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Re: Hurd UX testing


Amos Jeffries, le sam. 04 juil. 2020 07:23:43 +1200, a ecrit:
> User with existing Debian machine. Wants to try out Hurd but not wipe
> out their existing machine or play around with complex virtual machinery
> nor command line tricks.

Well, that is a non-scenario then?

> The "Debian Way" is to install packages.

The Debian GNU/Linux way is, for running applications on a Linux-based
system, yes, but not more.

> Problem #1: tutorial for non-expert users doe not exist as far as I can
> tell. Everything seems to assume the command line is to be used and very
> much require an expert/dev level of skills and interest.

Well, yes, trying a somewhat-experimental operating system will always
be so. The fact that currently people can have the impression of running
Linux on windows by "just installing a package" is on bogus assumption:
it really is a virtual machine being installed under the curtain.

Just to be clear: no, the Hurd is not ready for non-expert users. Will
it ever be? If people work on making it, it can. But as of now, it's
clearly a no.

> 2) User now needs to add the ports repository:
>   Synaptic Menu: Settings->Repositories
>   Click "New" button
> Type:          deb
> URI:           [arch=hurd-i386] http://deb.debian.org/debian-ports/
> Distribution:  unstable
> Sections(s):   main

I'm *really* wondering: how did you end up thinking this could work? Is
this documented anywhere (that would really need to be erased)?  I'd
even tend to think that it's an important bug of synaptic: it should
*not* let the user think that packages for completely different
ports will work at all. For a different architecture, you'd need the
corresponding qemu-user simulator (yes, virtual machinery). For a
different *kernel*, there is simply no support and I doubt there will
ever be. Even the i386->amd64 cross-upgrade is not really supported, so
even less cross-kernel upgrades...

I'm sorry, but really I don't think this package approach will ever
work, since it's not even working for i386->amd64.

> 3) User now need to install the package.
> Problem #2: which one?

The thing is: on Linux you would not know either! One would have to
know one needs a kernel, probably a libc, and oh well an init system,
apparently called systemd. But also a getty to be able to log in at all
etc. That's what an installer is meant for.

> And thusly the user gives up thinking Hurd is unusable. :(

It happens that the Hurd is unusable under a Linux kernel, yes.  And
vice-versa!  And ditto for kFreeBSD/Linux or Hurd/kFreeBSD.

Really, if you want to make the Hurd "ready" for non-expert to try out,
use a virtual machine, prepared images can be opened in virtualbox
easily for instance, there's currently no other way and I don't think
Debian will ever be able to support it the just-package way.

That being said: will non-expert have a nice time trying out
the Hurd? I definitely think they won't, because there's no
nice-ribbon-for-non-techy to show them that would be specific to the
Hurd. See the FAQ about the Hurd advantages: they are about technical
flexibility, security etc., not flashy graphical interfaces that
non-expert would be able to appreciate.


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