Thought for today: "If you never used software written by dickheads, your disk would be pretty empty."
nymia: Theories on why Linux is not yet optimally easy to use:
- Linux's primary audience is people at least a little
technically sophisticated.If you don't know what an
operating system is, you won't care to install a new one.
If you've struggled through using the shell so far, then
hiding it completely is not a priority.
Of course it's good to bring in new users, but attending to the current customers is important.
- "GUIs for everything" take a while to write.
- It's not sufficient to "use
simple words to explain
things." Things must actually *be* simple, which is much
Designing simple models for complicated systems is hard: look at the immense amount of academic and commercial research that has gone into replacing the filesystem, and still both m$ and linux use more or less the traditional unix model.
- Lots of people work on free software because it makes
them feel elite. Lots of altruistic activities have at
least a little ego wrapped up in them, and that's not all bad.
It's easier said than done, but we are making progress. GNOME barely crashes at all now, whereas only a few years ago it was unusable. Remember to enjoy yourself.
Personally I reckon the model of closed-box appliances is probably better for many people and many purposes than any kind of desktop. Hey, look at Tivo -- simple to use, no CLI, and Linux based.
There are heaps of good things to read in this area. A few that spring to mind:
- UI Design for Programmers
- anything by Donald Norman
- anything by Richard Gabriel
I got an HP Linux workstation the other day. It's by far the easiest installation experience I've had: plug in the power cord, type in a root password and hostname and a couple of other details, and it's up. Fast and almost silent.
On the other hand there is no apparent way to add non-root users without using the command prompt. So we're not there yet.