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Re: Something is very wrong with this group

On 2 Mar 1998, Manoj Srivastava wrote:

> We should only do this if we are sure that the user can indeed handle
> the system without knowing the details under the hood. Starting by
> naming things differently is not a good place. UNIX is not yet an
> automobile (appliance); it is closer to a chainsaw.

even a car is not an appliance. they require knowledge and a reasonable
amount of skill to operate.

a manual shift car requires a fair amount of practice, and even an
automatic shouldn't be driven on the roads by a newbie without an
instructor sitting beside them.

fridges, microwaves, toasters, etc are appliance. simple uni-function
tools with very few options and very little skill required to operate.

tools tend to be multi-function (or at least applicable to a variety of
problems) and require a fair degree of skill to operate.

> You are just setting up their expectations that Linux is an appliance,
> and they are going to be frustated, angry, and alienated when they
> learn the truth: there is a monster growling under the hood; a monster
> that can only be taed by climbing a learning curve.
> Not what the Ad copy said.

very good point. false expectations will lead to nothing but
disappointment and hostility.

> I would like to be inclusive. I like to be able to help naive users. A
> person dear to my heart is a naive user. But I like users well enough
> not to dissemble to them.

agreed. lying to novice users is about the worst possible thing we could
do. tell them straight "yes, it does work and it is very stable and very
powerful BUT it requires some hard work from you to take advantage of
that power...a car doesn't drive itself, and either does your computer".

> And for the naive user who does not have the time or the inclination
> to learn about computerese, Linux is not the way. Windows 95 is. Linux
> is not for everyone.  Nothing is for everyone. We'll never be able
> to get rid of the NT at work (well, not until the next generation of
> kids, anyway). We should not want to.

linux is getting easier to use every day....but it still requires
knowledge (or ability to learn) in order to operate. it always will -
the idea of a completely turnkey, no brain required, computer is not
only absurd, promoting it is counter-productive.

ditto for W95. it is supposedly easy to use. it too requires knowledge
to operate but MS marketing lies and tells people that it doesn't.

we've got the technological high ground *AND* the moral high ground.
Lets keep both.

Soon, very soon, linux will be as easy to operate as W95 (IMO, it is
easier now because it doesn't do frustratingly stupid things which
interfere with the user's ability to learn).  When that happens, we'll
have ease of use layered on top of an extraordinarily powerful and
stable system.  W95 is merely ease-of-use layered on top of dreck.


craig sanders

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