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Re: KDE Usability survey

On Wednesday 12 March 2003 23:28, Michael Schuerig wrote:
> On Wednesday 12 March 2003 21:42, Frank Van Damme wrote:
> > Second, It may not be the design goal to run on the lowest end stuff
> > (like a system built out of Linux, Dietlibc, TinyX and twm or
> > something :-) ), but I hope it isn't the goal of the kde project to
> > become as big as Windows Xp or something (exageration for the sake of
> > demonstration).
> Current KDE works pretty well on machines that are more than 3 years
> old. If anything, they'd need more -- and cheap -- memory. What more do
> you want? Those are machines you can't even buy anymore.

No, that's true. Well, except for secondhand off course. A new computer also 
costs a bit of money, certainly if you want quality hardware, not a 90€ 
all-in mobo that breaks after a year. 

> I admit it freely, I easily accept more bloat if the additional
> functionality I get in turn outweighs it. This may not be aesthetically
> pleasing, but I take it there's a significant group of people who
> factually agree with me in the way they choose.

Why do you think I run kmail. It didn't run too fast on my p133, but it's 
oh-so easy and practical. 

> Now, how large is this later group? And, in comparison, how many people
> are there who absolutely need low resource use on a level of say 5 year
> old hardware.

Quit a bit I think. Think student rooms. I study in a rather small city which 
is packed with students, many of them having a computer in their rooms, used 
basically as a typewriter, 99 percent of them with using the DOS extentions 
from MS called Windows. Those computers are mostly pentium 1's, often with 
memory beefed up to 32 or 48 megs ram. You also find pentium 3's or the 
ocasional Amd, but as far as I can tell, pentium 3's or Athlons are a 
minority. Actually, I know a girl who (just 2 years ago!) replaced her 386 
with 12 megs ram, on which she did all her word processing with Word 4 or so, 
with a super-slick pentium 200 featuring a whopping 96 megs ram. 

And no, they are not the sons and daughters of unemployed homeless people :-) 

Just to say: people don't want to upgrade their hardware if "that linux thing" 
has the reputation to run on slower hardware. No, they'd rather stick to 
windows 95. Even if it isn't HALF as user-friendly as KDE, and its design 
ugly as hell, unlike kde's (think kparts). 

There are a few things to consider here:
1) develpers usually have bigger boxes. They might not notice their own apps 
getting slower. 
2) We're looking at those people who we think are using kde or a Debian 
desktop. Don't forget that there are people on other parts of the world (not 
us/europe) that use the stuff we threw away years ago - if they're lucky. 

> In my book, it would be tendentious to ask people whether they would
> prefer KDE using less resources. Everyone does. IMHO, one of the few
> valid questions in this regard is, How many people are exluded from
> using KDE because of its resource requirements. Possibly taking into
> account affordable hardware upgrades.

Good point. Thinking about resources is easy for users: the less resources 
taken, the better. This isn't the case with other useability issues. I will 
agree with you that memory is pretty easy to upgrade. For 25-50 € you'll be 
able to upgrade a box (assuming 72-pins edo ram) to the point where it will 
run KDE without swapping excessively. I don't think it's realistic to try and 
launch a fullblown desktop on 16 megs ram these days :-)

People also seem to differ in their perception os speed - some find any 
computer older then 2 years unbearably slow, others will say they don't 
notice too much difference between a P200 and a GHz computer. 

Otoh, how many people will even know that computers are upgradeable or see 
looking for extra memory and someone to overclock their p75 as a possibility 
at all? Don't laugh - this is the kind of user who will be dropped in front 
of a linux box the next years. Maybe not immediately Debian, but Mandrake at 
first but you know what I mean ;-)

Frank Van Damme

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