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Re: Using Ubuntu when I'm used to Debian.

On Tue, 4 Apr 2006 15:00:33 -0400
Hal Vaughan <hal@thresholddigital.com> wrote:

> I think in the long run there'll always be config files that are easy to 
> edit, but we're just seeing more and more tools that make Linux easier 
> and easier to use.  In the long run, it's a good thing.
> I notice so many geeks with that kind of concern.  There's this idea in 
> many circles that Linux is being ruined because this and that are added 
> that make it more user friendly.  Every time someone suggests something 
> that makes an install easier or an easier config method, there is 
> always hostility in this group and elsewhere.  If the real issue were 
> that people didn't like those programs, the solution would be simple: 
> don't use them.  Just keep using a text editor to edit config files.

Don't get me wrong. I think opening up Linux to a broader audience is great. I'm all for it and love the fact that my mom is now using Ubuntu on an old G3 iMac. She doesn't even really know that she's using something different and always asks questions like "do I need the install disk for this printer? and which one, the mac one I assume since this is a mac..." Even better is walking her through printer installation over the phone and having it "just work". She could have done it herself but like s the security blanket effect of "Dial-a-geek".

Anyway, I'm all for user-friendliness as long as it doesn't obscure stuff too much. I'm gradually working my way away from gui apps as I get more and more comfortable with linux. why? there seem to be much more powerful, if a little cryptic, programs in the console world. GUI apps by their nature seem to limit the depth of functionality as there's just too damn many clicks to get there... meanwhile, lots of console apps say, heck lets make it do everything 'cause if they're working in a console the user will have to learn all this stuff anyway. 

The point in this ramble is that some user-friendliness comes with a price -- obscured or missing functionality (no MTA is a prime example), a lack of understanding on the part of the user through too much abstraction, and a dumbing-down of the user by coddling them enough that they forget how to think about what they're doing on a computer. but that's my opinion.



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