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Re: Fax programs! help please. (fwd)

On Tue, 14 Jan 1997, Johann Spies wrote:

> able to encourage them if Linux become more user friendly.  Most computer
> users are computer illiterates and the program user-interfaces must
> overcome that problem.

This is not directed at Johann or anyone else in particular.  In fact,
this message has little to do with Johann's message.  He just finally
inspired me to speak up.  Please feel free to comment or just ignore
this message.  I have felt for some time that a lot of people are
getting the wrong idea about Linux.  I don't think linux is intended
to be a suitable replacement OS for "computer illiterates" and other
people who want to put no work into their system, and I hope linux
developers are not trying to make it that.

We shouldn't expect a Windows 95 user to be able to install Linux in
an afternoon and never have to do any configuration at all.  If they
can get Linux up and running with suitable applications to keep them
happy, they may never feel the need to do appropriate administration.
I've seen this in action.  It's a horrible site to see the state that
a Linux box gets to after 4 to five months of non-administration.
Linux *is* a unix like system that requires a certain amount of
administration just like any other unix system.  Don't get me wrong.
I have nothing against great, user-friendly tools to make
administration easier, but I don't think the computer should be left
to administer itself completely.  What will the user do in 3 months
when something goes wrong (as things do inevitably happen)?  He or she
might not even know where to begin looking let alone be able to fix
the problem.  Unix boxes need administrators.  

I do see a case for user-friendly apps and such that allow *users* to
use the system without any need to learn unix, but I see this in a
multi-user environment such as an office or department where there is
a system administrator *somewhere* who is responsible for upkeep.  For
machines that will sit on a desktop and only ever have one user, that
one user *must* learn to be the administrator.  Either that or they
could just reinstall from scratch every time something goes wrong?

I don't know.  Linux is a very powerful OS, and part of its power
comes from its flexibility and configurability.  I don't know of a
good way to have an "automatic" OS that is also as flexible and
powerful.  Along the same lines, I think adding simplicity to dselect
to help new users get started is great, but I don't think any of the
power of dselect should be taken way.  It is a very powerful tool once
you learn how to use it.  Making it more intuitive would be something
nice that wouldn't affect functionallity.

Forgive my rambling, or just fire away.  Just adding my two cents.


----==-- _                     / /  \         
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-=====/_/_//_/\_,_/ /_/\_\  /______\ \ \  - edwalter@students.wisc.edu
   http://www.linux.org     \_________\/

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