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Re: A good charge against free operating systems

Frédéric Aguiard wrote:

> You can't ask a secretary to understand all the complexity of a linux
> system. You can't even ask her to use a shell, nor anything like vi or latex
> or anything else. This is not HER job. She just needs a tool, a tool
> providing her what she needs for her daily work, a tool that does not break
> up in her hands while just using basis functions, nor doing something
> reasonably foolish.

Bear in mind the first commercial users of Unix were ``three Patent
Department typists who spent the day busily typing, editing, and
formatting patent applications''.  


Sounds a lot like secretarial work to me.

When did vi last break up in your hands?  Word's stability, on the other

The Great Myth of {Uni,Linu}x is that it's `too hard to use', which is
Not True.  The problem is that it's difficult (not `too difficult') to
_learn_.  The effort spent in learning early on is repaid several times
over later on.  Speaking from my own experience, so not necessarily
verifiable fact :)  It's not obvious, on first approaching a Linux box,
what the user should do in order to type a letter to their great-aunt,
but once you've learned, it's straigtforward [*].

I had problems learning to tie my shoelaces (when I was 4; I've been
doing it succesfully for over 20 years now), but after making the effort
all those years ago, I can do it without thinking.  Same with a shell,
Emacs, vi, etc. 5 years ago.  If I'd stuck with Word and Windows, I'd be
far less productive than I am now.  These days I find Windows, Word,
etc. hard to use; they focus exclusively on easy to learn, so someone
who knows what they want to do is hamstrung by the interface.  I'm not
particularly singling out Windows here; substitue your least-favourite
point-and-drool interface if my use of MS products offends.  

Just a mid-morning rant, ignore it if you want :)


[*] Actually, it's not all that obvious on approaching a Windows box,
come to think of it.

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