Why "free" shouldn't have to mean "complicated"
In the past weeks I tried to "get out of my Windows-world" (Apple TV-ad).
Because I couldn't change to a Mac (I'm a student -- and students do not
have any money as you know) I tried a lot of software. Just a short
1. MiniWoody-Linux (German distribution in 200 MB): didn't start up after
2. Darwin (BSD): Lost all my data; arrived at a screen with 256 Colors; no
mouse because of USB.
3. Debian: Took the whole lot of installation-steps but didn't arrive at an
end. However -- it crashed at the end.
4. Mandrake Linux: Downloaded only one CD, crashed at the end of
installation because packages were missing on my CD.
5. Suse Linux: Too big. Too fat. I have had enough of Linux and didn't want
to choose the whole lot of packages again.
6. BeOS R5 (the old one): What a joy! Simple Installation under Windows,
fast, simple, great. But not open-source. Too old and just a little programs
available. No networking.
7. Windows 2000, the good old friend. Just to work. Insecure, instable, ugly
(not as much as XP) -- but it still works.
What to say? Well, perhaps I'm just too stupid to get things work. Perhaps
it isn't only my fault.
What is the aim of free software -- and what it sould be:
It's to make free software. Software everybody can change, expand, develop.
Everybody can run (and it can cost). Not everybody is a developer. Everybody
is Joe Sixpack that wants to have a computer that works. No configuring, no
compiling, no choosing. Well, he could buy a Mac -- but as you know, J. S.
hasn't the money or the spirit to do.
If you thinkg that he has heard of Linux -- and is going to the next Best
Buy to get the newest RedHat because people said it is the easiest way to
get "free software" -- it isn't J. S. any more. An OS should be simple and
impressing enough to be preinstalled on Computers. There is no real
difference between Suse, RedHat, Debian, Mandrake, SCO (besides spiritual
aspects). They all are very, very complicated to J. S.
If your aim is to bring (free) software to everybody -- J. S. included --
why don't you do it? Why are there still hundreds of steps to do before J.
S. can run his WYSIWYG-LaTeX-distribution and get documents you can look at
(not as docs made in MS Word)? Why has he to chose a Window-Manager? Why has
he to choose thousands of packages to be installed? Why has he a Webserver
on his machine? Why an FTP-server? Why to read tons of pages of descriptions
to install (and not as in Mac OS X just 30 beautiful pages, 1 single page to
install the iMac)? Why has he first of all to download hundreds of megabytes
Why isn't there a bridge between developer and user, why isn't there a
"debian smart"-distribution for my loved J. S.? Being installed from J. S's
ugly Windows XP GUI in three steps (chosing auto-partitioning that doesn't
delete the whole disk, chosing his country and his language, rebooting) and
being able to work (doing configuration later -- or automaticly for
usb-devices)? Why isn't working intuitive? Why don't you bring to customers
what they are asking for in 310 MBs (or 420 or whatever -- but less than 650
Why isn't the customer being entertained, why can't he _love_ and not only
like his product? Why isn't he waiting for announcements and praying for
some entertaining news?
It would be that simple. It would be that great.
I'm not a suscriber of your list. If you'd like to answer me (to say that
I'm stupid to ask these questions etc.) please write personally back.
Besides of complexity Debian is walking a nice way.
If there's something I can do for you (explaining further details, let you
know more concepts, do some work in marketing, planning, coordinating,
publishing (translating) etc.) -- just let me know. I'll be there.
Hope you're dreaming of a simpler world.
-- Just as simple as possible, but not simpler.