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Re: [desktop] Some comment on the tenets



On Thu, Oct 24, 2002 at 11:12:28AM -0400, Colin Walters wrote:
> On Thu, 2002-10-24 at 08:52, Joanne Hunter wrote:
> > ....okay, only one comment. Tenet #2 dictates that there are "only two
> > classes of users: the novice, and the expert". This IMHO is a mistake.

> > There is a third class of user that I run into all the time - for lack of a
> > better term, I usually call them the "intermediate". These are the sorts of
> > people who like to tweak little bits of settings, but aren't entirely diving
> > into the deep details. 

> I know they exist.  But relative to the other two, they are not
> important.  I've added this to the web page.

They're important if we don't want to induce premature brain death in
our users, like Microsoft does.  A desktop built around the premise that
novice and expert are two quantum states with nothing between may result
in more Debian users, but it also guarantees that those users will never
have any opportunity to expand their knowledge and become experts --
not without taking a quantum leap and dropping their desktop for a
different one.  Any system Debian provides for novice users should also
provide *integrated* tools to permit customization of the desktop
experience, so that as novices start to run into the limits of their
playground, they have some means of easily extending it.

In particular, this means that whatever defaults are chosen for the
menus, it should be EASY for a user to swap out a default program for
another of its class, or add a program to the menu that he's expressly
installed, etc.  When I say easy, I mean it must be much easier than
GNOME or KDE have ever made it to date:  it should be point-and-click,
not point-and-click-and-point-and-click-and-point-and-double-click-and...
With the wealth of information that our packaging system gives us about
every piece of software installed on our systems, there's no reason a
user should ever need to trawl the filesystem to add a menu item to his
desktop for the package that he's just installed for that express
purpose.

> That's fine.  If they're at that level of skill, they can always read
> documentation, spend a little bit of time on it, and figure it out.  Or
> they can just fall back to the standard novice settings, which will just
> *work*.

They work for what we decide a novice should be able to do with his
system.  With all the talk about menu design, it's clear that not
everything a user might install is going to fit in these menus; there
definitely needs to be a way for a user to *get* those programs in there
once installed, without resorting to the commandline or to complex "find
the binary on your system and install it" interfaces.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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