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Re: [desktop] Some comment on the tenets

On Thu, 2002-10-24 at 12:18, Steve Langasek wrote:

> 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 --

Now, I don't know about you, but like 95% of the people I have met in
the course of my life have *absolutely no desire* to become an expert in
using their computer.  They want it to Just Work.  They want it to not
crash.  They want it to be as simple and as easy to use as possible.

Why?  Because most people use computers for *getting work done*, not
because they enjoy the experience at all.  They don't consider
themselves as having "premature brain death" because they aren't a
computer expert.  And I don't either.  Many of those people I know are
far smarter than me.  I know several people for example who are really
smart mathmeticians, and could run rings around me mentally, but they're
not interested in computers, and I don't blame them.

Are you seriously saying that we'd be introducing "premature brain
death" by making it a painless process for "generally smart" people like
my mathemetician friends to install Debian without getting bogged down
in pointless technical details like DHCP (in the dbootstrap network
configuration phase) and MIME (the less application/* handler)?

Now of course we don't want to alienate the intermediate users, and you
can rest assured Debian Desktop will not ignore them.  But they will not
be targeted as the primary audience.

> 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.

I agree totally.  This is good for people past the novice stage, on
towards intermediate.  GNOME 2.2 will have menu editing again, and I'm
sure KDE does now.  Our menu system rewrite will of course have a large
impact in this area.

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