Re: Debian desktop -situation, proposals for discussion and change. Users point of view.
When you talk about "desktop users", I think you really mean "novice
consumers". Is that a fair assessment? In my experience, Debian can
work just fine on the desktop in some situations, just not for novice
home users. (think, e.g., about desktops for office workers)
We have had 50 Debian desktop installations in our organisation, and the
users have had some legitimate needs, and were not happy with some
usability shortages or bugs in some basic software found in Debian Sarge
(OpenOffice.org, Firefox, Thunderbird, and so on).
Since we use these applications massively, and have to communicate with
outside word, and those installations have been pilot project to whole
organisation's migration to Linux, it has been important for us to make
the work environment as flawless as possible.
The issues have beed reported upstream and fixed, however the only way
to get the fixes to end user was to abandon distributional versions
completely and install generic upstream packages.
Thus, I assume that not only novice consumers have the need for
improving desktop software and bugs seen fixed.
However, Debian dosen't officially support and embrace any way to do
this. Watching for new version, You're on Your own.
Why would you want this?
In a setting where you have people doing productive work using a piece
of software, unnecessary changes to the software are *worse* in the short
term than a fixed and unchangable set of bugs: not only are changes likely
to break the software, but they may require users to retrain or disrupt
the processes of your organization. This is true even if the new software
is an unqualified improvement (either in terms of bug count or usability)
over the old software; look at the backlash over the new Ribbon interface
in Microsoft office, for instance.
Yes, if software works well, then changes are not wellcome. That's why I
suggest the desktop softwares upgrades to be "non-mandatory", however