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Re: Are we losing users to Gentoo?



Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> Indeed, the Debian home page is so well organized and so easy to find
> and get around in, that people don't *need* so many secondary sources
> of information.  Our success at doing our job well has meant that the
> distrowatch counter is especially inaccurate in our case.

Wooh, that's a rich one. Above speaks a man who does not read the
debian-www mail I suppose.

Here's an experiment for you. Go to debian.org, and you want to download
a CD image whole from the net (cause you have bandwidth and are in a
hurry).

So maybe you click on the "Debian on CD" link, right? And from there on
the 4th bulletted link ("Download CD images using HTTP or FTP"), after
wading past unofficial minimal CD images, and learning what jigdo is.
And then on scroll way down the list to your country. And then into the
current directory on the mirror, oops, that was jigdo only?!  back out
and to the 3.0r0 directory. What, that was jigdo again?! Hmm, try
another mirror. Maybe the one in Austria, because it's the top of that
list of mirrors. Hmm, no, it only has a jigdo directory too. Finally, by
picking the FTP site (not the HTTP site) in Austria, and digging two
more directories deep, you find an iso.

But maybe instead, back at debian.org's front page, you picked the
"Getting Debian" link instead. Only to end up on a page that links to cd
vendors and "downloading over the Internet". Ok, the latter. But it
points to a page that only lets one download unnofficial netinst iso
images, which are of varying quality, and well, unnoficial. And this
second path (or rather, cul-de-sac) to a debian CD is entirely
independant of the one described above. The website offers two ways to
do the same thing, and neither works at all well.

People report this to the web team all the time. Someone complained
about it today. I think the obvious things to do to fix it would be to
do a little usability study (feel free to use me as one data-point; I
have never used the debian website to try to download a debian CD
before; indeed I have never downloaded a debian CD). Figure out all the
ways that someone can fuck this up, count how many correct choices they
have to make the get to the result, and work out how to simplify it.

There is no technical reason why the "Debian on CD" link could not look
up the requestor's ip address, a-la-CPAN, and direct them directly to an
i386 iso image on a mirror near them; presenting a page with that image
in a big bold link, and links to the other architectures iso's after in
general order of populatity of those architectures for CD installs. And
down at the bottom, the remainder of the stuff from cdimage.debian.org
(which is a lot nicer now than it was before, but I think has a long,
long way to go before it matches Bushnell's perception).

-- 
see shy jo

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