usability consultant I am strictly against the claim that user are dumb. As I explained in a previous thread, some people are good at fixing cars, but have no clue how to use a computer, and then there are those who are good with computers but have to bring their car to the local repair shop.
    So you're one of those people.

    Personally I like to go with Scott Adams' theory on this: We're all idiots at some point in our daily lives. I may be able to write a shell script that reads from a database, converts the values to usable units, then reencodes a video based on those numbers, but today when we started talking quantum mechanics in one of my classes I was an idiot. Nothing wrong with that, but it's something you have to keep in mind if you want to talk quantum mechanics with me (or computers with a lot of people).

    Quote Originally Posted by Piko
    Now this doesn't mean simple = bad, it means fetureless, and functionless = bad.
    This basically sums up my thoughts on GUI applications. If it's so complicated that I can't figure it out, that's bad (although there are some applications that are this way by necessity, but probably 95% of the time it's true), but by the same token if it's so simple that I can't do what I need to with it then that's just as bad IMHO. As almost always seems to be the case, it's a delicate balance.

    Have I mentioned that I hate debating GUI design because it's so based on personal opinion?

    Edit:
    Quote Originally Posted by PenguinOfWonder
    So am I not a "true linux user" till i'm comfortable in the command line? I don't believe that. The command is great, i love using it as much as any one else. But it can be painful and thats why KDE is great as well. Hell I bet even Linus gets tired of writting "cp /myprogram/file /mynewprogram/file"
    No, but you're probably not a power user until you are comfortable with the command-line. Most people who learn the command-line don't go back to GUI methods for a lot of things. For instance, regarding your cp example I do almost all of my file management from the CLI now, with a few exceptions where I'm selecting largely random groups of files or need a visual preview of the file. It's actually a lot faster for me than navigating through layers of folders in a GUI.
    Last edited by cybertron; 04-18-2006 at 07:48 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by hard candy
    So what happens when you find something is not working, say you were upgrading Xorg via apt-get, and the cat jumps in your lap, your foot shoots out and hits the power button. You boot up and no xserver present, you're in runlevel 2 or 3, with only a command line.
    Would you know how to use links to browse the web, browse to a forum, navigate to the search bar, find a thread on what to do when xorg is screwed? Can you use apt-get and view package lists from the command line? Or would you be safe just using "apt-get --upgrade xorg*" ?
    If the system is designed and documented well enough to get it working should be a trivial task.
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