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Re: Debian Usability Research

On Thu, Apr 03, 2003 at 10:17:13AM -0500, Colin Walters wrote:

> > > What would a Debian Usability project do?
> > I see a really strong relation to Debian-Desktop.  If you can't see any
> > different goals just work together.
> I do too, honestly.  -desktop has a slightly larger goal (e.g. making a
> good default GUI environment), but usability is at least 75% of the
> project.

Well, I see Debian Usability as something not necessarily tied to the
desktop.  I see instead the risk of think about usability as something
that only regards the desktop, and miss all the rest.

I quite agree that usability is a really big part in addressing desktop
environments, and it's no surprise that all major desktop projects have
thriving usability working groups.  However, while these people's task
is to address desktop usability, ours (as Debian, not as Debian Desktop)
is to address the distribution as a whole.

This doesn't mean just a desktop: it could mean a handeld environment,
an installation on a live-cd acting as a kiosk with a TV output, an
embedded router or (and this is what's special about such a big
distribution) any other use we can't predict.

Many topics have been raised at the LCA BOF, some of which have been
summarized in my original announcement.

Some of them are most useful to the desktop area, such as how to put
mime support info in package metadata to allow features such as
installing an appropriate reader on demand.

Some of them, however, cover a broader scope, like introducing multiple
package sections, providing different metadata sets for different debian
flavours/subprojects or finding a smarter way to answer usability bug
reports.  This stuff can definitely help in a desktop environment, but
it's not limited to it: it improves the whole structure of the distro.

There is already a lot of work going on in usability for the desktop
area, but very little has been made (afaik) to address the specific
problems that a whole, huge distribution like Debian can have.

This is where I want to go.


GPG key: 1024D/797EBFAB 2000-12-05 Enrico Zini <enrico@debian.org>

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