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Re: Future of Debian uncertain?

On Wed, Feb 26, 2003 at 01:17:33AM -0500, Alfredo Valles wrote:

> >"our users" refers to people who *are* users of Debian, not to some
> >indefinite market segment we might wish to capture in the future.

> But don't you think an underpaid Doctor who work all day for healing a 
> serius desease for a 3th world country and only have 2 hours a day to 
> sit in his computer  have the rigth to enjoy GNU/Debian as much as a 15 
> year old boy who spend 10 hours a day investigating the system?
> Don't you think these kind of persons are a user segment that debian 
> should enforce to please to.

> What social contribution are you talking about then? Are you making this 
> system just to please yourself?

I would like Debian to be accessible to everybody.  However, as an
administrator, I believe many efforts to make Linux distributions
accessible to end users are misguided, because they blur the line
between *use* and *administration*.  This is understandable; Microsoft
has spent a lot of effort trying to convince the public that any idiot
should be able to administer a computer (why, just look at the MCSE
program).  But while I want Debian to be an empowering operating system
that grows with the user, I think any strategy that expects users to
also be administrators is a losing one -- no matter how easy we make it
to administer that system.

I think getting Debian into the hands of doctors in 3rd-world countries
is a great idea -- but I think the way to do that is by giving those
doctors pre-configured systems, not by giving them a box of CDs.
Anything that asks that doctor to spend even one hour of his time making
the system work is a misapplication of resources.  Improving the
installer helps administrators, but to benefit *users*, we should also
be working on improving the social infrastructure so they don't *have*
to know the difference between 75dpi and 100dpi fonts.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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