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Re: Clueless users are bad for debian (was Let's CENSOR it!)

Craig Sanders <cas@taz.net.au> writes:

> On Fri, Mar 26, 1999 at 01:10:31AM +0000, Kevin Dalley wrote:
> > "Pablo \(Tombstone\) Averbuj" <pablo@gos.nu> writes:
> > 
> > > Executive Summary
> > > =================
> > > 
> > > 	1. Stupid Users are Bad.
> > > 	2. Stupid Users are Bad for Debian.
> > > 		therefore:
> > > 
> > > 	3. Stupid Users should be ignored. 
> > 
> > 
> > Reading "The Design of Everyday Things", by Norman changed my mind on
> > this issue.  I dislike struggling for 5 minutes to determine how to
> > set the time on a phone.  I dislike struggling for an hour to install
> > a Debian package in which I *might* be interested.
> i must be missing something here.
> what is it about "apt-get install <PACKAGE...>" that takes an hour to type?

Most of the Debian packages are easy to install.  I enjoy that.  I
prefer it.  I want to celebrate the general success of Debian
installations.  The original post suggested that difficult == good.
Occasionally, I have run across a package where I have to configure a
numberof items to get it to work.  Given a choice, I prefer the easy
installation.  In any case, Debian almost always comes out ahead of
the other approach:

1.  Find the source code
2.  Compile the source code
3.  Install the package
4.  Configure the package.

> I used to believe that it was a generational thing and that the
> problem would vanish as more people who had grown with computers
> entered the workforce. if anything, the problem has got worse: about
> the same percentage of them are completely useless with any form of
> computer...the difference is that they have the mistaken belief that
> they know what they are doing and that a pretty GUI is an adequate
> substitute for knowledge and/or intelligence.

I have found that many people can make a computer perform their
requirements, perhaps only sending email and browsing the web.  Some
of them struggle.  I have a higher opinion of people's ability to
succeed with computers than you have.

> this should be obvious, but it isn't: how the hell can someone DESIGN a
> network when they don't have the faintest idea of what a network is or
> how it works, or what a protocol is, or how routing works etc etc etc
> (the list goes on...)

Hooking a single computer into a ppp connection doesn't require much
knowledge, but is establishing a very limited network.  

> why isn't it obvious? as far as i can tell, it's because most of the
> industry has been suckered into believing some absurd things, and Joe
> Public (not knowing any better) accepts what is published in the trade
> press as an established fact.
> the first absurd thing is mentioned above: that a program CAN be an
> adequate substitute for a knowledgeable and intelligent mind.  This may
> become true one day in the far future with high speed AI systems running
> on neural network computers, but that probably wont be in my lifetime
> (and i'm expecting at least another 50 years...or a lot more, depending
> on how good medical tech gets in the next few decades). computers
> are dumb. people are smart (or should be). dumb jobs need only dumb
> computers. difficult jobs need real brains. use the right tool for the
> job.

Sometimes, a good program does substitute for a smart person.  I don't 
need to know the 7 layers of ISO/OSI in order to telnet to a remote
site.  Sending and routing mail is really quite difficult, but the
user doesn't and shouldn't need to tax his/her brains.  Of course,
some applications still require expertise.

> the third absurdity is "graphical programs are inherently easier to
> use". this is easily disproven...there are many graphical programs that
> are clumsy and difficult to use and many non-graphical programs that are
> easy. for example, compare the Award BIOS with the AMI Graphical BIOS.
> The Award BIOS is much easier to use and much easier to learn. it's also
> more effective at getting the job done.

And graphical interfaces exclude the blind completely.  I often don't
like them myself.

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