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Re: Announcing Debian Package Tags


(sorry to respond)

On Tue, Apr 29, 2003 at 07:35:47PM -0400, Colin Walters wrote:

> On Tue, 2003-04-29 at 14:32, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
> > On Tue, 29 Apr 2003 12:24:19 -0400, David Roundy <droundy@abridgegame.org> said: 
> > 	To be precise, you said "Maybe novices should only be shown
> >  gui programs after all". Not that novices should be allowed to decide
> >  to only view gui programs IF THEY WISH, as you said later. The first
> >  message impled that some one other than novices decides what to show
> >  them, then you toned it down to being a choice of the end user, which
> >  is acceptable.
> Manoj, the topic here is tuning Debian for different audiences.  Believe
> it or not there are a huge number of people in the world for whom if you
> said "terminal application" or "gui" they just stare at you blankly.  In
> fact they comprise the vast majority of people in the world.  For most
> of these people, most console applications are just not usable.

Of course they stare at you blankly, because they are very technical
terms. They just want to use the computer for what they need it for.

But some people seem to chronically forget that it's just a few years
ago that end users needed to type

C:\> cd wp51
C:\> wp

in order to launch their wordprocessor. Most also learned how to copy
files around with "copy". 

People regarded these commands as fully intended for the end users, and
they were used by the end users. It was just part of operating the

I object to any idea that a command line and non-computer-savvy users
don't match. In a lot of cases, there's just as much learning involved
in GUI-operated computers, and it often doesn't achieve much more
productivity in the end.

GUIs tend to be a lot more modal (opening and closing windows!) than a
command line. People often have trouble keeping track of "where they
are", and "how to get from a to b" in GUI applications. The transition
from a to b (eg. close window) is often a lot different from going from
b to a (eg. find application in launcher, start application), and this
modality is hard, because most things in the world don't work that way.

A command line is always the same command line (the only modal behaviour
is when you type a quote, causing the next prompt to be different).
Also, people tend to have a lot larger memory for words than for images
and unpronounceable hieroglyphs (icons, and -- shudder -- tool bars).

It's not that I think GUIs are bad in any way. It's just that they are
vastly overrated by a lot of people. Just because they're seen often
nowadays don't make them "natural", remember that. 



E-Advies - Emile van Bergen           emile@e-advies.nl      
tel. +31 (0)70 3906153           http://www.e-advies.nl    

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