Linked by Adam S on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 00:25 UTC
Editorial A few weeks ago, I wrote an article for OSNews entitled "Update on Red Hat's Limbo Progress." It was to be a short article on how much Red Hat's beta releases have impressed me - to share with everyone some of the changes a desktop user sees and maybe generate some additional interest in my choice, Linux. Little did I know, one of my comments nearly incited a riot- it would flood my Inbox, leave me feeling silly about something that I still think is true...it was just poorly stated.
So, let's try a little experiment.
Order by: Score:
And you just unleashed a massive virus...
by Daniel on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 00:43 UTC

Double clicking on a file to install it is EVIL. A good distribution would provide a nice graphical installer program and documentation that says "Open RPMs with RPM-Installer to install them." You could even top it off by giving "RPM-Installer" the power to act as a fronted for APT4RPM when I needs to resolve dependencies.

Agreed
by Colin LeMahieu on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 00:56 UTC

I agree with this editorial 100%. I think the biggest failing in Linux is the "nerd arrogance" Honestly, most of the programmers are not business people, the shortcoming in a lot of the community is the fact that people frankly don't want to be presented with options, they want things to work, work fast, and work all the time. Fighting the OS to install things is not what the user wants to spend their time doing, it costs them recreational time if they're at home, and it costs a salary if your people at work are fighting their machines.

I agree...
by Samuel Sidler on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 00:56 UTC

I tryed Linux out about a year ago, and had to switch back due to the complexity of just doing simple tasks. While I have some computer experience, quite a lot compared to others, I couldn't remember all of the procedures needed. Every time I needed to install something, I had to remember a chain of commands that, frankly, shouldn't need to be remembered. A standard format is in the best interests of the community. As for viri (sp?) that may come out of it, security measures CAN be taken. It's if they want to be taken...

Nicely stated
by Stug on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 00:59 UTC

I've been trying to use Linux for over half a year now, and I find the biggest problems to be what he's talking about. Granted, I can install most software, either by compiling or using a package manager, but it's always kind of comforting to go back to installshield wizards with windows.

Kpackage
by Karl on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 00:59 UTC

I use KDE as my desktop. I find that you can easily uninstall (and install) rpms with kpackage.

...
by Anonymous on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 00:59 UTC

>Of course, you could install it anywhere, but the menu should
>tell you where it thinks it should go.

Well, now everyone will argue that Linux is becoming more like Windows because it doesn't allow flexibility. The linux people don't care about the usability or support or consistency. Why? They are not paid to do it. If there will be one big company managing all of linux or if LSB is reasonable and influential enough, then things will start to improve. Of course, geeks might complain this will be the next "M$".

Until then, Linux will reamin in the server zone.

RPM Installer
by Alex on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 01:05 UTC

Talking about an RPM installer....

I remember once using Mandrake 8.0 and I was installing a program, I forgot its name but I was amazed from what I saw however still not good enough. See, it was an RPM file, I clicked to install it and a nice message box popped up on the screen telling me in order to install the RPM I would need the --- ---.lib file and to please insert CD 2 (I think it was CD 2) from the Mandrake installation CDs. I go WOW, Mandrake becomes Windows! I suddenly got excited and I gladly inserted the CD 2 and clicked OK. I heard the CD spinning and the hard drive, doing something and after a while, I got an error message telling me that there was an error installing --- ---.lib --- ---.lib etc with no details of what the error is. Go figure, I had to do it manually as far as I remember but I don't remember whether I succeeded, it was a some time ago.

Greatly stated, wonder why RPM tool not improve
by Anonymous on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 01:08 UTC

I've been using and supporting Linux since kernel 1 - found that installing and compiling your own app from source code was a joy.. but today, there's got to be a better handling of software packages. Granted, Red Hat had done pretty good job.. but average Joe or even technically inclined Joe usually gets frustrated over simple app. install.

If this is unified, Linux would be 80% closer to becoming average desktop OS.

OSX seems to do it nicely
by Ben on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 01:14 UTC

I'm running OSX at home and it has a very easy installation system (by the way, I know almost nothing about Linux... yet)

Maybe this is all already known but...

Usually you download a compressed file (.sit or .zip), double click on it to uncompress it. This creates a .dmg file which is a disk image (is that similar to an RPM file?). Once the disk image is mounted, usually all I have to do is drag the application into my applications directory. If it is a system update, all I have to do is double click on the installer app. Nothing more. For the home user or end-user, this kind of simplicity is key. I would suppose that if Apple can do it, the Linux community can too.

Why reinvent the wheel?
by Spark on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 01:20 UTC

I don't get it, you make it look like as if it would always be like that and the comments so far just confirm this. But just because people disagree doesn't mean they don't want it to be easy for users (ok some freaks don't, but those "in charge" usually do).

First you say that it should be possible to doubleclick a RPM. I would be extremely surprised if this wouldn't be possible in RedHat 8. Even Nautilus will eventually be able to handle RPM with an integrated viewer. However, just doing nothing is not an option and I guess RedHat knows this. It should launch their new packaging tool to install the application.

Second you suggest that it asks for the root password. Of course! Packaging applications do this allready, last time I installed something with RedCarpet it did exactly this. RedHat also has this nice PAM integration in RedHat 8.0. It's a sure thing that it will ask you nicely for your password to do anything that requires administrative rights.

Third you talk about all packages beeing installed at a common place. That's what the LSB is for. Making this optional (and adding yet another thing the user has to answer) doesn't sound like a good idea to me, why not just use the LSB standard.

Fourth you talk about uninstalling. Every GUI packaging tool should allow convenient uninstalling so I also expect this from the RedHat 8 packaging tool. This is IMO even one of the strengths of RPM.

Fifth you talk about making shortcuts. I'm not sure what you mean. RPM's should register themself with the menu. If they don't, the package is obviously broken. And if they do, all is fine for the user, isn't it? She can drag the menuitem whereever she wants to create new shortcuts. Why make it more complicated than it has to be?

So as a conclusion, I'm pretty sure that RedHat 8 (and all other big distributions) will satisfy your needs. The only thing that still is a real problem is dependencies. What should happen if a package can't be installed because of missing dependencies? This might be the biggest remaining problem with RPM but you make no suggestion how to improve this one. ;)
APT for Debian solves this problem, as they have all packages at one place. The (huge) downside of this is, that it only works if all packages are provided by the Debian team and if the user has a good internet connection.
Portage also more or less solves this problem but compiling everything from source (even automatically) is most probably no option for the average user.

Linux & Problems with it
by ShadowWolf on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 01:34 UTC

I have to agree. I loved Linux at first, I mean it never crashed, it was easy to update, and I managed to get 5 distributions ( Debian, Mandrake, SuSE, RedHat, and Slackware ). Out of the ones I recieved, I only really enjoyed SuSE due to the fact that it worked really well and was easy to use...so I thought. After about 6 months I totally gave up after trying to get 3D games to work ( failed on an NVidia Card ), trying to install WineX and get it to work ( installed it ok, no games worked ), and I got sick of the fact that EVERYTHING wanted to be on the start menu, but I had no option to throw it on the desktop as well. I also noticed that updating or installing anything could easily become a painfully difficult process.

Basically, I think Linux has the potential to be really cool, but fails at it due to the fact that it was generated by Nerds. Also, there's a serious lack of consistancy in the system. Some commands have UNIX-esque syntax, others have Windows-esque syntax and even others have BSD-esque syntax!

Werd. But one more thing
by Corey O'Connor on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 01:44 UTC

A nice installer would be great. But really as friendly as installers get, if there is still 50 billion files and 20 million sym link in /usr/lib that installers are dumping files to the useability of linux will still be lower than any desktop os'. Anybody here ever go from glibc 1.0 to 2.0 (I might have the version numbers wrong) Holy crap was it a pain in the ass. Deleting a library is also equally a pain. Gotta delete the lib, the sym links from previous versions to that lib, and older non-binary compatible version plus it's sym links. etc etc (yes yes, there are tools to do this, I know. But there shouldn't need to be) Whew....
OS X packages are a nice (Tho not perfect) solution. Multiple versions of the same library? No problem! What about header files? Yep. Single command removal either via finder or terminal. Got that also.

solution:: portagemaster
by lu_zero on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 01:51 UTC

I'm using gentoo and having fun with it
actually I'm thinking about setting up some systems with gentoo installed and then sell them to the user

portage is quite powerful for such task and the portagemaster makes everything even more confortable for "user not yet used"

(just a prebuilt tbz2 gentoo package repo and you got the perfect desktop distribution for the application mangement issue)

RE: solution:: portagemaster
by Eugenia on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 01:55 UTC

Portage has screwed up with binary compatibility and dependancies many times here.
As for the five (!) GUI front ends to Portage so far (and none of them is actually done!), none of them is actually a no-brainer for simple users. They all try to include the advanced features of Portage on their Gui, making it an absolute no-go for a user. They are just no simple enough. And there are not many precompiled builds, most of the apps come with source on Gentoo, which is a problem on a desktop's user OS.

Get Some Ideas...
by bzImage on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 01:56 UTC

It's not going to happen until they figure out a way to solve the dependencies problem. It's worse than Windows DLL hell (MFC42.DLL).

Do some research, listen to users. Copy existing ideas and make them better. What's wrong with copying Windows' installation manager? Look at some of the successful commercial Installation Management products for Windows and get some ideas.

Here are some:

o InstallShield (www.installshield.com)
o gInstall (http://www.ginstall.com)
o Setup2Go (http://www.dev4pc.com/)
o Many more (http://download.com.com/3150-2216-0.html?tag=stbc.gp)

--
Quang

RE: Get Some Ideas...
by Eugenia on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 02:01 UTC

> It's not going to happen until they figure out a way to solve the dependencies problem. It's worse than Windows DLL hell

Microsoft has solved the dependancy hell with XP. Now a single DLL file includes many different versions of itself.

Unix truly has the worse dependancy hell anyone could imagine.

nope
by lu_zero on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 02:01 UTC

take kportagemaster

just browse the app an ask for mergin it

if if comes from source (common case if you don't have a package repo to use) it will take a bit to install, just that

Maybe is just me (since I have not do any specimen test with unyu (user not yet used) of that part)

Great article, some more comments...
by Zenja on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 02:03 UTC

Great article Adam. Here is my main gripe with all OS's:
- why the heck do we need to install small apps. Why cant I simply unzip a small app into a certain directory and *presto*, its finished. This way I can move the app directory anywhere I want to, and remove it when I want to. Shared libraries are constantly in a state of flux for small apps. Link the libraries into the app.

- Big globally shared libraries (ie. OpenGL32, SDL, posix etc) are a different story, and should be independant from apps. The whole KDE libraries should be 1 single library, not 22 with dependancies intertwined. Its silly to force users to install libraries in a predetermined sequence (and the sequence is not publically published).

I like the idea of seperating apps into categries - ie. newbies dont know that Galeon/Konqueror and web browsers - a nice alias called 'Browse the Internet' with these 2 files under it can sure help a lot of new users evaluating a new system.

Abso-freakin'-lutely
by Hunter/A3 on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 02:06 UTC

I can't tell you the number of programs that I've come across that I ran into a dead end just like you've described. BUT unlike most people, I'm too damned stubborn to give up. I refuse to give in that easy. I'd like to think there are alot of people as stubborn as me, but I'd be wrong.

Now the drag and drop shortscuts thing? Hmmm. For some, that may be an issue, but in KDE you can just right click and choose to make a short cut from there as long as you know where the program resides.

RPMs are great as long as they were designed for your distro, but if not, it's the old tar ball thang. I couldn't agree more about an installer file format.

And this thing about viri? Pfft. Unless you're running as root and you got your file from Joe's backdoor Files website, you should be fine.

If the desktop users aren't coming to Linux, then Linux needs to go to the desktop users. Simple as that.

FreeBSD
by Chris on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 02:08 UTC

I don't know why no one has mentioned FreeBSD's packages and ports system yet. With FreeBSD, I can install a program with from source or by package - all I need to know is the package name. To compile, I simply type "make install" and it downloads the source, any dependencies, compiles them all, installs them, and registers the installation. Later, a make uninstall will remove the package. If I don't want to compile, I can use pkgadd, which will add the programs to the same registry. Portage is a step in the right direction, but I don't know why more Linux distro's don't adopt the BSD approach.

Mixing things out of context.
by David W. Studeman on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 02:12 UTC

Apt can and does use rpm, deb and so on. Apt is a retrieval system, rpm is a package management system. There is no such thing as an .apt package.

Also people, the RTFM comments are misguided and apply not only to Linux users, but newsgroup etiquette period. You do not ask for help on a NG of any subject, Linux, or Basket Weaving, without showing that you tried to find the answer on your own. Nobody wants to spoon feed the unwilling and people get fed up with people demanding help when it would have taken two seconds on Google to find the info. The RTFM responses are much more than you could possibly expect as most people will ignore you all together for not doing a search on your own and posting what you tried and what you did come up with. Making a simplistic request on a NG such as, "konqueror doesn't start, please help". This kind of all to common stsyle of request is very lazy and disrespectful to other NG readers.

RE: FreeBSD
by Eugenia on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 02:13 UTC

>I don't know why no one has mentioned FreeBSD's packages and ports system yet.

Don't worry, Adam is also a FreeBSD user. If that is what he had in mind that he wants, he would have mention it in his article.

>all I need to know is the package name.

And Adam talks about knowing nothing. Just doubleclick the file you just downloaded.

FreeBSD is similar to Gentoo's Portage in action. And if you read my previous messages, Portage ain't invulnerable of compatibility/weird dependancy probs.

...
by chicobaud on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 02:15 UTC

Easy and comfortable software installation/upgrading (and community tolerance) are needed. But how many time do we/you need to:
- get that inside the head of the Linux representatives/leaders/devellopers heads? Years or a decade ?
And there is the file format issue - which one: apt, rpm, "lif" or tgz (as in Slackware, good packaging stuff) ?

Well...
by DOlson on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 02:25 UTC

I find that the biggest problem is that there isn't enough software out there for Linux to worry about installing.

--

Seriously, if a user wants to install a program, it probably comes with the distro already. And if not, then I don't find it is that hard to read the readme file. And there is lots of help out there, it just needs to be hunted down.

I know many people who don't even know how to install games in Windows, so why would Linux developers worry about the people who can't even do that? And while we're talking about installing, why can't there be one standardized installer for the actual OS itself? Is this what we want, or not? I mean... We don't want choice, do we?

Of course, I agree with the fact that there should be a standard method of installing programs, but I think that some points are wrong.

Software should follow one policy as to where it gets installed. I shouldn't be able to choose to install OpenOffice.org into /etc/samba/. Correct me if I am wrong, but wouldn't it be a lot harder to help people out over the internet if they have X installed in some crazy location? If we tell them to edit the /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 file, and they say "File not found... What do I do???" because they installed it into /home/joeblow/.kde/uselesscrapidontunderstand/??

I, personally, like the way software is installed right now. I don't know where a lot of it goes, but it is nice.

I don't know about double-clicking on a file or whatever either... Since Mandrake does open RPMs to install them in rpmdrake, I don't see what the problem is with that. Many other distros are starting this too.

Have you seen screenshots of the upcoming Red Hat? They have done a cartload of work on the Add/Remove Packages interface by the looks of it. That should make it easy to add and remove packages that come with Red Hat. Easier than Mandrake. And that says a lot for Red Hat.

Blah blah. I'm rambling, I probably offended someone, and I'm tired so I'm ending my message here - unfinished, incomplete, and incoherent.

I would have to agree Linux's problem is a few, one is the people are just to happy that they was able to install it. They are very pisswe meet some good people that have helped me for weeks on one problem, but others if they never had a problem then they can care less about your problem. If you install BeOS and ask for help you never hear someone say they won't be willing to help you. Macintosh is the second nicest people under BeOS, third FreeBSD (in my experiences).

Next is not just how to install something but where it is installed. Mozilla /usr/lib/mozilla plus not to mention /usr/bin/mozilla is the program and /home/user/.mozilla is the settings. Mac OS X has it right almost with here things should be placed and BeOS has it almost perfect. Even if you go into beos system folder you can still understand where things need to go. Applications in Application folder. But still it should be more like this... These should be the main folders
Applications
Multimedia
Internet
Tools
System
Users
Preferences

And whatever else I can't think of but it should be few and organized. in Users they should be just like OS X a Movie folder Photo, Text, anything you can think of to organize that user even Mail, News, whatever Maybe even the User folder is organized like the folder. Mostly with a UsersusernameSettings folder. Mozilla UsersusernameSettingsMozilla guess what has mozillas settings. Everything should be in a folder as well InternetMozilla has Mozilla the program even if a program is just one file it should be setup like that. So you don't even need an uninstall program. If there is an unistall then there should be an uninstall program in Preferences called Uninstall. Or you can do it by hand go to Internet and Delete the Mozilla folder then go to UsersusernameSettings and delete the Mozilla folder... thats it Mozilla is now uninstalled.

Irritates me
by Rayiner Hashem on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 02:53 UTC

Just type in apt-get <pkg_name> and be done with it. The problem with your hypothetical user is this: She is arrogant. She does not for one moment want to learn anything about the environment she is using. She does not take one moment to read the RedHat (or whatever) user guide for how to install new software. The Open Source community doesn't need to do anything (and morally, shouldn't) to allow people to be oblivious like they are now. 10 minutes with a good HOWTO, and any user could be smart enough to install software via apt-get. If they don't want to spare these 10 minutse, well, they're everything that is wrong with the world today.

RE: Irritates me
by Eugenia on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 02:57 UTC

> She is arrogant. She does not for one moment want to learn anything about the environment she is using.

Why does she have to do that? I completely disagree that people should read guides and manuals to use everyday machinery (because that is what a computer is today). The UI should be intuitive enough to compensate for the lack of experience. Like the automated bank machines or IAs.

This is one of the reasons why Linux will never get to the desktop. People like you, developers who control the fate of Linux and its surrounding apps, DO NOT GET IT.

Stay with your command line. I am surprised you even created X for Unix at the first place.

Jim's .02
by Jim on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 02:58 UTC

I, personally, like the way software is installed right now. I don't know where a lot of it goes, but it is nice.
--------------

I think if you put the software in one location you don't limit yourself to having to pick the best inastaller. Some apps like OOo, Kylix, Netscape etc. have their own (well done) installer rather than use a packaging system. If you put applications into a folder, you can use any number of install methods (even extract, and copy) to install the applications, and still know where it is and how to remove it.

Pretty much a solved problem!
by anony mous on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:05 UTC

IMO, software installation is pretty much a solved problem with MacOS X. There are basically two types of installs. Simple, and complex. The simple ones are usually done by downloading a compressed disk image, mounting it, and dragging the program into the /Applications directory. The complex ones (which involve, for example, moving several files) are usually an install package, which you double click, you enter an admin password, click the "OK" button, and that's it. In both cases, you have a choice of installing in nonstandard places, multiple install locations, etc., but the defaults are what most people do, so it is really just a matter of a couple of mouse clicks. MacOS X is unix, so there really isn't a reason why Linux couldn't do the same thing.

re: previous quote by Rayiner Hashem
by datako on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:06 UTC

You have got to be joking, mate!

Most people want a computer to be an appliance. You know, plug it in, switch on, use it.

This article makes the most sense I have seen in a long time about Linux. Several times over the last few years I have installed it into various families computers, only to have to replace it with youknowwhat98.

Its superiority is masked by its arcanity. Users aren't arrogant, they're users. They have the right to expect a computer OS to be easy to use.

Linux is great for Geeks and people who feel their superiority is enhanced by using it. It is also great for the rest of us, but until it is easier to use on the desktop, it will lose the battle to M$ and OSX.

we are in the ballpark now
by Darren on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:08 UTC

I think that Adam is 95% correct and 100% aiming in the right direction.

Why not expand on the LSB? We have OS's that are LSB compliant. That opens the door for applications to be *.lif (or whatever it was) compliant. This ain't Windows we're talking about, btw. We don't have to limit our extensions to 3 letters. But, I digress.

For the OS to be *.lif compliant, all they have to do is be LSB compliant. The lif file would know where to go.

Here's a how a typical install might go:
Jane sees an app she likes. She sees that they have built a *.lif file for it, so she decides to download it. Now, she opens Konqueror and double clicks the file. An installer opens up and welcomes her by her user name and says, you have asked to install this package, would you like to continue? Jane says "yes". Then, the installer asks her "would you like to attempt to install this for all users or just for herself"? Jane says "for all users". The installer replies, "you may need administrative privileges and may need additional support files, would you like to continue"? Jane says "yes". After a little dependancy and privaledge checking the installer says, "you need this version library. You only have this version. Would you like to update this library?" Jane says, "yes". The installer says, "you must have administrative priv. to update that library. Please supply root's password." The installer fetches a *.lfi compliant library, installs it, finishes the original install and says, "installation complete. Would you like to place an icon on 1. this desktop 2. all of your desktops (a new central desktop.conf file to support this) 3. All desktops for all users"? Jane chooses. The installer says, "thank you for installing this. To uninstall, right click the file icon and choose uninstall".

Now, not all applications have to support that. But, Jane might want to wait until she has more experience before she attempts to try those apps.

I think this would work and should be followed up on.

Darren

More venting
by Rayiner Hashem on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:08 UTC

The other day, I was talking my 12 year old brother through an SSH session (via a windows program called putty) into our network server. Just telling him what to click and what to type (the exact commands we meaningless to him) something anybody could do. Then, I asked him the IP address of the computer he was on. He asked what an IP address was. I told him it was a number of the form 1.2.3.4 He said okay, then replied with the IP address. I was totally taken aback. I asked him how he had found it. He told me that when he logged in via SSH, it had given him the message "Welcome to neo. Last login from 192.168.0.4 on <date>" He had taken the tiny mental step and connected the two ideas. I refuse to believe that the "averge" person is not smart enough to make connections like these. I refuse to believe that they cannot get the hang of ./configure && ./make && ./make install. The fault lies on both sides. On one hand, no nerds take the time to really explain how the computer works. For example, when was the last time you say a manual explain the difference between software and hardware? Or what an OS was? Or how the hierarchical filesystem metaphor worked? Hell, when was it that manuals ever explained what metaphors were used? Its absolutely pathetic! These people have passed high school, they do their taxes, and many are professionals in fields with material far more complex than computers. Sure, this stuff is very abstract, but hell, so is Algebra, and its a required course in high school! You're right. The problem is with the nerds. We think people are much more stupid than they really are, never take the time to teach them anything, and then foist inefficient, unweildy, and productivity-destroying (ex: the new WinXP search dialog that requires numerous clicks just to search for a f*cking file) software on them.

Linux does need to be easier for users
by Slackware on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:14 UTC

Maybe what should be developped, and I think some distros are doing this, is cater a version specifically to new Linux users, giving them a simple desktop and get rid of all the directories that they don't need access to or are too confusing to look at. They don't need to see /var /etc and so on. This is, in some way, what Apple did with OSX. Using either KDE or GNOME and some other "hacks" to X I'm sure someone's going to come up with it. Lycoris, I belive, seems to be headed that way and I would think RedHat will probably do the same.

OTOH, even some Windows users are confused when they use any Windows from version 3.1 up to XP. Partly to blame is the fact that users still have access to the "system" which to them looks confusing and not just the word processor and Internet.

More specifically, users don't read instructions. No matter how much time people spend writing good documentation, people never even spend 5 minutes to read it, they just know "its there if I need it" but they'll spend countless hours calling technical support or constantly asking someone else for help.

I'm all for helping people with Linux, I've had very helpful advice from some people when I started a few years ago. They're still some people who say RTFM. Find another wayt or place on the Net to get help. Almost 99.9% of the time, the people who say RTFM, quote it frequently and they themselves don't know the answer. RTFM is really a way to sound technically literate, but those who know the answer are usually the ones to actually help. Unless of course someone just asked the same question and they couldn't be bothered to read it.

The Howtos and man pages are hard to read even for the technically literate. They are very thourough, but if Linux is going to get on the desktop there's going to have to be a better way to convey to users what to do on the system. Yes, I just said almost no one reads the manuals, which is why a good GUI goes a long way in helping users.

howto's
by Hug0 on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:16 UTC

"10 minutes with a good HOWTO, and any user could be smart enough to install software via apt-get"

Try reading a dns-howto... in 10 minutes
http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/DNS-HOWTO.html

frustration...
by Richard Fillion on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:16 UTC

I get so frustrated when i read this type of stuff. Why? Cause people tend to only look at the BAD stuff, and blow it out of porportion. People tend to find it VERY hard to say "linux does this right, or atleast partly right".

Give a stupid user a debian-based made-for-tards distro, and a frontend to apt (although if you really need a front end to that you are quite sad), and i can pretty much garantee that they can get around.

Never have i needed to even TOUCH library stuff on a debian install, and stuff just works. Dependency hell? What? huh? no such thing. Want to upgrade all your software, 1 command, done. Get it through your heads, its not a Linux problem, its a Moronic-Distro problem. I'm not trying to advertise for Debian, im trying to make it clear that the problem is really distro specific. If you want to bash the RedHat way of doing things, fine, do so, but dont label it as a Linux problem cause it really isnt.

I saw someone say how they thought that it would be nice if apps were categorised in the menu. Good lord, i pitty that person. Its all done for you in other distros.

re: More venting
by Adam Scheinberg on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:17 UTC

Rayiner, your way is the way it's currently done. It ain't working.

The way I proposed isn't necessarily perfect, but I'm trying to get creative to make *nix better. Your brother isn't typical. My mother uses a PC every single day. She e-mails me. She uses IM through AOL. She writes Word documents. She's a bright woman. ** She still doesn't completely understand the desktop/folder metaphor. **

I support 5000+ users at my job, I know what a "user" is. I don't think you really partook in my experiment, because ./make and ./make install are pretty complex concepts, one our hypothetical user probably won't even get to. My mother couldn't EXECUTE a command from the command line, let alone compile it.

The foundation of your beliefs are old school and obsolete. Let go of *nix the way you know it, and you'll begin to see the problems it faces winning over the masses.

Re: Irritates me
by Hunter/A3 on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:18 UTC

Who's more arrogant?

The person who gave Linux the oportunity and eventually went back to windows because they didn't know how to get something working or perhaps the developers who knowingly do not make an attempt to make their programs that the average Joe can use straight out of the box without having to dive into some crypt MAN page or surf through damn near hundreds of websites to hopefully find an answer to their problem because they feel that everyone should be above doing things the mainstream way?

Don't get me wrong. I'm very appriative for the programs that are out there now for the open source community, but if we paint ourselves into an inflexible corner by not making it easier for the average Joe, then people will do as they have done for years and side step OSS all together and pay hard earned money to buy software from a known convicted monopolist company like MS because it works out of the box.

re: More venting
by Eugenia on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:21 UTC

Excellent comment Adam! ;)

I completely agree with you Rayiner, I also think people should write patches for anything that does not work, and all things should be open source, if they can't handle that, they should just keep using MickeyShit or put the computer back in the box. Closed Source software is for stupid evil people that love Bill Gates. I also think people should just RTFM and work on their own cars, and rewire their houses rather than hire an electrician. Whey to the have resteraunts when people can just cook stuff at home. Anyone that is too lazy to read a recipe and cook on their own is an example of all that is wrong with the world. Frankly, I just don't have time for such lesser mortals.

Re: Rayiner
by gmlongo on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:25 UTC

I'm sorry, but Rayiner is everything that is wrong with Linux. He reads an article about how some in the Linux community are hurting Linux's growth by telling newbies to "RTFM", and then he replies brilliantly that all that needs to be done is to "RTFM". WOW. Talk about ignorant.

-G

Re: Irritates me
by Rayiner Hashem on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:27 UTC

> She is arrogant. She does not for one moment want to learn anything about the environment she is using.

Why does she have to do that? I completely disagree that people should read guides and manuals to use everyday machinery (because that is what a computer is today). The UI should be intuitive enough to compensate for the lack of experience. Like the automated bank machines or IAs.
>>>>>>>
I'm trying to resist the urge to curse. A computer is not a simple single-task device like an ATM or a toaster. The computer is a highly sophisticated tool that is often a primary component of someone's work environmen. Given that, it is entirely acceptable to have user interfaces that are highly productive but more difficult to learn. Look at it this way. The people whom Limbo is aimed at (corporate desktop users) use their computer as much as they use their car. They spend months learning how to drive a car. Surely they can spend a few weeks learning how to use a computer. Especially since they'll never have to do it again (if the industry behaves properly) and it will pay off massively in terms of gained productivity.

This is one of the reasons why Linux will never get to the desktop. People like you, developers who control the fate of Linux and its surrounding apps, DO NOT GET IT.
>>>>
We might not see eye to eye on this, but let me tell you my experience. I've taught numerous people to be well-educated computer users. Sure, it takes a little patience, but the result is users that really get a lot more out of their computer than people who refuse to read a manual. It seems to me like you're just making excuses for people too lazy to read the manual. Those kind of people are what is destroying our society.

Stay with your command line. I am surprised you even created X for Unix at the first place.
>>>>>>>
The command line is not the most efficient interface for many things. I'm in KDE 90% of the time. However, I do value using the right tool for the right job. Dumbed down user interfaces that trade ease of use for productivity hurt users, not help them. I suppose there is a place for that sort of interface (like in an IA as you say) but the desktop is not that place. Look, I'm not rooting for complex, hard to use programs. I think UIs should be stream-lined and as intuitive as possible. If Einstien were alive, he'd say that "Interfaces should be as simple as possible, but no simpler." I think it is taking a step backwards to jack up the complexity and inefficiency (a full GUI tool vs a simple few words typed at the command line) in return for the dubious luxury of making a product that doesn't require a manual.

re: More venting
by Darren on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:31 UTC

I think where Rayiner (and many others) might be misguided is in the fact that he believes our ideas about trying to make Linux easier is that stupid people can use it. It's not that at all. It's about making it easier and better than Windows so people will want to switch. It's because most people would rather be spending their time doing something else. I would venture to say that, like me, Rayiner and everyone else reading this has a passion for computers and craves learning everything about computers that we can get our hands on. MOST PEOPLE AREN'T EVEN CLOSE TO THAT! So, if you think Linux is great and you want other people to think so, too, then you have to put yourself in their shoes.

Re: Totally random
by Rayiner Hashem on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:31 UTC

"10 minutes with a good HOWTO, and any user could be smart enough to install software via apt-get"

Try reading a dns-howto... in 10 minutes
http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/DNS-HOWTO.html

Read your response, read my comment. Smack self in head for being stupid.

Re: This is simple>
by Rayiner Hashem on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:32 UTC

Usually you download a compressed file (.sit or .zip), double click on it to uncompress it. This creates a .dmg file which is a disk image (is that similar to an RPM file?). Once the disk image is mounted, usually all I have to do is drag the application into my applications directory. If it is a system update, all I have to do is double click on the installer app. Nothing more. For the home user or end-user, this kind of simplicity is key. I would suppose that if Apple can do it, the Linux community can too.
>>>>>>>
How is this easier than apt-get <app-name>?

Feeding Microsoft
by Hunter/A3 on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:32 UTC

The longer the OSS community stays inflexible about bringing *nix computing to the average user, the more money Microsoft makes by selling their crap to that same average user.

Linux isn't ready for installshield wizard
by jbolden1517 on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:34 UTC

This thread is interesting its hit on the original post several comparisons to different installers like Windows and OSX...

On the original author’s scenario IMHO using Mandrake rather than RedHat solves this issue pretty well. The installer knows where to find most dependencies and does automatically collect them. If they install from Mandrake they are in perfect shape. If they use the Mandrake installer and all the dependencies are relative mainstream they are OK. Only in the situation where they hit a dependency that Mandrake doesn’t cover, are they likely to find themselves have to search the net. Though usually they will get a “needs XYZ” they go into google type XYZ and the library pops up; download it…. So I think functionally Mandrake pretty much delivers what you are asking for as long as they use the mandrake rpm install tool.

The second thing that’s not being account for is that fact that Windows installations while easily don’t actually work that well.
For one thing they don’t work well across versions:
Today I just installed Eudora 5.1. It couldn’t find Outlook files for the migration. Why? Well because I’m running Win2K and the importer doesn’t support NT user directory structures. Now mind you this is probably the 2nd most heavily used mail client in the Windows world earning more revenue then any Linux distribution much less any single Linux app. NT 4.0 came out what 8 years ago? Now that’s a simple issue, contrast that with rpm’s needing to support wildly different distributions that use tons of different features – that is they are far less standard. The fact that RPMs work across distributions as well as they do is rather impressive.

Second: They make a mess of system folders and the registry. My wife had a program that left registry traces behind from a 5 year old demo install which blocked an install. Now of course they were some copy protection type things involved so I’m sure the registry keys were something like {124293482}-42409824892-{902748278492} rather than say “Endnote configuration”->demo=yes; which I would have just flipped to “demo=no” and then installed the new version without problems.

Third: Because prior to Microsoft owning the development platform there were serious library conflicts. At this point there are few conflicts because you have a single set of libraries which are all numbered consistently because they come from the same vendor.

Fourth: Before every version of Windows you see commercial vendors put out info on the web plus new versions of their software so it can install.

My third point is that the rpm is a replacement for make not for install shield. Apt-get, Mandrake installer… are the replacements for install shield I do think they work just as well. I.E. install shield does a good job of installing and uninstalling applications that were built with it as an installer; apt-get and mandrake installer do a good job of installing applications in their repository. Weird installers cause problems in windows weird rpm’s cause problems in Mandrake.

We aren’t going to have point and click installs for software that comes from any locations for years if ever.
A few things need to happen first:

1 – A larger set of libraries in standard locations need to be standard. An app has to know you have QT or GTK on any end user system and that the version is reasonable consistent with the version they think you have.

2 – Software repositories need to be standardized

3 – Configurations need to be much more uniform.

The real question is do we really want that? While easier install is good do we want to recreate corporate desktops on our home systems just to get easy installs of 3rd party software that uses weird dependencies and doesn’t bundle those in as additional rpms at the website? IMHO no. Limiting ignorant users to the 10 gigs on a distribution’s website doesn’t strike me as all that terrible compared to having Linux become a regulated corporate OS.

Re: Irritates me
by Eugenia on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:34 UTC

Oh, come on Rayiner. Everyone here has brilliantly replied to your absurd comments on how things should be done. And why you are exactly like the devs that do not let Linux let go and create something better and easily worked.

Read again the other replies from people too. Everyone wants ease to use. You don't. Well, it will be just you and your geek friends using Linux. The rest won't simply bother.

That's the deal.

agree to disagree
by Adam Scheinberg on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:35 UTC

With respect, Rayiner, we're going to have to agree to disagree. You believe I don't "get it." I believe you don't even know what "it" is. You believe people must learn to use a computer. I believe Linux developers should understand that people will not sit down to learn about computers, they want a computer (OS) to just know what they are trying to do.

Windows does this.
Linux doesn't.

Remind me, who's on 95% of desktops again?

Why X
by jbolden1517 on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:39 UTC

This is one of the reasons why Linux will never get to the desktop. People like you, developers who control the fate of Linux and its surrounding apps, DO NOT GET IT.

Stay with your command line. I am surprised you even created X for Unix at the first place.


I didn't make the original comment but... X wasn't created with ease of use in mind. X was already getting mature before there was any consideration of making it easier than the command line. For most of its life it was a power user's tool to do more stuff then you could at the command line.

Re: Feeding Microsoft
by Richard Fillion on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:42 UTC

The longer the OSS community stays inflexible about bringing *nix computing to the average user, the more money Microsoft makes by selling their crap to that same average user.

Inflexible my ass. You cant say that the linux community isnt trying. It has come a LONG LONG LONG way since when i started using linux, but people keep asking more and more from it. I think people here have to realize that the people who code the linux apps code it cause they WANT to. This doesnt make them non-liable for its ease of use. But you should give them credit for what they've done.

So many ppl bitch, instead of actually helping the cause.

Ah how soon we forget
by jbolden1517 on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:42 UTC

After a little dependancy and privaledge checking the installer says, "you need this version library. You only have this version. Would you like to update this library?" Jane says, "yes".

That's the Windows 95 installer. Small problem Jane doesn't know what apps depend on the library (how could she). What's might break if she says yes? Upgrading libraries is trickier than that especially once you start having binary only software.

How-to's II
by Hug0 on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:42 UTC

"
"10 minutes with a good HOWTO, and any user could be smart enough to install software via apt-get"

Try reading a dns-howto... in 10 minutes
http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/DNS-HOWTO.html

Read your response, read my comment. Smack self in head for being stupid.
"

My point was only that how-to's are too technical for most users, they're mainly for admin's. I wasn't trying to insult you, sorry if i did.

Because it does not scale
by Jim on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:44 UTC

How is this easier than apt-get <app-name>?
------

Because someone has to maintain the mirror and build and test everything etc. Mandrake's software installer is good to, but the idea of giving every Linux app in existence to the distributer to build/test/and make available simply will not scale as Linux grows in popularity.

The problem with apt-get app-name? It only works if app-name is actually on the server. There is a cool program called xygrsvyh, apt-get it and check it out.

Re: How do you know
by Rayiner Hashem on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:44 UTC

Rayiner, your way is the way it's currently done. It ain't working.
>>>>>
No, its not. The way it is currently done is the RedHat way, which takes the bad parts of Windows (apps scattered over the internet) and the bad parts of Linux (complicated installation layout) and mixes them together. How many newbies use something like Debian or Gentoo? None. With good reason. These OSs are legitimately hard to use. They provide no help for configuration and whatnot.

The way I proposed isn't necessarily perfect, but I'm trying to get creative to make *nix better. Your brother isn't typical. My mother uses a PC every single day. She e-mails me. She uses IM through AOL. She writes Word documents. She's a bright woman. ** She still doesn't completely understand the desktop/folder metaphor. **
>>>>>>>>>>
Have you taken time to explain it to her? In English? To tell the truth, most techies aren't very good at explaining things. Have you ever tried to go into details about the filesystem and what these folders actually represent? You'd be surprised at how many people understand the methaphors after you give nice clean descriptions of the underlying mechanism. Look, my mother is also a bright women. She has a masters in chemistry. The stuff she did with molecules is far beyond a simple (if long) explanation of what files are and what a filesystem is and what the folders represent.

I support 5000+ users at my job, I know what a "user" is. I don't think you really partook in my experiment, because ./make and ./make install are pretty complex concepts, one our hypothetical user probably won't even get to. My mother couldn't EXECUTE a command from the command line, let alone compile it.
>>>
Why not? It is entirely natural to give someone commands by talking, why not give a computer commands by typing? Did you explain the details of how it works? Or what make really represents? Or did you do the usual nerd thing and gloss over it? I take the time to explain that programs are usually written in a language humans can understand, and that these commands convert the program into something computers can understand. That gives them some concrete grounding in this abstract process. And guess what, they usually get it? Sure, its a long process, and with 5000 users, you shouldn't be expected to do it. But with a couple of hours of tutoring from a good teacher, anybody can get it.

The foundation of your beliefs are old school and obsolete. Let go of *nix the way you know it, and you'll begin to see the problems it faces winning over the masses.
>>>>>>
The constitution is also old school, but it is hardly obsolete. The idea that people should be skilled manipulators of their tools, rather than mindless button clickers is timeless. People should be willing to try something different for the promise of increased productivity. While I do agree that many UNIX things (like the complexity in installing devices and configuring services) are overly complex (basically anything in /etc) installing software is one of the things that Linux (Debian/Gentoo, not RedHat) does RIGHT.

Re: Irritates me
by Darren on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:48 UTC

Just because we are talking about a new install standard, that doesn't mean that you'd have to use it or that all applications would have to meet the new requirements.

So, I think Rayiner needs to see that he could go on using the system he is most comfortable with. Nobody is suggesting that we take anything away from him.

-Drag&drop
Drag&drop is a marvellous GUI tool, but after quite a long time I'm still trying to teach my 60 years old uncle how to use it properly in MS-Windows98. And he is not retarded, he owns various fire fighting patents he has designed, he doesn't use a CAD, and with his hand drawing expertise he does not really need one. He just doesn't care much about computers, he is of the paper generation. He is, the computer should addapt to him, not the other way around.

Conclusion. Drag&drop is not the easiest way around computers, a Human Interface should avoid drag&drop if possible, maybe you are naturally used to it (as I am certainly), but it's very much less intuitive than you think.

-Clicking and Guidance.
Clicking and being guided is more quick and easy to manage, even if for an experience user it could take more time/more clicks. I don't get that obsession some people have with the number of clicks, it is obviously fair to reduce them, but to reduce them with caution, more clicks are better than no luck.
Click the file and see your options. I think the point here is giving installation options: a guided automated option, and an avanced one. Actually the ideal would be no options at all (unless set to have them), making an automated installation by default, without asking anything, JUST INSTALL AND WELCOME. Having in mind that you could set your OS preferences to have custom installations. The guideline should be to make questions WHEN ASOLUTELY NECESSARY ONLY, because many users panic at the sight of any question in little windows. A desktop OS user should be most guided by default, and also most tweackable/hackable as Linux fortunately is. Guidance always comes first, naturally.
No animated dogs, thank you. Can't resist to link Bob here, http://toastytech.com/guis/boblogin.gif

-The BeOS Valet, the QNX installer, and similar automated software installations over the net.
I haven't used click&run, which I think is a similar online installation method in Linux (Lindo_s). Though I use RedHat Linux, and I think I have used RedCarpet only twice, that kind of RedCarpet software repository is not exactly the same thing. The user should just click and download and use the app (always as the default automated setting, changeable).

-RPMs and File manager integration.
As Spark just pointed out, take a look at the beautiful rpm integration in Nautilus (the GNOME2.03beta ?):
http://www.daa.com.au/~james/images/nautilus-rpm/rpm-view-3.png
Though that installing scheme (resources provided/resources required) has great space for improvement as LinuxStandardBases makes some progress and dependancies dissapear in black holes (not yet). Given that integration I don't think that the installing and uninstalling of packages shall be a big issue: System Preferences-->Install/Unistall-->click on. The real issue is the diversity of installing formats plus the complexity in using them, which is pretty straightfoward sometimes, moderately clear now and then, and chilli hell some other times (with kernel patches included).

-Fonts. Readable. Everywhere.
Enough said. We already had a thread mostly about the fonts issue.

-Consistency between QT and GTK.
Seems like it's coming beyond themes. Theme unification (supposedly in RedHat8) already sounds very nice to me.


-And finally the mother of all unusabilities: Privileges. Don't have them, don't use them.
Are you really talking seriously about asking desktop users for root privileges??? I already pointed out how drag&drop is less intuitive than you may think, figure out privileges.
The user (we are talking about the desktop here) shouldn't be bothered with privileges in most situations. In a network shared desktop perhaps, but uncle at home or office being asked for root privileges to run his own programs? NOPE. If he wanted a privileges orientated OS, he would have chosen that during installation, or at the computer store. And you bet which option would most probably take our dear user. Hell, he wants to run the damned OS with some effort if needed and no pain if possible. Privileges is like any tool, good when needed, where needed, but if not: get off.

Something simpler than 'privileges', and using them: a password. If you want that degree of security, all you have to ask this fellow when installing or running things ***IS THE PASSWORD***. This is not a network, this is my uncle sitting in HIS office with HIS desktop. So in case he wants to set that degree of security (only in that case), and if we are not talking about a shared computer, JUST ASK FOR A PASSWORD, don't ask him to su root (which is about the same thing with far more options).

I mean, are we talking about a desktop orientated most usable and professionaly finished OS, or not? Because if this is about some Frankenstein open project that uses a freely available server OS, then we may just skip all Linux usability discussions and stick with the convicted predatory monopolist.

The RedHat betas we have seen are very promising in professionally taking the desktop challenge. This is indeed a very exciting time for Linux. Even I could just download it as I've done with all RedHat previous distros, I think this time I'm going to buy RedHat8 boxed. I'm looking at a RedHat7.0 manual, 8 is going to be a giant step (I'd codenamed it "Coltrane").

Re: Stupid attempt at irony
by Rayiner Hashem on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:49 UTC

I completely agree with you Rayiner, I also think people should write patches for anything that does not work, and all things should be open source
>>>>>>>>
Quite a jump from being an able user of software (ie knowing how to install stuff) to being a developer (patching their own software)? When did I ever say that they should write their own patches? Or were you trying to be cute?

, if they can't handle that, they should just keep using MickeyShit or put the computer back in the box.
>>>>>
Or read the manual! Or go Google for help. Or ask the local computer guy. Hell, email me at heliosc@mindspring.com!

Closed Source software is for stupid evil people that love Bill Gates.
>>>>>>>
Exactly.

I also think people should just RTFM and work on their own cars, and rewire their houses rather than hire an electrician.
>>>>>>>>
People should read the manual to every non-trivial product they own. This includes their electric razor (otherwise they might miss the blurb that shaving and charging at the same time risks electrocution) and their computer. They should know how to fuel their car and change their oil, how to file insurance claims and fix flat tires. They should know how to fix minor around the house issues like leaky faucets and burned out light bulbs.

Whey to the have resteraunts when people can just cook stuff at home. Anyone that is too lazy to read a recipe and cook on their own is an example of all that is wrong with the world.
>>>>>>>>>>.
You really should know how to cook. Its an essential skill, and takes a few hours to learn.

Re: Didn't read the comment
by Rayiner Hashem on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:54 UTC

I think where Rayiner (and many others) might be misguided is in the fact that he believes our ideas about trying to make Linux easier is that stupid people can use it. It's not that at all.
>>>>>>>>
Did you even read my comment, or did you think I just wrote

#include <standard_pro_linux_drivel>?

I didn't say that Linux should be easier so stupid people can use it, I said that it shouldn't be inefficient in return for being easy. Normal people, armed with a little time in front of a manual, should be able to use it. Lazy people, who lost their manual on the way home from Best Buy, shouldn't ruin everyone else's productivity.

It's about making it easier and better than Windows so people will want to switch. It's because most people would rather be spending their time doing something else. I would venture to say that, like me, Rayiner and everyone else reading this has a passion for computers and craves learning everything about computers that we can get our hands on. MOST PEOPLE AREN'T EVEN CLOSE TO THAT! So, if you think Linux is great and you want other people to think so, too, then you have to put yourself in their shoes.
>>>>>>>>>>>
They don't have to know everything about computers. But if you're going to use a tool for hours a day (like the poeple on the corporate desktop which Limbo is aimed at) you should spend a few hours learning how to use it effectively. That goes for any tool. If you, as a carpenter, don't read the manual to your power saw, god help you. Same thing for somebody using a computer without reading the manual. Do you have to know how to write an OS? Know, just like you don't need to know how to build the saw. But you better know how to use it safely, change blades, etc.

ease of use and popularity
by jbolden1517 on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:54 UTC

I think it should be remembered that ease of use systems failed relative to windows / dos when there was OS compitition. Mac was always much easier to use then Windows, even while its popularity plunged. Microsoft has never been an ease of use vendor they have been a low cost vendor. Their applications undercut similar applications in terms of price and they ran on the cheapest hardware anyone could find. Windows 3.0 was not an easy to use OS extension neither was Windows 3.1. By the time Windows 95 came out Microsoft owned the desktop.

They didn't get to 95% based on ease of use. They got there based on price.



Re: Re: Feeding Microsoft
by Hunter/A3 on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:56 UTC

Oh call down. I never said that the OSS movement, it's software, and it's developers where not putting forth the effort and that they were not appriciated. As a matter of fact, I said the opposite in a few previous posts in this thread. I'm just saying that the longer the entire OSS community debates the qualities of simplified versus traditional means of working with and in an OS or program then the more Microsoft will benefit. The more Ms benefits, the more they impose their "standards" on the internet, programs, and hardware and the less impact OSS will have in the future feeding right into Microsofts plans.

Re: Skipped a step
by Rayiner Hashem on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:58 UTC

I'm sorry, but Rayiner is everything that is wrong with Linux. He reads an article about how some in the Linux community are hurting Linux's growth by telling newbies to "RTFM", and then he replies brilliantly that all that needs to be done is to "RTFM". WOW. Talk about ignorant.
>>>>>>>>>>>
Because the original user didn't read the f-ing manual when he was told to. He bitched that he shouldn't have to read the manual. If the user has read the manual, and still can't figure out apt-get, he is free to email me at the above address for further help.

reason for switching
by Richard Fillion on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 03:59 UTC

You have to ask yourself, why do you want the masses to use linux? Is it to be more productive, to have a better user experience, or is it simply to take down the monopoly? Think hard, cause i dont think most of you know which you want. If you just want to take down the monopoly, you really arent better than Bill now are you?

"people shouldnt need to think" No, people SHOULD be thinking, they should ALWAYS be thinking. The world is breeding morons, who instead of attempting to be logical expect others to be logical for them.

Making linux exactly like windows doesnt really achieve much. There's already an os out there thats exactly like windows, and is decently stable, IT IS Windows.

I've seen many computer-idiots who switched with no problems (including a 62y/o woman knew less about computers than lint), and loved the experience, felt they were working better, and were proud.

Read the APT HOWTO. Skip down to "Installing Packages"

http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/apt-howto/ch-basico.en.html

There's maybe four or five lines you need to read.

Re: Rayiner
by Jim on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 04:02 UTC

I also think making Linux like AOL would be a bad move, as many of the people on Linux in hte fist place are probably there for a reason. I also think a producting interface that requires a couple minutes to learn is MUCH better than an obvious one that sucks.

But, I don't see what is wrong with having a powerful/fast GUI installer.

Hard to believe =)
by Alex Rad on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 04:02 UTC

It's very hard for me to believe that Redhat is suddenly focusing more and more on the desktop. THis sia fterall coming from the company who's CEO said that Linux has no future on the desktop.

While I think Redhat has improved a lot with it's latest BEta. I still like my SuSE 8 better than any Linux distribution I've tried so far. Believe me I've tried most of the top dogs.

About the menu issue of amking a Windows user feel right at home, I must agree with the author. However I disagree with some aspects of it. I believe that that the way Redhat has organized and named apps in their menu should be how most desktop distributuions do, including my SUSIE. I also think that in KDE on MEnu Settings, there should also be the normal style of naming with the application names that were assigned by their proper authors. When this option is enabled all the applicationsa that aim to do the same thing should pop into the menu, not jsut the ones that the distribution you use considers to eb teh ebst. For example, I think that the latest version of Ximian Evolution is far superior to Kmail, but many disagree with me. HTis si waht Linux is about, choice. Unfortunately a poor windows user won't know more than Mozilla and StarOffice. We should use Redhat's way of naming so not to overwhelm them with 10 choices of applications to play music. Making availeable only the applications considerd the best in their category and giving them self-explanatory names. Once they get acustomed to Linux and learn about it's broad set of applications, they can enable the what we consider "normal" way of organizing and naming applications.

I hope not only Redaht takes my input, but all other distributions too. I also can't wait for SuSE 8.1, from waht I heard it will be AWESOME!

Re: Agree to Disagree, what a cop-out!
by Rayiner Hashem on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 04:05 UTC

people will not sit down to learn about computers, they want a computer (OS) to just know what they are trying to do.
>>>>>
This is great. What kind of apologist notion is this? Here is this complex tool, that the user spends hours a day in front of, and he won't sit down to learn about it? He expects it to read his mind? You realize you ridiculous you sound? In the mean time, all this crap gets added to operating systems which makes them less productive, more complicated, all so people don't have to learn about the tools they use?

Windows does this.
Linux doesn't.
>>>>>
Windows sucks. Linux doesn't. And I'm talking from a usability standpoint. This is not an IA or TV interface where the target is casual users. The target is corporate users, and computers are important tools. These people cannot afford to be casual users.

Ah how soon we forget
by Darren on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 04:06 UTC

I mainly use FreeBSD and Win98, now. I've never had FreeBSD break library dependencies during an upgrade (or Windows for that matter). You're just being a naysayer.

And, in case you didn't notice, my topic was "we're in the ballpark". Not, "hey, I have all of the answers". I do wish I knew how to code, though. I'd start hacking something on this.

Re: Brilliant replies?
by Rayiner Hashem on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 04:21 UTC


Oh, come on Rayiner. Everyone here has brilliantly replied to your absurd comments on how things should be done.
>>>>
I have yet to see a brilliant reply. Mostly what I've seen is a bunch of people who saw me criticizing one logically faulty "ease of use" feature proposed by the author of the article, and then assumed I was a UNIX grognard who wanted to go back to the days of the command line.

And why you are exactly like the devs that do not let Linux let go and create something better and easily worked.
>>>>
Something "better" is a tool that is more cluttered, more complex, and less efficient, but doesn't require a manual? Maybe its better for a certain class of users, but for the desktop? Are you kidding me? Do you realize how ridiculous you sound?

Read again the other replies from people too. Everyone wants ease to use. You don't.
>>>>
Where did you get this? I like ease of use as much as the next guy. I thought it was really spiffy when I plugged in my Webcam and PocketPC and everything just automatically worked, including a little video preview in my computer. I also think that apt-get is a hell of a lot easier than scouring the net for installers, finding the executable, clicking next a zillion times, and generally wasting my time. Normally your ideas on usability are pretty good. Its a pity you subscribe to the "If its CLI it must be hard" newsletter. What's easy to use is not necessarily the thing that requires the least initial time investment. If something requires zero initial time investment, but beats the user over the head with inefficiency every time it is accessed, I'd hardly call it easy to use.

Look, here are my points, nice and clear.

1) Computers represent a large, recurring time sink for the corporate workers to which Limbo is aimed.
2) Making complex wizard type interfaces to simple tasks is a waste of the users time.
3) The only advantage that these interfaces have is that the user can use them without ever consulting a manual.
4) It would be far better if we left out these bad handholding mechanisms and instead put out streamlined software with good documentation.
5) A corporate user, reading the manual cover to cover (maybe a one-night thing, consider it business reading) could find the interface both easy AND efficient! For him, the gained productivity would be a very worthwhile benifet.

Well, it will be just you and your geek friends using Linux. The rest won't simply bother.
>>>>>>>>.
You go ahead and don't bother. I'll keep teaching people how to use their computers properly and get more out of their expensive little box. You can go ahead and keep users clueless about the sophisticated tools on their desk, and keep wasting their time every day just because you thought they wouldn't want to make the one-time investment of reading a manual or attending a lecture.

RE: Rayiner
by Darren on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 04:26 UTC

After reading several of your posts, I see that you are referring to people at work ("corporate users" I believe you called them). I've been talking about home use(ers).

First of all, you obviously don't work in a corporate environment. Because if you did, you'd know they have no business installing anything. Yes. They do spend hours a day in front of their computers. But, none of it is spent installing programs. They use MS Office and proprietary software that most people have never heard of. They learn to use those programs and that's it.

Secondly, corporate end users are the most computer illiterate people I've seen. They have absolutely no desire to read or even learn beyond what it takes to get their job done. So, if you expect them to be using Debian and reading man pages, then you are more misguided than I thought.

Now, I will agree with you on one thing. I've never seen someone tell someone else to RTFM unless it was in the situation you described. Then, I'd agree. They should be told that. That's not ignorance. That's laziness.

Re: ease of use
by Jim on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 04:39 UTC

Again, I mostly agree that a productive UI that takes a few minutes to learn is better than dumbing it down just so the AOL masses will feel at home. Nobody is going to out-AOL, AOL. And I certainly don't want them to try it with a platform I use.

scouring the net for installers, finding the executable, clicking next a zillion times

This part I do not agree on, next > next > next > finish. To me, this seems logical, simple, and efficient. I also know where to find it if I need it. Could you imagine if _every_ windows app was instead downloaded from the windows update site and MS had to build and package all of them? Imagine if you are a developer and programs and updates were available only whenever a volunteer at Microsoft got around to building them and placing them on the server.

Directory
by William Barker on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 04:42 UTC

Sorry the slashes got taken out here let me do this ...
/Applications
/Multimedia
/Internet
/Tools
/Users
/System
/Preferences

/Applications/Office
/Multimedia/Video/Divx
/Multimedia/Games/Quake
/Internet/Mozilla
/Users/username/Settings
/Users/username/Documents
/Users/username/Music
/Users/username/Pictures

/System/Drivers/Video
/System/Drivers/Sound
/System/Kernel
/System/Backgrounds
/System/Screensaver
/System/Servers
/System/Servers/HTTP
/System/Servers/Pop
/System/X-Windows
/System/X-Windows/Window Maker
/System/X-Windows/KDE2
/System/Multimedia/Codecs/MPEG

See how it works? Thats the way Linux should be easy to know where things are, easy to delete stuff... Just delete Mozilla folder out of your settings folder that user never ran Mozilla before. Delete Mozilla out of your Internet folder then Mozilla is not even installed anymore. Easy simple... Anyone want to restructor a Linux from source to be setup like this... I'll be glad to start one... with any OS AtheOS, Linux, BSD whatever. Thats the biggest problem. Not only that but they should be a default of one of everything, one internet browser, one email client thats it. If you want to install others fine get them. This default install of 5 browsers is non-senes. Sure you can change it with a custom install, but the defaults shouldn't be 'bulky' more like it just does what it needs to if you need something better get it. Default install of Windows NT about 200 meg, Windows 2000 maybe 400 meg, RedHat about 1.2 Gig.

Poor Rayiner
by datako on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 04:50 UTC

"... yet to see a brilliant reply..."

That's exactly the point we are trying to make. You are obviously intelligent and intensely interested.

Users are not brilliant. They don't want to learn how to use the OS, they want to USE it. They expect it to be intuitive. They demand it to be intuitive. They do not care which OS. They are not arrogant, they do not care.

Re: William
by Jim on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 04:56 UTC

I agree with your point on an /applications directory but I think all that is mostly overkill. To create another distro just to have a different file structure would be mostly a duplicated effort. You could write an installer for another distro and make packages available that default install to /applications ;)

I also would like to say that I do not have anything against apt-get, I just think it's a temporary solution to the problem. There IS an RPM apt-get available for Red Hat users, If you didn't know that, go here http://freshrpms.net/apt/

Flamezone
by Oh my on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 05:15 UTC

<quote>
Oh, come on Rayiner. Everyone here has brilliantly replied to your absurd comments on how things should be done. And why you are exactly like the devs that do not let Linux let go and create something better and easily worked.

Read again the other replies from people too. Everyone wants ease to use. You don't. Well, it will be just you and your geek friends using Linux. The rest won't simply bother.

That's the deal.
</quote>

Hmm. I don't know about that. I don't think anyone replied brilliantly. I think everyone just belittled him.

Let me start by saying that I agree with some of both Rayiner and Adam's points. I'm not going to discount either one wholesale.

First, re: computers. I agree, computers should be simple to use - but - you must keep in mind that they are inherently complicated devices. They are not like ATMS or toasters. You must be expected to read some manuals (I'm not talking man pages, howtos etc) to learn how to use it properly. Just asking someone to read a manual isn't the end of the world. I was expected to read my textbooks if I wanted to know how something was done - I didn't expect it to be blindlingly obvious.

Of course, basic tasks should be fairly obvious to perform and now we hit the crux of this entire problem - the installer for Linux.

Adam: Your comments have merit and I'd like to thank you for spurring some debate. But.. (there's always a but) ...things are always more complicated than they seem.

- Linux distros are very very different. The way they organize their files, their default libraries, the menu systems - all of these vary. Unless you get every single major distro to conform to exactly the same filesystem structure, the .lif is going to be horribly complicated to implement.

- Different libraries. You mention everything from a user's perspective. They click, the lif file starts up everything works smoothly. What I want to know is this - if the .lif file is linked against specific libraries that are not on the users system - how will it deal with that eventuality? Perhaps it packages a copy of the lib w/ it and will install that into the system. Or maybe into a local directory that it references to if the system libs are not present. You've glossed over this (probably because this was a quick summary - not a detailed explanation)

I heard a comment where someone suggested that any missing .lifs be downloaded from a mirror nearby. I'm not sure how workable that will be without major maintainership behind it.

The problem is that we're all back seat coders. We (usually) have no idea of the scale of the problem involved. We can suggest solutions, but often forget all the grunge work that has to go into making it work. It took 10 years for Microsoft to get this problem (libraries/dependencies) almost solved.

So, it turns out the things Linux needs is:

- A standard FHS (one that is rigidly adhered to). This means that config files, libraries everything are in the right place.
- A standard installation package (.lif was Adam's recommendation)
- Some way to deal with library issues (missing libraries, lower versions, higher versions) I think this is the hardest problem
- A standard menu system for desktops (that all DE adhere to). An app should be able to place an icon there

Sounds like a simple list. Nope. All of this will take a major amount of time to work out. If we give it time, things should shake out.

<rant>
Of course, once it does work - we move on to something else to criticize. Of course, the more harshly you criticize, the less people are likely to listen to you. It gives you a feeling of satisfaction, but in the end does nothing. There's a difference between constructive criticism and antagonism. No offence, but even you Eugina, in a lot of your reviews come off as antagonistic. You've made no bones about this and in fact seem rather proud of it. Its very satisfying for you, but I'm not sure how productive it is.
</rant>

Cheerio.

The question is not quite accurate, IMO
by Bill on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 05:18 UTC

Ok, after looking at all these posts,I have decided the issue is horribly confused.

Everyone *thinks* they are talking about the future, then proceed to talk about the past.

Current users represent the past, not the future. when you talk about current users, you are talking about people who are already set in a lazy pattern. Future users, which will determine the direction of computing, are not set in the MS ways. Face it people, a lot of what MS does is wrong from a technical and user standpoint. Just because they do it, does not mean we have to. That is a logical fallacy. Just because the dominant group does something, does not make it *right*.

The upcoming users are children. They are learning, and they want to learn. I've worked with many children. I've been personally involved in hundreds of users going to Linux as a *first* OS. THAT is where the future is. It amazes me that it has to be said.

Do teh OS the *right* way, the best for for productivity, security, and teach the new users *why* things work. Then, they will be informed enough for their own choices.

As far as corproate users not instlling stuff, HAhAhAHA!! I worked for a Forutne 50 company, and was responsible for thousands of users. Guess what, they *do* install stuff! Know why? Time. Corporations can only employ a limited number of people to go around installing stuff. Developers,m for example, do not have the time to wait a week or two, or theree, or four, for some snot-nosed kid to come install some software for him/her. So, they often *do* install things on their own.


I've had *many* times on Windows where I have had to track down a missing DLL, somehting that was not included, or got deleted by a different program. So you can not convince me of how easy it truly is in windows. I've tested windows environments for a Fortune50 company, it simply is not as easy as is claimed here.

All system will suffer from this problem so long as there are independent coders. we are moving toward the decentralized part of the cycle, so we will see more and mor eindependent developers. This problem will continue to exist, and no installer can account for it. However, IMO it is better that an app NOT install when it can't find the correct libraries, then to install and be broken.

It takes more than pontificating on how "easy" is should be for joe random user to install stuff. I would propose that those that are saying it is something that should be done, and/or is easy to do .. DO IT! Put your code where your mouth is. If you can not do that, put your money there instead. Pay someone to develop it, and let it compete.

As head of a Linux User Group, and being personally involved in many "introductions", I can nto agree that people do NOT wnat to know more. The very nature of our society is moving in the directionof wantign to know more. People in general are tired of being told everything. That is the future. if you want to talk about being a player in the desktop, you are talking about the future. Focusing your efforts ont eh past will not get you there.

And no, to the poster that said MS won due to price, sorry, they won due to agreements made with manufacturers, and due to Apple's insistence on controlling the whole shebang, from hardware to UI, and from only running on their proprietary hardware. If Apple's OS ran on commodity hardware from the start, they may have stopped MS from being a monopoly.

Anyway, that's enough for now. Remember, if you talk about the future, do not dwell on the past. Learn from it, don't repeat it.

Not reading guides?
by Spark on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 05:29 UTC

Now this puzzles me. Eugenia stated that a desktop user should _never_ have to read a guide or manual. I hope this was a joke. I recently got a Hifi and couldn't program the radio channels without reading the manual. It wasn't actually intuitive but after reading two pages of the manual it was easy. Most people can't program their video recorder without reading a manual either. ;) Oh and last time I checked it's difficult to drive a car without getting it carefully teached.

I'm all for making GUI's as straightforward, efficient and even simple to use as possible but don't forget that most people know how to use Windows because they read a book (not very likely anymore) or because they had someone who explained it to them (much more likely today). If you use something for which you don't know anyone to explain it to you, you will have to read a manual or at least some simple guides that are shipped with the product. I'm not saying that Linux is there yet, but it's going well.
I don't quite understand your problems, Limbo will most certainly support RPM installing by just doubleclicking them (and asking for your password). What else do you want know? Is this supposed to be a constructive discussion or just a flamefest to convince yourself that you are right? ;)

It also is a little bit sad to see people bitching that GNU/X/GNOME or GNU/X/KDE aren't the holy grail yet. In five years we got from this:
http://gnomedesktop.com/scr/oldgnome/2.jpg
to this:
ftp://ftp.ibiblio.org/pub/Linux/distributions/contrib/texstar/scre...
and things are looking very good for the next five years.
And that isn't fast enough for you? Please get real. Windows wasn't enginered in two years either and that isn't even free software.

RE: Not reading guides?
by Eugenia on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 05:39 UTC

>I hope this was a joke.

No it was not. Apart from a starting point on how to use a computer in general, the rest of the UI details of each OS or desktop environment should be a no-brainer.

>And that isn't fast enough for you? Please get real.

I do not understand why you state this. Who said anything about Gnome or KDE, and who gives a monkey what KDE or Gnome is? The user does not care and should not care about this.
The point is that X11 exists since 1985 or so. Why there was not created ONE good desktop environment since then, and then build on top of that (as Windows and Mac did) and make it better as the years go by (as Windows and Mac did)?

Instead, we have all this half-made/half-ass-looking projects and you are here to tell *us* to get real.

Excuse me, but you are not talking with business in mind. You are talking as person who is part of a development project. The reality is: Windows has a better desktop, Mac too.

If the Linux folks demand a share on the desktop market, they should get their act together (they had 8 years to get ready for it since X11 was made available for Linux) and create something better. Something that competes with windows and MacOSX. Because today, you still got nothing. KDE, Gnome and the lack of ease of use on a Unix, are jokes.

Re: above
by Jim on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 05:46 UTC

KDE, Gnome and the lack of ease of use on a Unix, are jokes.

lol, that should detonate some fuses

screenshots
http://images.mandrakesoft.com/img/screenshots/82scr06.jpg
http://images.mandrakesoft.com/img/screenshots/82scr02.jpg

But you DO have to give credit for pretty, I also like the choice of having more than one DE to select from. 1 size fits all is good for napkins, not an operating system.


Re: above
by Eugenia on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 05:53 UTC

>But you DO have to give credit for pretty

Pretty does not make a DE usable or praisable. BeOS was not pretty at all, but its ability to control your files, drivers, prefs, the OS and its usability performed 100 times more than Gnome and KDE does 3 years later, today.

Back to the future...
by Jay on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 06:01 UTC

It is good to see so many coming out of the woodwork and posting.

For our era, it has already been decided. The desktop metaphor is "it". Relentless progress in ease of use is "it". When cars first began appearing on the scene, an owner had to learn quite a bit about how it worked. Of course, cars were much simpler then too. But, it was complex enough so that car geeks could make a living by fixing other people's cars. And even more so today.So, when the Apple people were allowed to see what Xerox was doing and took that and made the Lisa and took that and made the Mac, that was "it" for our era. The desktop - and making everything fold into that metaphor is what we have until something very radically different comes along. So, it isn't a matter of being just like Windows or Mac - it simply is the standard that everyone uses in the corproation and at home. There's no getting past it.

The reason there's no getting past it is that the vast majority of people think visually, not abstractly. Computer programmers and developers and other with a passion for computing have been given the gift of being able to think in an abstract fashion. What Apple saw at Xerox made it possible for everyone else. And so, the desktop metaphor, the GUI, icons, input devices like the mouse and many other developments made it possible for the vast majority of visually thinking people to be able to use and benefit from the use of computers.

The visually thinking masses depend entirely on the abstract thinking programmers and developers. I have to admit, I miss getting nice manuals with applications - I loved reading them in bed like others would read mysteries. But, the bar has been raised and, perhaps best exemplified by the original iMac, the buyer gets a foldout sheet showing where to plug what into and a slim volume to start them up. It is almost all visual. And that's where the bar is for regular corporate and home users.

As a result, no OS has a prayer of making a dent in the desktop unless the user can simply double click to install - that is the standard - anything more complicated will fail. Crappy looking desktops will fail (Eugenia's mock-ups of UI changes are always great because they show how critically important all UI aspects are). The friendliness of Apple users and Be users is based on the fact that these mostly visually oriented people did learn how to use these OS's and want to share it with others. Those who are able to think abstractly usually don't understand the visual people. The people at Apple did and then the people at Microsoft did. It took MS along, long time, but XP Pro is a fabulous OS. Mac OS X is a fabulous OS. Linux is a fabulous OS, but the programmers and developers, by and large, simply do not think of the best way something can be done by an average user. Sure, people could learn a few command line commands, but they already don't have to do that Why should they now? If Linux programmers and developers cannot see that all this was decided, for out time at least, almost twenty years ago, what can they be thinking then? The average person of average income with a family gets a Chevy Cavalier to drive and an iMac or lower cost Dell/Gatway/HP-Compaq PC to use email, surf the web, do wordprocessing, instant messaging with their friends, maybe dabble in making digital home movies and photos, make greeting cards, etc. Linux will never, ever be on anyone's home desktop until it at least catches up to the ease of use of the Mac OS and Windows. And the same is almost true of the corporate desktop, although there is a better chance there.

People can rail at Lindows but, by God, when you download an application from Click 'n Run, it goes right into the menu category (Internet, Multimedia, etc.) where it belongs. And that's exactly what should happen. And Lycoris is coming along very nicely - they are doing more for desktop Linux than anyone and they have five employees!!

It's up to you programmers and developers - it all depends on you.

RE:reason for switching
by m on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 06:01 UTC

Richard, you ask "why do you want the masses to use linux?", let me ask too "the masses?" How about just people?, where do you belong?

"If you just want to take down the monopoly, you really arent better than Bill now are you?"
Well among other issues, I DO WANT the CONVICTED PREDATORY MONOPOLIST down enough, and in that sense I AM better than Bill, yes I am, I've never been convicted, and I'll never have the power (thanks God) to hurt consumers as Bill has, I do hope Linux or other OS will stop him. Do not equal things that are not equal. What Bill has done is hardly comparable with anyone around here. You need to read this again, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/business/longterm/microsoft/do... , from start to end.


People SHOULD be thinking, and preferably about choice. CHOICE, freedom to choose things, is that so hard to understand? You say that "The world is breeding all kind of morons", well it always has and it always will, never forget that as the song says "there is a sucker born every minute and the biggest one, excluding none, is me." How troubling would be to find out that you are the logical moron, you the aristological one.

You haven't seen enough 'computer idiots' (nice term to couple with "the masses"), 'cause they are more than 90% of the desktop share, so keep on counting your "computer idiots" Linux switchers when ever you get the chance, just for fun of course.

First reason for switching: CHOICE. A sustainable one. Once you are a "computer idiot" with choice, let come the rest.

The right tool ...
by Rob on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 06:08 UTC

A computer is a tool. An OS is a the means by which the tool is utilized. I read earlier a mention of a power saw, and something along the lines of "RTFM or [an ominous-sounding] else".

The real question is, what type of power saw is it? Is it a nice, safe one with protective guards everywhere, a big red "EMERGENCY STOP" switch in a logical, accessible place, and all the other little invisible safety measures in place to make it almost impossible to accidentally whack off a few fingers? Or is it a bare metal monstrosity with more than a few dark, scary-looking stains around its exposed teeth? It's a delicate balance, making the safety nets work. On the one hand you MUST do everything you reasonably can to make things safe and easy, while on the other hand you can't go overboard and engineer something that's been "optimized" into generic uselessness. Which is Linux, which is WindowsXP? Linux tends toward the former, I think, while XP errs on the latter end of the scale. Linux expects you to keep your fingers out of the way but gives you the flexibility to work in true freeform. XP has been engineered to the demands of the lowest common denominator, with a big fat, brightly colored start button and folders with pretty pictures on them that make more or less reasonable assumptions about what they contain and how those contents should be presented to the user. XP is designed to be idiot-proof, and that's NOT an easy job to take on.

Imagine, the kinds of things the XP user interface designers had to foresee! People talk about how limited and constricting XP is, as if it was designed by a bunch of stodgy old men in an old-school gentleman's club somewhere. Please. The coders who work at Microsoft are no less code-happy geeks than the coders who hack on GNOME or Mozilla or KDE. The only difference is, the Microsoft coders are paid to make the product UNIVERSALLY usable, and in many cases that means making the power user actually work harder to accomplish something beyond what the designers, out of necessity, have coded the software to do. XP is designed to be forgiving, as much as possible. XP will attempt to take the novice by the hand and guide her to safety. In most cases, Linux will gleefully eat her alive. Windows was born as a consumer OS. Linux was born as a programmer's OS. It's not that the Microsoft geeks don't WANT to make a truly powerful and flexible OS, it's simply that if they did it would take someone like my sister about 10 minutes with it to render it useless and support lines all over the world would collapse under the strain. Users have a tendency to learn by exploring and experimenting and XP does a great job of taking this into account at the expense of making it damned difficult for the power user to really get into the guts of it. Linux will happily let you do anything you want, sure, but it'll also sit there, broken and useless, while you attempt to piece it back together afterwards.

Linux has come a LONG way. Its friendliness almost seems to be increasing exponentially (compare it now to, say, 5 years ago). Let's not forget that less than a decade ago Windows 3.1 was still Microsoft's flagship product! Linux is evolving, and the day when it truly will be fit for Joe User and his kid brother is getting closer and closer. Those who use and support it now see this and get impatient and frustrated that it isn't there yet. There is nothing more frustrating than unrealized potential. Linux is a piecemeal affair. One program (or even subset of a program) might be brilliantly engineered and beautifully intuitive, while the next bit, in an almost surreal juxtaposition, is utterly brain dead. Yet, this is a GOOD thing. You see, Windows was built from the outset for the LOWEST common denominator, while Linux simply had no interest in or patience with that type of user. So it would be a massive undertaking to make XP into a powerhouse of flexibility and configurability like Linux (not to mention almost impossible thanks to Microsoft's singular ability to obfuscate the workings of its code), just as it is a massive undertaking to whip Linux into something the lowest common denominator can be comfortable with. Yet, in the end, when Linux DOES get there (and it will, it has too much momentum now not to) then its core, built for the power user, will still be there for those who want it, hiding behind intelligent design and pretty GUIs, to be sure, but there nonetheless. THAT will be a truly universal OS. XP is a family car with all the amenities. Of course, it handles like a tank, but it gets you there in the end. Linux is a concept car with a finicky clutch and a six-speed tied to a Formula One engine, easy to choke down and damned hard to drive, but unstoppable once mastered. In the end, Linux has the potential to be both, all at once, and to whatever exacting degree the user is comfortable with. XP (or Longhorn) can simply never be such a hybrid, not and remain true to Microsoft's business plan. We just have to be patient, we have to do more than use free software and bitch about what it lacks, we have to use free software and help contribute what it NEEDS.

Linux isn't ready yet. Almost, but not quite. In some ways it is, or at least seems on the surface to be, but in many ways, it's simply not. The command line is Linux' heart and soul, and no matter how many GUIs you slap on it, it will always be so or it simply won't be Linux anymore. The command line in XP is often called a joke, and coming from a bash prompt to a cmd prompt IS a jolt. It's like leaving an Olympic-sized pool and diving headfirst into an inflatable kiddie pool -- you hit bottom hard and fast. Yet the fact is, that is all XP needs. XP is a graphical OS with a minimal, generally unnecessary legacy text interface tacked on. Linux is a text-based OS with a graphical interface tacked on. XP without Luna is less than useless. Linux without X (not to mention KDE, GNOME, et al) can happily serve up the world's e-mail and webpages.

It's all about picking the right tool for the right job. Expecting a corporation to use XP as a powerful database server instead of Linux, Unix, or a *BSD is silly. Expecting your Aunt Mary to type her recipes and chat with her scattered relatives in Linux instead of XP (or OS X) is equally silly.

I use Gentoo. I tweak, I break, I compile; tweak it, break it, compile it again. I have two terminals open right now compiling the new KDE beta. I like it like that. I don't need a glitzy package manager. Yet I'd be a complete fool to think my grandma could compile "Hello World", let alone her entire operating system. I'd be a fool if I thought I could talk her through a broken library over the phone. The first time the word "symlink" came out of my mouth her eyes would glaze over. She IS the average computer user. She wants to turn on the TV and watch Friends. She wants to turn on the PC and read e-mail, surf the web, maybe have a go at some solitaire. She doesn't want to understand the fundamental nature of her toaster, she just wants her bagels hot and crispy. To her, her PC is no different. Is that concept alien to me? Yes. Just as, I'm sure, my fascination with the inner workings of my machine is alien to her.

Fixing package management is all well and good. But it's a beginning -- or, to be more optimistic, perhaps a few more essential steps along the right path -- not a magical, "and they all lived happily ever after" end.

RE: Not reading guides?
by Richard Fillion on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 06:10 UTC

Just because X has been around since 1985 doesnt mean its been in the general public's hands for that long.

Bitching, and whinning, and bringing up the issue 4times a week is NOT what will get things done. Yes eugenia we enjoy looking at your little "enhancements", butyou know what? That doesnt do much to actually HELP. I'm getting tired of people trying to boss OSS developers around. I'm sure that everyone in the KDE and GNOME camps are well aware of what you seem to think is a revelation that you just found out. Like the other guy said, ya, maybe it makes you feel good, but it doesnt accomplish anything. You either code, or give donations, or do something along those lines, THAT is what helps.

99% of the population is stupid ...
by Tux on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 06:24 UTC

Sorry but there are too many GNU/Linux pro comments that are embarrassing. Fortunately, they don't speak for me. Adam, I like your ideas.

And for the others that are too busy embarrassing themselves...

What would happen to a person if they were in a room filled with 99 other people and this one individual shouted that everyone else in the room was an idiot?

Would they survive?

Then why is it that GNU/Linux stays at 1% of the marketshare and pro GNU/Linux RTFM folks have the *nerve* to shout that everyone else using their machines are idiots?

Who is the *real* idiot?

IMHO, the RTFM blind - who can't figure out how to make things easy - are the idiots.

If Albert Einstein figured out that E-mc2 -- a very elegant answer to a complex universe. Why then can't Linux be made to be easy? You just have to be smart enough - and most linux developers are not as smart as Albert Einstein. They can't do it - so they just complain that everyone else is stupid. Look in the mirror. :-P

I love GNU/Linux because it is fun ~ and not because it is superior. I enjoy watching it develop. But I really *hate* the arrogant and stupid attitudes that people shouldn't use a computer if they don't want to read a poorly written manual or howto that is scattered across thousands of sites. That bad attitude reinforces the bad reputation that Linux users have earned - RTFM by RTFM by RTFM.

A dose of reality
Just because you can't figure out how to help people in a manner that scales easily - you just take the easy way out - and call everyone else stupid.

Take some advice pro GNU/Linux users - telling someone to RTFM is *not* a good way to make friends and influence people. You are only 1 person in a room filled with 99 others who do not appreciate being called idiots.

The solution is obvious.
Strip the RTFM attitude, start listening to the users (or potential users) and start using the data to make GNU/Linux better.Spend some time thinking about the suggestions in this article and maybe a solution will come to you. You'd be a hero.

how soon they forget, to darrin
by jbolden1517 on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 06:24 UTC

> I mainly use FreeBSD and Win98, now. I've never had FreeBSD break library dependencies during an upgrade (or
> Windows for that matter). You're just being a naysayer.

You've never seen Windows 98 break dependencies? Install an old version of Visual C++ and answer yes to overwriting .dlls. I'd bet half your apps won't load.

As for BSD you'll notice I said "binary software". Source distributions won't have this kind of problem.

> And, in case you didn't notice, my topic was "we're in the ballpark". Not, "hey, I have all of the answers". I do
> wish I knew how to code, though. I'd start hacking something on this.

I outlined how to do it in my earlier post:

1 - Large set of standard libraries
2 - Static linking for anything not in the standard library.

Done.

Response to Bill on monopoly
by jbolden1517 on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 06:31 UTC

And no, to the poster that said MS won due to price, sorry, they won due to agreements made with manufacturers,

Those agreements being to sell the OS very cheaply in exchange for being bundled with every system sold. Also the low price didn't hurt. There were excellent systems that existed all during the last 20 years Microsoft consistently made it cheaper to choose them over the compitition.

and due to Apple's insistence on controlling the whole shebang, from hardware to UI, and from only running on their proprietary hardware.
If Apple's OS ran on commodity hardware from the start, they may have stopped MS from being a monopoly.


The only reason commodity hardware is better is price. I don't see how you are disagreeing here other than perhaps defining price more narrowly.



Re: The right tool ...
by Anonymous on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 06:56 UTC

Very very VERY well stated.

home vs. corporate
by jbolden1517 on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 07:08 UTC

I think something two things are getting confused by talking about "joe average user"

1 - Home / small business desktop market
2 - Corporate desktop market

Right now those two markets use a simiar OS (Win 98 / XP) and (NT/2000/XP pro) respectively so there may be a tendency to confuse them. Their needs are not in any way similar. Consider the situation 20 years ago: the home market was dominated by Apple II, Vic 20/ com 64, Atari 400/800; while the corporate market desktop was owned by dumb terminals connected mainly to VMS and MVS. Not even close to one another. Its Bill Gates more then any other person who saw that it might be possible to unite the two groups of users, and because his vision won there is a tendency to think this uniting was natural.

For example ease of installation. The corporate market doesn't need ease of installation at all. They install S390, OS/400, VMS and a wide variety of Unixes all the time. They can easily install a product that's really hard providing they can clone it to the hundreds / thousands of users. NT is difficult to install and configure properly they did it easily. MVS makes Linux look like a joke. What they want is ease of administration (which Linux hands down beats XP on) and a wide range of desktop tools (which is where Linux is still lacking).

Ease of use is not terribly important as long as ease of training for simple tasks is there. Think Lotus Notes for example: a very hard to use most features, much harder to configure email setup; OTOH very easy to do basic things in, and offers some really powerful features. I've never seen a home / small business user set up Lotus Notes. That is per seat are low even though installation and configuration costs are very high.

If the Linux replacements for Word and Excel are easy to use they could care less how hard the one system admin has to work to configure the right init scripts.

____________________

For the home market ease of installation is key. Ease of use is key. They have fewer needs but absolutely nowhere to turn for advanced help. Frankly Linux is still so far away on this market in terms of offering a "better" product that there best shot is to win on price. The end user desktop loaded with free software bundled with a $500 PC will work well against XP / office SB edition.


That is:
Linux has enough ease of installation and use for the corporate market, where they are lacking is in app quality.

Linux has enough app quality for the home / small business where they are lacking is ease of use / installation.

On both markets however Linux has very low cost per seat (including app costs).

I just don't see how ease of installing random software (that is software outside the 10 gigs provided on the big distribution websites) really matters to either group. I'd focus much more on bring up the quality of the office suite in terms of functionality and ease of use.



My experience with Linux
by ~Seedy~ on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 07:18 UTC

Stability=excellent
Installer=excellent
H/W Support=excellent
UI ( KDE 2.2 )=very good
Documentation/Helpfiles=adequate
RPM Installers=works 50% of time
Lib update=works 25% of time
Lib update breaks other applications=yes

I'm waiting for RH8 or Mdk9 b4 I go back to it.

Ease of installation is a SERVICE which has to be created and
should be PAID for. If you are not able to repair or upgrade your car, you pay some technician in a shop. If you don't like the car/shop, just change it. If you cannot afford it, live with it, shit happens. Ahh, did i mention you have to obtain a drivers license for driving a car in most places of
the world? Spoken in terms of OpenSource, don't blame the many developers for being arrogant, blame the distributors for not being able to create a single standard. Or simply stay with Windows and see how far that gets you. Of course you could always buy an Apple Macintosh.

Ease of use
by Deletomn on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 07:42 UTC

Honestly, I don't see how making it easier to get started using a program dumbs the program down. I also don't see why programmers can't do it.

For example... Games on CDs. (I know, we're talking about internet stuff here, but bare with me) On my consoles, I insert the game CD, it works. On my computer, I insert the game CD, start the installation, pray the installation actually works, pray the game actually works, if I uninstall the game, I pray that the game doesn't delete half my OS in the process.

Now, I don't understand why this needs to be. I understand why there are bugs. But when I insert the CD, why doesn't the game figure some of this stuff out for itself? I mean, really why does say... The new version of PacMan need to copy files to my harddrive, it's not that big! And even if it does... Why can't I somewhere in the settings for the OS set up a cache for files from the CD? And then the OS can automatically handle some of this stuff for me? Why this... Why that... So on and so forth...

The same applies to a word processor on CD... Why do I have to install it? Seems silly to me to be forced to.

Now we get to programs off the internet. Why should that be much of a concern either?

To me... When I go to use MOST (not all) programs, it should be a piece of cake to set it up. Do I need it? No. But it would be nice.

BTW... I'm a graduate student in computer science and I've been programming since I was a little kid and I teach too. So I'm not illerate, I just don't understand why some people feel things need to be this way and why they think it's going to hinder productivity.

Oh... And I'm not saying that people shouldn't have to learn how to use their tools, I'm saying that the tools should be made properly in the first place.

I agree 100% with you Adam, along that is not my case as I'm pretty a use with ./configure and make install, being a programmer myself.
Anyway I cannot install Linux on my dad's computer precisely for this reason. Hey, many times I've give up installations at the third lib required!
So told, why we cannot hope for something better than win installer? They have quite a lot of problems, the main being the compulsory all screen blue panel and the restart at end query.
A dream installation tool yet exists in Linux: gentoo emerge. It lacks only a pretty gui IMHO.

Huh? Double-click works for me...
by John on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 08:02 UTC

I click on an RPM, KDE opens kpackage. In Mandrake it's even better, as the Software Manager comes up, which is a front-end to URPMI. That side of things isn't a problem in a properly configured distribution.

The problem is dependency hell, even URPMI doesn't solve that if it doesn't know where to find the required packages. One simple solution is for the application writers to ensure that they list the dependencies on their web-sites, with download links for any packages the distribution the RPM is built for doesn't come with by default. Instead, the Linux arrogance he talks about rules with developers assuming users know where to find them.

...
by rajan r on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 11:13 UTC

Karl: I use KDE as my desktop. I find that you can easily uninstall (and install) rpms with kpackage.

It doesn't resolve the dependancies for you (e.g. you have to find the proper packages yourself). It's UI also would scare new users (I know it did scared me in 7.x of Mandrake)..

Zenja: - why the heck do we need to install small apps. Why cant I simply unzip a small app into a certain directory and *presto*, its finished. This way I can move the app directory anywhere I want to, and remove it when I want to.

I think you should be able to remove it when you want to, but place it where you want it to be? Naahhhh. Just like a HiFi, you have a microphone port, and a headphone port. Could I put the microphone into the headphone port and expect it to work as a microphone?

Zenja: The whole KDE libraries should be 1 single library, not 22 with dependancies intertwined.

KDE Libraries on many platforms are placed in one package - kdelib, which should be the second thing, after QT, you need to install.

Rayiner Hashem: Just type in apt-get <pkg_name> and be done with it. The problem with your hypothetical user is this: She is arrogant. She does not for one moment want to learn anything about the environment she is using.

That's true. She doesn't want to do the same on Windows nor Mac OS X, and thankfully, she doesn't. On Windows, she downloaded a file, she double clicks, and a nice wizard comes up. And the hardest part is reading the EULA :-p. On mac OS X, is it even more easier, unzip the file, drag to the Applications folder or double click on it.

And I'm quite sure you want new users to come to Linux, I'm sure any OSS advocate would love an OSS OS to win.

Rayiner Hashem: The other day, I was talking my 12 year old brother through an SSH session (via a windows program called putty).....

Physcologically, teenagers and children have a faster capacity to learn new things. Most users who are using and configuring computers are adults.

Besides, notice you had explained to him what an IP address is.

Slackware: OTOH, even some Windows users are confused when they use any Windows from version 3.1 up to XP. Partly to blame is the fact that users still have access to the "system" which to them looks confusing and not just the word processor and Internet.

Since Windows Me, it had block the main system from the users automatically, and expert users are able dissable this for themselves. In Windows Me is was obstructive, but in Windows XP, it was flawless (almost).

Rayiner Hashem: I'm trying to resist the urge to curse. A computer is not a simple single-task device like an ATM or a toaster. The computer is a highly sophisticated tool that is often a primary component of someone's work environmen.

Windows and Mac OS manage to bring down the complexity to new users. Most users want to go on the Net, use Office/Works/whatever, maybe listen to music and watch a DVD or two. They don't want to type in commands to do something so simple on Windows and Mac OS - installing apps.

Heck, even in Mandrake, the manuals are cryptic and hard - just put a new cover, it would sound like a horror novel. How do you expect new users to read it? (I have 8.1's manual, maybe 8.2 had fixed it).

Now, tell me which toaster you would like to use. A toaster where you put in the bread, press down a button, and perhaps turn the knob to specify how much carbon you like. Or do you want something that requires you to read a manual.

Rayiner Hashem: Surely they can spend a few weeks learning how to use a computer.

A lot of people *don't* have weeks. A lot of people use their machines to *make* money, to keep their jobs, etc. Loosing a few weeks of work to many means loosing your job or loosing money etc.

10 minutes with a good HOWTO, and any user could be smart enough to install software via apt-get

Read this http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/apt-howto/index.en.html and honestly tell me if an average 60 year old mom, or a 24 year old ex-college kid working in the community center could learn it and figure stuff out in 10 minutes.

Smack your head for being so stupid.

How is this easier than apt-get <app-name>?

It's graphical, most users are paranoid about command line. Plus, using apt-get, is it easy to move around your software into places you want (like Mozilla automatically installs in Applications/Mozilla, but you want to arrange it up and Applications/Internet/Mozilla). You can in OS X.

jbolden1517: Fourth: Before every version of Windows you see commercial vendors put out info on the web plus new versions of their software so it can install.

Not true. I use a lot of Windows 9x applications in Windows XP because I don't have money to upgrade, and also many of these applications don't have new versions. For Windows XP though many came out with NT support versions, also a version that allows the app to follow the new look of XP.

Richard Fillion: Inflexible my ass. You cant say that the linux community isnt trying. It has come a LONG LONG LONG way since when i started using linux, but people keep asking more and more from it.

We want more because it is good. It isn't as easy to use as it should be. Linux had come a long long way since I started using Linux, in terms of usablity, and I just wish it would go a long long long way more. The problem is with people like Hashem, they don't want that.

Rayiner Hashem: Or read the manual! Or go Google for help. Or ask the local computer guy. Hell, email me at heliosc@mindspring.com!

Writing your email address in full in a public website isn't the most smartest thing you did. Spam bots are everywhere.

Besides, Google may not be the smartest way to do stuff. When I was configuring my PPPOE DSL connection, finding help in Google gave me impossible to understand howtos and tutorials. Mandrake's manuals isn't that helpful either. The problem is that I don't understand how DSL works. Finally, I phone my ISP, and thank god they help me do it, though it was full of commands and script configuring etc. Totally not as easy as XP, which was a 3 step wizard. (I didn't get to use DSL on Linux though, I accidently broke the network card later).

Alex Rad: It's very hard for me to believe that Redhat is suddenly focusing more and more on the desktop. THis sia fterall coming from the company who's CEO said that Linux has no future on the desktop.

Red Hat was wrong. There is a future on the desktop. And they realize it. In third/second world countries, they only want to do basic stuff (after all, they are new to computers in general), and they need something cheap ($40 isn't cheap for them). But I don't think there is a future for profitablity.

Rayiner Hashem: Windows sucks. Linux doesn't. And I'm talking from a usability standpoint.

For my mother (who find computers less than boring), I found it much easier teaching her XP than Linux. Yes, I tried explaining things to her, but she is what majority of the people are - not interested. Why do they need to take weeks to learn how to do something when they could do it now on other platforms?

Something "better" is a tool that is more cluttered, more complex, and less efficient, but doesn't require a manual?

I don't see how something that is cluttered and complex wouldn't require a manual....

2) Making complex wizard type interfaces to simple tasks is a waste of the users time.

I don't see anyone disagreing with you on that.

A plague on both your houses
by Don Cox on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 11:20 UTC

After reading all this, I am left thinking "Thank God for AmigaOS."

Almost every program comes with an Install script. You just click on
the Install icon (there may be an icon for each language), and away it
goes, with obvious choices like Which directory do you want it in.

You don't normally need to reboot before using the program. You can
usually try out the program by running it from the RAM disk, before
actually installing it to a hard drive.

Simple programs can often be installed just by dragging the program
directory to the directory that you want it to live in.

Library problems are extremely rare. I can't remember a case of a
library _update_ ever causing any problems, but sometimes a program
will not run with an old version of a library.

The CLI (Shell) is always available. Some people use it a lot, others
hardly ever. Of course some small utilities (especially ones ported
from Unix or Linux) have no GUI and must be used from the Shell.


Of course all of this contradicts the theory that greater ease of use
will increase market share. The Amiga's market share is
currently almost zero. Maybe it will start to go up when the new Amiga
systems and the new version of Amithlon finally appear.

Re: Irritates me
by Adam on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 11:34 UTC

Read again the other replies from people too. Everyone wants ease to use. You don't. Well, it will be just you and your geek friends using Linux. The rest won't simply bother.

Their loss.

computers = cars. to rayner hashem
by liberte on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 11:38 UTC

Do you use a car ? How do you do that ? You turn the ignition key, motor turns on, and then you just drive, right ?
You learnt what signs on the road mean, and that a car needs gas to run. You also know that it needs some maintenance from time to time. It took me 23hours before I could pass the licence exam in France, and I got it on 1st try. I had no accident since (God forbid that!).
But do you know specifically how your car works ? Can you repair your car alone ? Can you detect what's wrong listening to a noise from the motor ? Have you tried to replace the electronic brake system once ?
Noone but specialists and passionate people should know how to do complex operations, and how the car works. For all the other people, all we need to know is what the signs mean (think: the icons on the desktop and the widgets). I shouldnt be aware of "dependency hell".

People do NOT car how it works. They want to USE it.

Oh, by the way, you talk about arrogance ???
Who's arrogant, the on who says: "sheesh, she's got to learn, what a sissy" or you ? A computer is not more complicated than a car in my point of view. They're mere tools. They're means to do something else. I use mine to entertain (movies, mp3s), to create (websites, writings, drawing), and it has many other uses.... and since I'm a geek, I also customize it, just the way a "tuner" would tune his car. Now imagine if the car lovers pushed on you their love for cars: "what ? you cant do maintenance on your car ? How stupid arrogant you are! You should learn to love these beasts!". Now tell me, who's being arrogant ??

Oh, by the way, I just installed Gentoo on my desktop. My laptop, which is my "main" computer, remains on win2k. But I learn a few things with Gentoo. The most valuable asset of Gentoo today is not Portage. It is not the "compile from source" approach. No, it is the community. I posted on Gentoo's forums a few questions, help popuped up immedialty. Usefull answers. No "RTFM" or "you arrogant M$ luser". I asked trivial questions, and led the proper way I have been able to find answers. No I dont ask anymore, I look for answers for 10mn, then if I cant find, irc.openprojects.net #gentoo. If people were like you, I dont think Gentoo would be the fastest growing distro...

BTW
by Datako on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 11:47 UTC

.. by the way did you know there are 10.00341 zillion angels on a pinhead....

This has not been mentioned yet in this discussion, but this discussion sounds like the place to raise it.

I remember controversies like this about 20 odd years ago when car geeks were decrying auto transmissions, and earlier synchromesh gearboxes - "after all, any fool can learn to double-declutch and maipulate the throttle at the same time"

More recently I remember DOS geeks whining about window systems in the same way; the argument that 8.3 naming convention was perfectly adequate for naming files, and other such bollocks.

Cut the crap folks, simple is best and will win in the end.

The stupidity of users?
by Adam (not the author of the article) on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 11:54 UTC


I'd estimate that about 50-66% of the people at my company have a hard enough time using Windows or MacOS without any direction from myself or someone more experienced.

Yet so many people here think that OSS developers should create a system that requires no thought to use... What's wrong with this picture?

Of course new users to linux are going to have to RTFM or get help from someone else. That's exactly how it is for new users to Windows or MacOS.
Adam

My linux experience
by Maarten on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 12:08 UTC

IMHO The guy makes a point. If I download a RPM from RPMnet. I always look if it is for my distro. In my case suse 8.0 . Then there is a list of dependencies there. I download these as well. Then in KDE you simply click on the RPM and tell you wich depencies it needs. Sometimes just to find out that youre depencies needs also something else. Hate it when it happens. Then I go to google and do a search. You can spend a whole evening trying to install a program.
You can try to compile the stuff youreself, but I haven't got the experience with it yet. Well at least the RPM's uninstall quite easy. I still love Linux because you can do a lot more with it as in windows. For example, talking to my linux-server is very easy. I can even remote use the software on my Linux server and run it locally via ssh, even x-window programs. The windows terminal service doesn't even come close.
The first time I used Linux was in 1995. Well I used it for 2 months and then switched back to windows. When I had my Cable-internet last year, I treid linux again and I must say, it's got a lot better.
The only thing I am missing in linux is games. There are some good games out there. So I only use windows for games. Everything else I do with Linux. Watch a DVD. Listen to mp3. Watching divx. I can even play quake3. Browsing the internet and doing my email. I feel pretty save.
So I will stick with linux, eventhough it is very hard sometimes. Don't want to bitch on microsoft, but an operating system that I have to activate before I can use it, is not welcome. What happens if they stop supporting it.

A subtly most of you missed
by Charlie on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 12:11 UTC

Why should an installation file have a .lif ending? Oh... linux installation file... so obvious. Again, obvious if you know what it means... just like a lot of things in linux. So the author, despite attempts to make the system opaque and practical, still manages to drop something in there by expecting users to view/know file name extensions.

Hmm...

Just another level of the scale
by Yann Klis on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 12:23 UTC

In the very beginning, Linux lacks hardware support, then the 2.4 kernel was.
Then, Linux lacks Desktop Managers, then KDE3 and Gnome2 were.
Then Linux lacks a complete browser. Mozilla was.
Then, Linux lacks Productivity Software. Open Office, Koffice (and soon Gobe Productive) were.
Now the problem is programs installation? Red Carpet and RpmDrake are beginning of answers(not to mention apt-get but it seems that CLI is not well suited for the average user).
It's just another level of the scale and some people here on Earth are working hard to make these things possible.
So, what's next? Games? In a few months, Doom III will be available for Linux... ;-)

Gentoo has it right
by Ed on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 12:25 UTC

I've read a few comments about Gentoo saying that it's too hard to use, and that you can't compile from source on a desktop os ... Why?? what does the average user care if it's complied from source or not ?? so long as it installs what does it matter ... in fact it'll run faster if it's compiled and not a pre-compiled 386 binary ... so if someone wrote a gui for Portage that lets you browse the ports tree, sorted by app type, and shows you what you can have (maybe with a link to the home page of the project) and what you've got (including versions) and a button to install and uninstall it's perfect ... Personaly I'm happy with typing emerge ... it's a beautiful system and much easier to use than Windows, no clicking, no reading licences, no selling your soul ...

ed you should try kportagemaster
by liberte on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 12:39 UTC

it's a GUI frontend to portage, works with KDE.
I'm a newbie to linux, but i'm a windows advanced user, and I chose Gentoo for portage and the mandatory learning that comes with Gentoo ;) Just like I said in a previous comment, I'll stick with Gentoo because of the community.
For me, the problem about install/uninstall is settled: kportagemaster does it. I did not yet meet a dependency problem. Hope it wont happen!
For Joe User, Lycoris should do the trick with their "IRIS" stuff.

Conectiva Linux uses apt-get with rpm
by Marcos on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 12:47 UTC

Brazilian Conectiva Linux distribution ported the Debian apt to works with rpm packages. To install a program "prog" you just have to type

# apt-get install prog

and all dependencies are also downloaded and installed. The only problem with Linux is that there are many distributions and therefore it is necessary to generate binaries to all of them. Another "advantage" of Windows to dummies is that they never compile a program; the installers only decompress the files. Try to distribute a Windows program only by source code. MS Windows Visual C++ is very expensive and it is not included on Windows.

And I think that Linux is not difficult. Everybody used MS-DOS and have to change to Windows 3.X and then to Win9X and then to XP. What is the difference ? Unix is even anterior to MS-DOS. Unix never was popular because RISC hardware is very expensive but now there are no excuses. The only problem is the Microsoft bain-wash philosophy.

Let's face facts
by steve on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 12:50 UTC

I totally agree with Adam.I think one of the the key Objectives of the Linux Community is to grab the greater part(if not all)of the software market from Microsoft.If linux has to achieve this, then it has to beat the Redmond company at it's key strenghts-EASY OF USE and EASY OF ADMINISTRATION.Windows is very easy to administer and to use and this is the fact that everyone has to acknowledge;Otherwise forget about linux on the desktop.

I have been working as an IT Support Engineer for more than 3 years now.But it still takes me ages to get something working in linux and yet in Windows it's only a few clicks and under a minute I am done.

I LOOK FORWARD TO A DAY WHEN LINUX WILL BE SO EASY TO USE

Binbox
by paddyponchero on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 12:50 UTC

Whatever about your binbox and judging by the innundation of comments here. OSNews is becoming a haven for people looking for Linux News or LinOSNews .. as there are many, many other sites dealing with these topics. I'd like to say a big Irish 'feck off, ye linux goshites'

arrogance and wrong-headedness
by Chris Herborth on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 13:09 UTC

I'm totally with you on this editorial, but installation of extra software isn't the only problem.

Back almost a year ago (Mandrake 8.1 timeframe, if I remember correctly) I gave Linux a more-than-fair try on my systems (P2 333 Dell laptop, dual P2 350 desktop, dual P3 666 desktop). Unfortunately for me, I was trying to use it as a desktop operating system instead of a headless server operating system.

Printing to my USB printer worked great, but only during the install; when I rebooted after the install, my system apparently had no USB devices of any kind attached, despite the fact that the USB modules had loaded properly... absolutely nothing on the bus could be seen. Requests for help or more of a clue on various newsgroups and forums were met with cries of "you must be an idiot" and "works for me", the two most common answers to any Linux-related question.

OpenGL support was really flakey with my ATI Radeon card; rumour has it that nVidia's "support" is better, but I'm not willing to buy hardware anymore specifically to try out an OS that may or may not meet my needs. Again, "you must be an idiot" and "works for me" rang out.

Since most of what I do is Internet stuff (Konquerer was OK; awfully slow, but OK), OpenGL programming (almost impossible with flakey drivers), and gaming (totally pointless on Linux unless you like playing Quake 3 all day), Linux wasn't really for me... I was using it to get/read my email, and then rebooting into Windows 98SE (argh...) to play games.

The final straw was when my ISP went to SMTP AUTH for email; KMail didn't support it at the time. At least questions about this were met with a more useful response... the KMail in KDE 3 would support SMTP AUTH, but that was still 3-4 months away.

Blew away Linux on all three boxes and install Windows 2000 Professional, a much, much better desktop operating system, which manages to just work 100% of the time. After having spent the previous five years in BeOS, and then about six months in Linux, it was like I'd left prison or something... suddenly my hardware all worked, I could find high-quality software that did what I wanted, and I could easily figure out everything I needed to do.

Note that I'm not some computer illiterate; I've used UNIXes since high school in the mid-80's, I've worked for a UNIX-oriented operating system company (QNX), I've programmed loads of non-Windows platforms, I'm a shell scripting guru, I've had plenty of experience living in non-mainstream operating systems, and I build (and troubleshoot, unfortunately) my own computers. I'm a highly technical user, and Linux simply wasn't what I wanted/needed on the desktop.

- chrish

...
by rajan r on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 13:09 UTC

Don Cox: Of course all of this contradicts the theory that greater ease of use
will increase market share. The Amiga's market share is
currently almost zero.


It doesn't proove otherwise either. Amiga would probably be a big player if wasn't for that two greedy old man in charge of Commodore's collapse. People won't buy something which haven't had update in years, no?

Charlie: So the author, despite attempts to make the system opaque and practical, still manages to drop something in there by expecting users to view/know file name extensions.

.lif was an suggestion, I'm sure Adam didn't put much thought into the name. I think the point was in the way it should work.

Yann Klis: Then, Linux lacks Desktop Managers, then KDE3 and Gnome2 were.

Compared to those available to Windows and Mac OS, KDE nor GNOME is not there [i[yet[/i].

Yann Klis: Then, Linux lacks Productivity Software. Open Office, Koffice (and soon Gobe Productive) were.

A lot of Office users (including this sad one here) can't use OpenOffice.org for lack of features. When i need the features, only Office have them. When I don't need them, i rather use KOffice. Besides, KOffice and gobe have the feature base of MS Works/ AppleWorks.

It is coming close, but it isn't there. Though if KOffice had at least half of OpenOffice.org's developers, I bet kOffice would have more features than Office XP...

steve: I totally agree with Adam.I think one of the the key Objectives of the Linux Community is to grab the greater part(if not all)of the software market from Microsoft.

Microsoft makes more money out of Office :-p. Besides, even if Linux sits like a sitting duck and just makes sure it is the best open source OS out there, trust me, it would grab away a considerable amount of Microsoft's market share with the same method Microsoft used to grab its market share: price.

paddyponchero: Whatever about your binbox and judging by the innundation of comments here. OSNews is becoming a haven for people looking for Linux News or LinOSNews .. as there are many, many other sites dealing with these topics. I'd like to say a big Irish 'feck off, ye linux goshites'

Most of today's news here aren't related to Linux. Are you suggesting Eugenia to completely bar off Linux-related news? Probably the reason why Linux gets most of the news stories here is probably because there is stories....

You could always post your own news here. (Gosh, was it a month ago someone said OSNews could be renamed as BeNews?)

imporve rpm
by Anonymous on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 13:22 UTC

One of the problems with rpms (besides dependency hell) is you have to download the correct rpm for your distribution. A suse rpm probably won't work correctly on Mandrake, why ? because they all install kde or some config in a different place. Here is what I propose to solve this problem.

Rpm need to be more generic. Each distribution would set an environment variable, like RPM_KDE_DIR=/opt/kde or RPM_CONFIG_DIR=/etd/sysconfig, RPM_BIN_DIR=/usr/bin, etc. Then the creator of the rpm could just say, install the kde apps in RPM_KDE_DIR and it would go to the correct place on every distribution ! Another thing that needs to be the same across distributions is the naming. It's hard when a program depends on libkde on one distribution but it's called libkde3 on the next.

Just my $.02

Line72

RE:A plague on both your houses
by m on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 13:23 UTC

Don, I've never used an Amiga, I did use a Commodore very long time ago, I blurrily remember both platforms unrelated however (what OS was I using? Basic I guess). Anyway, I only wanted to express how beautiful is your Amiga loyalty. I was listening to Bill McEwen's Amiga speech (on mp3) and striked me very funny something he said about Amiga users, something like "So what is Amiga? Is tenacious, Amiga is tenacity, if there were two Amiga users left in the world they would go like: Amiga is the best thing isn't it?, yeah Amiga is the best thing ever, absolutely, it is the greatest..."

There has to be something very cool in Amigas to justify that tenacity. I do not understand very well their future business plan in PPC, they seem to have more of a stronghold in embedded systems.

Why not?
by Don Cox on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 13:32 UTC

"Zenja: - why the heck do we need to install small apps. Why cant I simply unzip a small app into a certain
directory and *presto*, its finished. This way I can move the app directory anywhere I want to, and remove
it when I want to.
I think you should be able to remove it when you want to, but place it where you want it to be? Naahhhh.
Just like a HiFi, you have a microphone port, and a headphone port. Could I put the microphone into the
headphone port and expect it to work as a microphone? "

Zenja is right. A small program should work whatever directory you put
it in, and you should be able to drag it to another place any time.

One of the biggest problems with Linux is the absurd names of the
directories, and the use of the same names over and over again.

Why are there directories called "etc" and "usr"? What does it mean?

I have directories called "Sound", "3D", "Video", "Text", etc.

Partitions get names like "Programs", "Data.1", "Audio.1", "Browser",
etc. Anyone can name their partitions and directories in ways that
make sense to them. Why these arcane 3-letter codes?

Want new users? No.
by Martin A. on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 13:52 UTC

>everything I'm saying is predicated on the fact that we want
>new, less technical users in the Linux community
Do we? Really? I certanly dont.
And Linux is by far not ready for that, not on its technical skills, but because of the lack of technical skills of the user/newbies.

Let those that love linux for what is it continue to do so,
and dont give the impression everyone wantes everybody to switch to Linux. I certanly dont want that, whats the point of
making a perfect hacker OS into a widespread bulletproof newbie safe OS?
And with widespread use comes commercializing. Bigtime. Ever thought how that might affect Linux?

And the winner is...
by Uberto Barbini on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 14:21 UTC

http://www.freesoftware.fsf.org/kportage/screenshots/

In the past years Linux has met many difficulties and crossed over all them. Some months ago there was no desktop and no office for Linux. Now OpenOffice, Gnome, Kde and others are shining.
I see a pattern here and the current most wished thing is a decent installer.
I'm sure Linux will have a very good installer 12 month from now. My bet are for kportage but I was wrong many times in the past.

New users are usefull to Linux
by liberte on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 14:35 UTC

If you really want your hacker OS, get a BSD. You have plenty of choice: NetBSD is great! FreeBSD is so great! OpenBSD is extremly great!
Linux can and will be used on the desktop. There are MAJOR drawbacks as of now to using it as your desktop, and the installer issue is one, but they will find solutions as time goes by.
When you look from where Linux comes to where it is, you just can guess where it's headed. And for the desktop the future is bright.

About commercialisation, what is wrong with it ? How do you want Lycoris or Mandrake to affect Linux ? It can only go in a good direction: funding KDE related projects, easing filesharing, X configuration (nightmare), driver support...
Applications repositories, if standardized will grow larger with thousands of mirrors (eliminate the suse mdk rh/else bins and rpms and debs by only ONE file + src => bandwidth available X5 or 6)!!!!

If user base increases to the point of creating commercial interests, then you will see ports of great windows apps, and who knows, game companies could pull or fund a replacement to X for games. With OpenGL supported by Id, you could see many games ported!!!

Damn, I look forward to the day Linux will have the games I want to play, and will be as straight forward as Windows is. I just love Windows2k, especially since I skinned it to the point you cant recognize it anymore, but its functionnalities are still, it's stable, consistent, full of apps, games, and it provides me with a much better user experience than Linux does.

Note: why do I switch ? Windows costs just too much. And EULAs... well... I will NOT give up root on my computer, whatever they say. And I dont want to fall in the proprietary trap too. I use Gentoo to learn, with KDE.

My miscellaneous comments on the article
by J. J. Ramsey on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 14:42 UTC

First off, Adam talks about the "arrogance" of the Linux community as if it were a monolith, and further writes as if Linux users invented the abbreviation "RTFM". Ironically, Adam contradicts himself by bringing up GUI installers like IRIS, Click n' Run, and Red Carpet, which were formed by members of the Linux community in an attempt to address legitimate user concerns that Adam claims that the community dodges with its arrogance. Now you may claim that these GUI installers are incomplete, constraining, or not easy enough to use, and I'd agree that you are at least partly right. That, though, is a different issue. Arrogance has little to do with the state of software installation under Linux. The loudest louts tend not to be the ones writing the software.

Adam also brings up some incredibly specious points. For example, his sample tarball README says "for SuSE, [install] here, for Red Hat, here, for Mandrake, here...." If this were a non-standard tarball that didn't use autoconf, such a README *might* be plausible. However, this tarball is specifically said to use a ./configure script--standard issue GNU autoconf stuff. Autoconf scripts automatically take care of platform differences not only across different Linux distros, but even across different Unices. The likelihood that the tarball README would advise different locations for different distros is about nil. Linux has enough real problems without Adam making up phantom ones. Please.

Many of the real problems Adam addresses are already being dealt with by the LSB. The LSB's purpose is to make it so that binary software packages can be distro agnostic, and it already deals with things such as default install locations; that's one of the purposes of the FHS. Also, the LSB already has declared an installation format: RPM. No need for an .lif package.

As for easy ways to make shortcuts to apps, that is already quite doable. Drag from the menu to a panel. This works in KDE and GNOME.

As for GUI ways of uninstalling software, that is already covered by the assorted RPM/DEB front ends. Kpackage and Red Carpet already deal with package deinstallation.

What you seem to want, Adam, is a streamlined package manager that works with a minimum of fuss and frustration. That is fine, but you could have done that without making specious comments on arrogance, bad examples, and calls to invent standards that already in the works.

James Joyce was arrogant
by Michael Burschik on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 14:47 UTC

James Joyce was arrogant. "Ulysses" is not for your average reader. I expect he wrote the way he did because he thought it was the right way. He must have been fully aware of the fact that "Ulysses" would never be a best-seller. But he wrote the book the way he thought it should be, for himself and a few readers willing to take it on.

Linux software is written by people who are trying to get it right. They are doing it their way. Most of them are doing it for free. They are under no obligation whatsoever to make it easy for Joe Q. Public to use, and people should stop whining about that. The main target group of Linux developers is Linux developers. This is natural and it is their right.

If you don't like the way they do it, don't whine about it. Write it the way you think it should be done, or, if you lack the abilities to do so, pay someone to write it the way you want it.

Why don't use Loki Setup Utility ?
by djamé on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 14:49 UTC

It works great for every kind of soft which use it...

q3
Unreal
Kylix
CoffeCup
and a lot more..............


maybe it could be possible to make this tool act as a frontend to rpm and whenever people double click to a rpm
Loki's tool takes place and propose to install it and if peolpe wants to change the path of the install, the frontend do a rpm --badrelocs stuff and voilà....

the main things would be to force people to make rpm easily relocable..
never try to change the path of a rpm ? lol....


Djamé

package management
by William Clifford on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 15:20 UTC

In January of 2000 I committed myself to Microsoft independence. Eight months into my Linux experiement I switched from Red Hat to Debian solely because I saw my brother using dselect on his laptop. He had just started using it out of the O'Reilly book that came out a while back. Ease of package management matters a lot to me. I'm strongly skeptical that anyone does it better than Debian but I'm pretty entrenched at this point and don't care to even try anything else.

Two weeks ago I needed more disk space so I formatted the old Windows 98 partitions on the other hard drive. I wasn't using them.

re
by Martin A. on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 15:22 UTC

>why do I switch ? Windows costs just too much. And EULAs... well...
One of my point. If linux gets lots of commercializing, do you really think all of them will be nice and community friendly like RH,SuSE,MDK, etc.? You'll end up with forks, non-free drivers, licence fees, etc.(Not everything is GPL).
Look at Lycoris and Xandros, already developing non-open software,

not sure if this was already stated but...
by Arthur on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 15:29 UTC

I think before you even get into the installer for new software, you have to bring a little more sense to how Linux is organized on your hard drive in the first place. I think part of the problem is that people have a folder on their hard drive named /usr/lib/dev/... and so on. Maybe this is integral to linux at the moment, but the organization has to made simpler. Drivers should go in a /linux/drivers folder. I think Windows has a good system with the Program Files folder (directory, whichever you prefer).

I think part of the problem for Linux is trying to work from the top (the gui) down instead of having a logical user interface come from a more accessible, organized base structure. Either a great deal of effort has to be made to cover this confusing base up (which may be the case with OS X) or it needs to be thrown out and rethought as an evolutionary step in the Linux platform. Remember, the beauty of Linux is its open-source nature, not the steep learning curve that keeps neophytes out.

Installation Manager vs. Packaging Manager??
by bzImage on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 15:46 UTC

Aren't Installation Manager and Packaging Manager are 2 different things?

rpm is a packaging manager which acts upon the *.rpm files. Whereas an installation manager can be shipped with the product, like setup.exe or product.msi under Windows.

You run setup.exe or product.msi and it presents you the wizard screens which walk you through the installation process. Optionally, it comes with silent mode for remote or autopilot installation. The silent mode reads the given config file for default settings and does not present any GUI. Moreover, the installation should allow user to install the product remotely onto multiple machines without having to manually log onto each of them and install by hand. Windows can do this, why can't Linux? You don't want to manually install a product on 100+ machines.

Installation is going to be around us for many years. Do some research and make it right and simple to use.

--
Quang


RE: Ease of administration????
by redtux on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 15:51 UTC

[quote]
I totally agree with Adam.I think one of the the key Objectives of the Linux Community is to grab the greater part(if not all)of the software market from Microsoft.If linux has to achieve this, then it has to beat the Redmond company at it's key strenghts-EASY OF USE and EASY OF ADMINISTRATION.Windows is very easy to administer and to use and this is the fact that everyone has to acknowledge;Otherwise forget about linux on the desktop.

I have been working as an IT Support Engineer for more than 3 years now.But it still takes me ages to get something working in linux and yet in Windows it's only a few clicks and under a minute I am done.

I LOOK FORWARD TO A DAY WHEN LINUX WILL BE SO EASY TO USE
[/quote]

You are joking right?

Windows easy to administer? dear o dear where to start on this.

In my last job I administered a mix between linux and NT servers - the linux machines just worked while the NT machines continually needed fixing, often because they suddenly decided that their configurations needed changing.

I find personally windows to not be easy to use once you get past the real basics, whilst the more you use linux the more you can do with it.

I have lost count of the number of times where "design" features of windows or office have forced me onto google or MS support to do someting that could easily have been done on my linux box.

Agree 100%
by Randy Snow on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 15:54 UTC

Well written and I agree 100%. Folks saying they don't need to make shortcuts or click and run apps are livin in la la land. Linux needs all this and more to succeed and these suggestions hit the nail right on the head. ;) If you want linux to make it on the desktop, you need ease of use, and that is still what the OS is missing. I hope we always keep the underlying technical layer...but ontop we need fluff and bs.

However Gentoo is AWESOME for those of us that know what we are doing. WOO WOO! http://www.gentoo.org/

Well since no one point this out........
by Slackware on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 16:21 UTC

Adam, you stated in your post that your mail-box was flooded when you posted "Update on Red Hat's Limbo Progress". I don't know if your mailbox is flooded but the forum sure is with 124 responses. Just a bit of irony perhaps. The count is probably still going to go up.

RE: Colin LeMahieu
by Camel on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 16:22 UTC

I agree with this editorial 100%. ...the shortcoming in a lot of the community is the fact that people frankly don't want to be presented with options, they want things to work, work fast, and work all the time. Fighting the OS to install things is not what the user wants to spend their time doing...

After reading this statement and a nimiety of similar ones I just have to ask why does somebody in fact try Linux as opposed to sticking with Windows? The immediately obvious answer is that people are not content with Windows and want something better. However, when they get over to that "greener pasture" they begin complaining that it doesn't do everything exactly like Windows and they have to *gasp* learn something. I just can't fathom the logic.

The author of this article says that Linux must get a clickable file that is in every way like clicking a setup file under Windows. Then he says he wants to have easy uninstalling like Windows. Nevermind the fact that Windows doesn't actually uninstall ALL the software most of the time. It only removes enough to keep it from showing up in your Start | Programs menu. The registry, and often times directory structure, continues to be littered with the carcases of "removed" programs.

Why does Linux need double-clickable setup.exe files? How would that make installing software easier under Linux.

To illustrate my point, here is the process you must undergo for Windows to install something:
1) drive to the store and pick up, or download from the net, some software.
2) pay for it.
3) insert the CD or unzip a zip file.
4) go to the directory where the setup.exe file is located
5) double click the setup.exe file.
6) answer questions during setup such as you name, company name, where you want the program installed, how much of the program should be installed, etc.
7) once setup is complete, more often than not you get the fond privilage of rebooting your computer.

To uninstall under Windows you must:
1) click on Start | Settings | Control Panel
2) click on Add/Remove Programs
3) locate your program
4) click the remove button

Under Debian linux, for example, I would:
1) open a command window
2) type "apt-get install <program name>"

Apt does the rest and I don't have to reboot when I'm finished.

To uninstall, I must:
1) open a command window
2) type "apt-get remove <program name>

And I'm done.

For people who like graphical tools, there is a program called synaptic that is a nice graphical interface for browsing available software and installing and removing things.

Now considering the above, how is hunting for and pecking on a setup.exe-like file easier or better than what is already implemented under Linux.

I wish people would stop running away from MS trash only to land on the Linux crowd and demand they do everything the retarded MS way. It's unfortunate that some companies, like Xandros, are listening (like adding a C: drive to Linux. Absolute absurdity).

re: James Joyce was arrogant
by Anonymous on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 16:23 UTC

>They are doing it their way

so why do they whine about Linux being ready for the desktop?

RE: Ben
by Camel on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 16:28 UTC

Usually you download a compressed file (.sit or .zip), double click on it to uncompress it. This creates a .dmg file which is a disk image (is that similar to an RPM file?). Once the disk image is mounted, usually all I have to do is drag the application into my applications directory. If it is a system update, all I have to do is double click on the installer app. Nothing more. For the home user or end-user, this kind of simplicity is key. I would suppose that if Apple can do it, the Linux community can too.

I agree with you that Apple's way of installing things is very easy. Apples way of installing software is far superior to the Windows way, but do you know how many times I've heard Windows users say, "Apple sucks. How do you install anything"? Once you show them, they still don't like it. The fact is that people seem to hate learning and complain whenever they have to do it.

>why does somebody in fact try Linux as opposed to
>sticking with Windows? The immediately obvious answer
>is that people are not content with Windows and
>want something better. However, when they get
>over to that "greener pasture" they begin
>complaining that it doesn't do everything
>exactly like Windows...

Actually they just don't want to use MICROSOFT Windows. If there were a "Red Hat Windows," I'm sure people would flock to it.

>Under Debian linux, for example, I would:
>1) open a command window
>2) type "apt-get install <program name>"

I hope you know the package name. If not, good luck. Hell, I tried Debian for the first time not too long ago in the form of Libranet 2.0, and when I wanted PHP, apt-get install php didn't work. How was I to know it's called "php4?" Will it understand what I mean when I type apt-get install "cd-burner software" or apt-get install "scanner software"?


Some perspective
by Rick on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 16:41 UTC

<p>
I have read the many, many post criticising Linux and open source software. I just wanted to bring up a point; did you _PAY_ for the software you are criticising?
</p><p>
The author took the time (in most cases considerble time) to write the software and then made it available to you _FREE_ of charge. Yet you still expect more of the authors' time to make it easy to install?
</p><p>
If you had paid for the software, I could understand your expectation that it be easy. But you get the software for free, and yet you are not willing to spend a couple of hours figuring out how to install it when the author has spent many, many hours writing it in the first place?
</p><p>
BTW, most mature oss _IS_ easy to install either through a packaging system like RPM or apt, or by the old open source 3 step ./configure, make, make install.
</p>

Read the manual!
by ako on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 16:43 UTC

If i want to drive a car, I have to take lessons and read a manual.
If i want to use change the message on the voicemail of my mobile, i have to read the manual.
If i want to use my microwave i have to read the manual
If i want to program my video recorder, i have to read the manual
If i want to program my tv i have to read the manual.
If i want to use the alarm in the office i have to read the manual.
If i want to make diner, i read the manual: a cookbook.
If i want to make music, i take lessons and read book, watch video's.

Most things take effort to learn: do it, it's worth it!
Nothing is intuitive: my girlfriend couldn't install software on a window machine, even if she wanted to. IT IS NOT INTUITIVE. I remember having to explain her the cut and past concept. Even that is dificult.

WINDOWS IS NOT INTUITIVE, MACINTOSH IS NOT INTUITIVE!

Re: not sure if this was already stated but..
by Jim on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 16:44 UTC

I think before you even get into the installer for new software, you have to bring a little more sense to how Linux is organized on your hard drive in the first place

I agree here, I think the file system is a total mess. Because Linux is so large, and worked on by so many people and projects, you could never realistically change something like this. Instead you have to try to make excuses for leaving it the way it is. OSS is good, but it can also prevent real innovation. The longer you wait to change something like this, the more difficult it will be to change. Being tied down on such a large scale will hinder its ability to evolve.

Re: But Linux is Free!
by Jim on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 16:47 UTC

I would rather pay for a good operating system than use a bad one for free. (BTW I do give money to Mandrake)

Re: Read the manual!
by Adam Scheinberg on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 16:52 UTC

>If i want to drive a car, I have to take lessons and read a manual.
I learned from my Dad. He told me what to do.

>If i want to use change the message on the voicemail of my mobile, i have to read the manual.
I fool with it until I figure it out.

>If i want to use my microwave i have to read the manual
I expect that it should make sense. I've never read a microwave manual, but somehow, my food is still cooked.

>If i want to program my video recorder, i have to read the manual
Not me. I fool with the remote until I get it.

>If i want to program my tv i have to read the manual.
See above.

>If i want to use the alarm in the office i have to read the manual.
My boss showed me how to use ours.

>If i want to make diner, i read the manual: a cookbook.
I cook a lot. I experiment mostly. I rarely use recipes.

>If i want to make music, i take lessons and read book, watch video's.
I play with my guitar, piano, drums, and bass. I taught myself drums and piano and I picked up guitar in college.


I can and actively do all of those things. I've never read a manual. Most of these things have succeeded because people have been able to figure them out. Not because there was a long instructional process.

Not Windows
by Jay on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 16:59 UTC

It must be repeated - average users are not particularly wanting everything else to be like Windows. It is simply that Apple and Microsoft (basically) have established the standards and it is the standards that the average user expects. That is all there is to it. As long as Linux falls short of supplying these standards (in its own fashion), there is no Linux for average users. It has nothing to do with Windows per se.

Again, it must be repeated, the vast majority of people think in a visual manner. That is why the GUI started the personal computing explosion. Example: MS-DOS. Many people got to the point where they could use DOS in the most elementary way - knowing what command to use at the command prompt to start Word Perfect or whatever application. But, beyond that, DOS was impossible for them to understand. Visual thinkers cannot easily "see" things like hierarchical filesystems and command lines in their minds. Abstract thought is very hard for them - and they are the vast majority of computer users.

In order for Linux to succeed on the desktop, doing everything, from installing to uninstalling and everything else must be so easy as to be pitiful. That is the way things are. You cannot get past that.

It is up to the programmers, developers and distributors to do this job. You are the only ones who can do it. You have to start thinking like the Apple and Be and even finally the MS people think - to think like the average user who thinks visually and not abstractly. It is a huge task. That is one reason it was so revolutionary. The geeks began to focus on how the rest of the people think, not on how other abstract thinking geeks think.

And finally, the reason to do all of this is not to bring down the monopoly, not to make big shots rich, but because Linux is a great OS and it should be an option for the average user. We know what's under the hood. The average person just wants to know how to use the system for their work and play. There will always be people who will want to learn more and I agree with teaching and showing people the amazing things they can do that they don't know about and teaching them, in a basic manner, how things work. But there are only a certain percentage of people who are even willing and wanting to do that.

As I said before, for our era - our time and place - all this was decided almost twenty years ago and Linux is still behind the curve as far as ease of use. I know Linux is special because of OSS, but it does not change the reality that Linux faces if we want it as a true desktop OS for average corporate and home users.

Did you really need to read a manual for your microwave?

Windows and Mac are way more intuitive than Linux. Of course there will always be people who won't get it no matter how easy you make it, but we are we are talking about what's intuitive for an average computer user.

Installing software
by Adam K on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 17:01 UTC

I hope you know the package name. If not, good luck. Hell, I tried Debian for the first time not too long ago in the form of Libranet 2.0, and when I wanted PHP, apt-get install php didn't work. How was I to know it's called "php4?" Will it understand what I mean when I type apt-get install "cd-burner software" or apt-get install "scanner software"?

The same thing is true of Windows... If I want to find software for windows, I go to Google and type in "scanner software windows". If I want to find it for linux, I go to Google and type in "scanner software linux". The exact same process. The only difference is that once I know the name under linux, I can bring up the terminal and type apt-get install "name_of_package".

Usable does not mean dumbed down
by Joe User on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 17:03 UTC

Nearly everyone in this discussion assumes that usability necessarily means dumbing down the system and limiting the user, which is in itself a misunderstanding of the principles of UI design. Real usability and good design are about empowering the user. For an example, take a serious look at OS X. There's a Unix system that is easy to use but not intrusive, limiting, or "complex and cluttered." That should be your standard for judging an interface, not Windows XP.

If I may make a suggestion, there ought to be (if there isn't one already) a Linux development group with a thorough understanding of UI design that begins with a plan for a usable interface and designs around that.

Re: Linux installation IS easy
by Jim on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 17:06 UTC

I am currently using MDK 9.0 b3, all the RPM's that came with the distro work, if it did not come with the distro it does not work. That is easy. I think OOo and Netscape 6 are the only 2 things I have installed on the box that were not installed from the Mandrake CD's. Arguing backwards compatibility and dependency problems is beating a dead horse, but to say there is nothing wrong with the system in its current state is just wrong. I should also point out that LSB is backing RPM. There are other install methods, but hardly any distros are using them.

A whole lot of talking
by Strath on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 17:09 UTC

If everyone here has such strong opinions, then shut your mouths and implement your ideas. The time you spend bitching about problems would be better spent coding. And if you don't code, then don't be a backseat driver to all the people out here who code for free.

Re: A whole lot of talking
by Jim on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 17:16 UTC

If the problem was lack of code, it would have been solved a long time ago, the problem is misdirection. Something communication is actually useful for.

You're so damned right !
by Patrick Bielen on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 17:25 UTC

There are only a few words to say from this article.
It's so damned right ! I agree with it for 100%.

Uninformed
by boobleboy on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 17:27 UTC

I think before you even get into the installer for new software, you have to bring a little more sense to how Linux is organized on your hard drive in the first place
-----------------

Don't shoot your mouth off if you don't know what you're talking about. Take a look at http://www.pathname.com/fhs/pub/fhs-2.2.pdf first. Read it and understand the rationale behind the organization.

Now, once you're finished that - yes Linux does need (in general) to improve more in terms of placement. A GREAT first start would be if distros rigidly adhered to the FHS. Suse is one of the distros that follow it well. Redhat - not so well.

Realistically, users don't care where the application is installed on their system. They care about their home (My Documents) folder - thats it. They want to double click an app and have it install somewhere - wherever. As long as they can go to once place and uninstall it, happiness is reached. Its the lack of ****folllowing**** the standard that is causing part of the problem with install/uninstall.

Re: Uninformed
by Jim on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 17:40 UTC

Actually the tradition is to throw all the binaries into /usr/bin and the libraries, configs etc. elsewhere on the disk. FHS does not really address desktop Linux.

Here is the FHS spec for /usr/bin
http://www.pathname.com/fhs/2.2/fhs-4.5.html

Does that look like it was written with GUI desktop applications in mind?

Fact: reason or no reason, the Linux file system is a mess.

12 steps..
by Jim on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 17:43 UTC

You do know the fist step is admitting you have a problem

I know its often hard to get past the denial stage… J

Whoa boobleboy
by Arthur on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 17:56 UTC

Don't shoot my mouth off? Listen, I was just participating in a conversation. Save the "not shooting my mouth off" tough guy stuff for when I crack wise about your Mom or something similar to that.

As to your link, I skimmed some of it, then I realized you had just pointed me to a FORTY-ONE PAGE document explaining the logic behind the file structure of linux and I stopped. That basically makes my argument right there. I'm sure there is a very reasonable, forty-one page reason why Linux is arranged as it is, but if the goal is to increase the Linux userbase, then it needs to make more sense from the bottom up. The end result has to be an intuitive, powerful GUI experience. As long as Linux distros are adjusting their GUI's to apologize for the sloppiness under the hood, the GUI is always going to be second rate.

Re: Read the manual!
by Deletomn on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 18:18 UTC


>If i want to drive a car, I have to take lessons and read a manual.
I learned from my Dad. He told me what to do.

and so on...


Heh. Yep. That's roughly how I do things too. I've found, typically I don't need to read the manual for ALOT of things. I usually only glance over them really fast for warnings and stuff like that. (I like to make sure I don't accidently blow anything up. It's a little late to worry about it after the fact.) Typical use of alot of appliances is ultra easy. (I'm not saying everything is that easy or should be)


If everyone here has such strong opinions, then shut your mouths and implement your ideas. The time you spend bitching about problems would be better spent coding. And if you don't code, then don't be a backseat driver to all the people out here who code for free.

Ha! No offense intended, but some people DO code, but are already working on projects. I suppose we're supposed to drop those right now, because you can't be bothered? I'll keep that in mind if you ever make a suggestion about any programs anyone else does. I'll tell you to do it.

Honestly, if you like to program and actually like your project(s), you want to improve it/them. Not just tell everyone how great it is and tell people to stuff it, when they have a suggestion. And if you sit in your ivory tower, only implementing your own ideas then things are eventually going to get stale and go bad. That's how a number of projects I know end up going down the tubes. Eventually everyone else leaves, because the "almighty programmers/company/whatever" told everyone else to stuff it. And so the users stuff it and leave; and the makers are left to sit in the dark and talk to themselves about how cool they are.

Re: Whoa boobleboy
by Rick on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 18:34 UTC

Computers are complicated .. just like automobiles are complicated. The fact that the controls to a car are easy to use diguises a cars complexity; but it is still there.

As an end user the part of the file system you need to know about is /home/yourdirectory, /mnt/floppy and /mnt/cdrom.

Windows is just as complex under the hood ... just take a look at the Registry.

it' called OS X
by developer on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 18:54 UTC

All of the things that you said linux needs is already contained in a nice os with a Unix/java backend and an Aqua/GUI front end. This os is called. OS X. It has graphical,installers, disk images, administrative privelege notifications, etc. You want it you name it. It has .app files instead of .exe files. And guess what. They are virus free. And when you perform an install you don't have to worry about it installing DLL's (Damn loser libraries) into 50 different locations.

Re: Whoa boobleboy
by Jim on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 19:02 UTC

/home/you - good idea
/mnt/floppy - good idea
/mnt/cdrom - good idea
/ - good idea

It is a mess in general, not every portion of it is a bad idea. Whatever about your car, I don't care. I know quite a few people who have no problem with Reading The FM's often but still use windows as a desktop because Linux still sucks on the desktop. Distributing and managing software for Linux is a chore.

just take a look at the Registry.

Windows registry, I rarely use it, but Linux still has /etc which is sort of a registry (and that I use). To write it off and say “It’s fine if this sucks because that sucks too” changes nothing, because in the end it still sucks. The fact that the CLI actually gets used in Linux is, if anything, is more reason to have a better organized file system.

BTW, I notice this discussion has strong resemblance to a discussion about religion. Everybody states their strong opinions on how thing are or should be, but, in the end, nobody is ever really persuaded in either direction by the discussion. To participate in demonstrates poor judgment on my part, and lack of consideration for those that are not on broadband lines and have better things to spend bandwidth on. Sorry.

Yes
by boobleboy on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 19:04 UTC

Computers are complicated .. just like automobiles are complicated. The fact that the controls to a car are easy to use diguises a cars complexity; but it is still there.

As an end user the part of the file system you need to know about is /home/yourdirectory, /mnt/floppy and /mnt/cdrom.

Windows is just as complex under the hood ... just take a look at the Registry.
------

Exactly. I sent you to a 41 page document to show you that there is a standard. No one follows it. You as a user shouldn't give a rats ass where the programs are. They should work out of the box. If the distros followed the standard - your life would be easier. You care about your My Documents folder.

PS. Jim: I did admit there's room for improvement.

Thing To Do
by boobleboy on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 19:19 UTC

Here's Something For Everyone:

Set up a webspace somewhere and draw up a document how you think desktop Linux should be set up. Keep in mind these following facts:

1) It has to be backward compatible. Face it - no one, including MS, changes immediately.
2) It has to be inherently multi user capable
3) Certain parts of your file system should be expected to be mounted over a network. Config files should be separated into global config, user specific config and host config.. There is to appear to be no artificial distinction between systems.
4) It has to deal with libraries coming in from a large number of projects. Some of these could be host specific, some will be system wide.
5) It has to deal with a large variety of archs. Some 32bit, some 64bit. (these could have different libs as well)
6) It has to deal with older programs that may not know how to handle this (transition period)
7) It will have to have some structure for applications that users will install (where to place etc)

When you think you're ready send it out to the standards groups etc etc. Till then improvements to the current situation will happen 1 step at a time. Its a lot more grunngy, less sexy than a total redesign and will get a lot of flack. Oh well.

Feel free to post your website here. I'll be around.

Re: Jim
by Rick on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 19:34 UTC

I don't find the Linux file system to be a mess. It is a different approach to organizing a system and like all design decisions it comes with advantages and disadvantages.

Personally, I much prefer text config files to something like the registry. They are for the most part human readable (yes I have seen sendmail.cf). They can be edited with simple tools i.e. any text editor. And most importantly, they are atomic. Which means there is little chance of me messing up more than one thing when I change a config file.

Die cheerleaders, die
by Robert Hanlin on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 20:03 UTC

Has anyone read read JWZ's critique of Linux? No one wants to mess with details that mean nothing to them. As a programmer, you learn that one of your most important jobs is to create abstractions. Why is it that Linux can't abstract installation details away?

More importantly, why are there so many dependencies? No good engineer makes dependencies she can't control. Installation is a solved problem. Programmers should RTFM for the solution.

The worst thing of all is RTFM. On one side, you have these tireless cheerleaders shouting that EVERYONE must topple the evil Microsoft, and one way to do this is running Linux. Linux is better! they argue. But wait -- when people try this, they immediately are treated like idiots who should just use a consumer OS like Windows. If you're a developer who hates these newbies, tell your cheerleaders to shut up. The users are not the enemy, it's the cheerleaders.

I dislike Steve Jobs, but I hope he steals a lot of marketshare from the other Unixes.

Re: OS X
by Rob on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 20:17 UTC

Sure, OS X is great. And as soon as your average Compaq-buying, Dell-buying, Gateway-buying user can head over to CompUSA or Best Buy and pick up a copy of OS X to replace Windows with I'm sure it'll be all the rage.

But when you show this user a copy of OS X, explain how wonderful it is, how it is just sooooooo much better than Windows and Linux and it's based on a *BSD core so it's rock stable ... you'll win him over, I bet. That is, until you then take him by the hand and lead him over to the Macintosh machine he's going to have to buy in order to use it.

Then you get to explain why that pretty new Mac, with half the clockspeed of a P4 or AthlonXP, is worth paying MORE for than the x86 machine. "Clockspeed doesn't MEAN what you think it means," you'll tell him. "Look at the AthlonXP! Clock for clock it trounces the P4. Hell, clock for clock, it it'd scale, the P3 does the same thing! It's a whole different architecture!"

You can go on and on explaining it all to pieces and no matter how logical your comments are, no matter how persuasive, the fact remains that the user is most likely going to look at you with eyes that glazed over early into your pro-Mac dialogue, take another dubious glance at the Mac, and walk away.

Not everyone is willing to throw away thousands of dollars to switch. Why thousands? You're not just asking them to buy a new Mac JUST to get to use OS X, you're asking them to throw away all the time, money, and learning effort they've already put into their Windows box PLUS add more time and learning effort (not to even mention the money) to learn OS X. Everyone always says, "Mac is a HARDware company! THAT's how they make their money." Why, then, do you never hear someone saying, "Try a Mac! The hardware is incredible! Sure, the specs look painfully slow on PAPER but in the real world they're magnificent!" You don't hear that. You hear, "Try a Mac! OS X is so freakin great! And, um, oh yeah ... you'll, um, have to buy a Mac to use it on. But OS X is worth it!"

So Apple is a hardware company only because their software (OS X) is so great people are willing to buy the hardware to get the software?? That's ... a truly unique business model. But the fact remains that MOST people use AMD/Intel hardware, OS X will NOT run on it, and the vast majority of those people aren't going to throw away that investment just for Aqua.

The prettiest, friendliest OS in the world isn't going to win the day at a price that steep FOR CURRENT COMPUTER OWNERS. Mac should, IMO, be targeting NEW buyers, not entrenched Windows/Intel/AMD users.

Of course, if OS X DID run on Intel/AMD hardware (and all the myriad commodity hardware the platform supports) what would happen to OS X's vaunted ease of use then? If Microsoft was able to hand-pick the hardware that would run in Microsoft-manufactured computers running a Microsoft-created operating system ... well, I think you see my point.

Re: A whole lot of talking
by Robert Hanlin on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 20:21 UTC

Strath wrote:
If everyone here has such strong opinions, then shut your mouths and implement your ideas. The time you spend bitching about problems would be better spent coding. And if you don't code, then don't be a backseat driver to all the people out here who code for free.

Tell us that the Linux community doesn't profit from increased mindshare. Then journalists can stop writing about it.

Forget installing as well as Mac OS X does. It just needs to get to the MS-DOS standard first.

Re: A whole lot of talking
by Rob on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 20:32 UTC

Installing in MS-DOS? That's hysterical. Installing in MS-DOS meant

md newgame
unzip -d newgame c:newgame
cd c:newgame
newgame

There was NO filesystem standard for MS-DOS. It was brain dead simple simply because it was barely functional. Remember what MS-DOS was originally named: QDOS. Quick and Dirty Operating System. Comparing Linux to MS-DOS is like comparing that drunk guy in jail with a harmonica on the Andy Griffith show to a professional orchestra.

Re: A whole lot of talking
by Robert Hanlin on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 20:46 UTC

Rob wrote:
Installing in MS-DOS? That's hysterical.

I know what installing in MS-DOS entailed. Your example of using unzip may have been weird, but it was always in a readme, and had no dependencies. Plus, real programs had an installer, which were often simple scripts.


Comparing Linux to MS-DOS is like comparing that drunk guy in jail with a harmonica on the Andy Griffith show to a professional orchestra.

Don't flatter yourself. Unix was once the Microsoft cancer of operating systems.

"I liken starting one's computing career with Unix, say as an undergraduate, to being born in East Africa. It is intolerably hot, your body is covered with lice and flies, you are malnourished and you suffer from numerous curable diseases. But, as far as young East Africans can tell, this is simply the natural condition and they live within it. By the time they find out differently, it is too late. They already think that the writing of shell scripts is a natural act."
-- Ken Pier, Xerox PARC

Want more of where that came from? Read the following link, which has some choice quotes from Michael Tiemann (now of RHat) and Bill Joy.
http://www.molgen.mpg.de/~wwwutz/Unix_Haters/

Re: A whole lot of talking
by Rob on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 21:31 UTC

Of course they had no dependencies. That's why you had, for instance, WordPerfect shipping with its own proprietary drivers for every single printer in existence. And every OTHER program on your machine that printed functioned pretty much the same way. I thought it was pretty much accepted that duplicating functionality in EVERY SINGLE APP on a system was a BAD thing ... THAT is what dependencies work to avoid. That way you don't have 25 programs saying, "This is EXACTLY how to print this, and here are my drivers to get it done." You have 25 programs saying, "Print this. I don't care how you do it, just do it." It's about efficiency, and yeah, sometimes efficiency comes at a cost in the short-term, but the expense is justified in the long term.

And what does your Unix reference have to do with anything? So now we've gone from comparing Linux to MS-DOS to comparing Linux to antiquated versions of Unix? Linux is Linux, BASED on Unix but a far cry from BEING Unix. Following that logic, WindowsXP = QDOS, right? If you're going to compare it to something, at least try to compare it to something relevant. I use Linux only. I use Gentoo Linux, not Red Hat, SuSE, or Mandrake. You know how many shell scripts I've written? A few, because I wanted to. I also used to write batch scripts in DOS. I wanted to. I didn't then and I don't now HAVE to.

I love how people throw out a quote someone, somewhere, once uttered as if, by virtue of having been uttered, it attains anything approaching unbiased truth or relevance.

"No one will ever need more than 640K!" -- Bill G

(Paraphrased) "I can say with certainty that, going forward, OS/2 IS the operating system of the future!" -- Also Bill G, pre-Win95

There's a quote somewhere to fit every argument. Doesn't make them valid or even particularly interesting. You could have just as easily trotted out a quote in support of cannibalism, peadophila, or IV drug use. Why not quote bin Laden to show why wanton destruction of civilian targets is a wholesome, worthwhile endeavour?

Why "She"
by Name WithHeld on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 22:33 UTC

I see this disturbing trend in lots of computer science books and somem websites now. Every user is a "she". Why not, "he/she" or better yet, "the user".

Have we all become so politically correct, so brow beaten by the feminists, that we now have to learn to write and speak in a new way? "The user" by the way, would have been my preference.

Yes, computer science is a male dominated field, but not so much so. I see plenty of women in computer science, and personally -- with the market saturated the way it is now, I'd prefer to see no more men OR women being encouraged to enter it.

There are fields like nursing, flight attendents, secretarial that were once female dominated... Do you think people from those fields are going out of their way to write "he" "he" "he" in every printed text book?

The world is filled with morons, the author of this article is a defenite example.

Re: Why "She"
by Adam Scheinberg on Fri 23rd Aug 2002 23:31 UTC

Dear Mr. (or is it Ms.?!)Name WithHeld,

"Every user" is not a she. I have always spent my life thinking of the generic person as a he. As I wrote this, I was trying NOT to think of the "classic" Linux user, so I tried picturing my sister. That's why it's "she."

Your judgemental, sexist, ignorant, "politically-incorrent-because-I'm-sick-of-being-PC" attitude is weak and foolish. I feel sorry for you not only as a tech news reader, but as a person in general, that that is what upset you left with from this article.

LISTEN UP
by Danni Coy on Sat 24th Aug 2002 01:59 UTC

Firstly I teach older people how to use computers. Though Windows is more intuative and easier to use than Linux it still falls a long way short of being easy/intuative. I don't think it is the target Linux should be gunning for.... The problem is that most users don't remember how tricky it was to learn your first operating system (users tend to be much more forgiving with the first system they learn - I suspect that unlearning is about twice as hard as learning.)

Installing programs on windows Is one process that a lot of users baulk at even on windows. I don't think that emulating the windows method would be doing anybody any service.

I think that there neads to be a better installer for linux.

*It should be graphical.

* It needs to be able to handle source as easily as it does binaries (and warn the user that the install is going to take a while and that they can probably do something else while they are waiting).

* Installs should happen with one click and perhaps a password With an advanced button that lets you do things like choose different install directory... even compile flags.

* Allow the user to choose which libraries need to be installed on the system and which can be uninstalled when packages that depend on them are uninstalled. Hint these tend to be the libraries which the devel packages are not installedd for.

* Automatically search the web for dependencies in either binary or source form.

* Inform the user if other packages need to be upgraded in order to use package effectively. inform user of most recent version that will work without upgrading packages.

*set up private libraries for applications that would otherwise be broken by upgrading. add app to subdirectory of /usr/old create lib subdirectly move dependent libs to this directory replace binary with script that sets PATH and LD_LIBRARY_PATH variables then runs application. This option
uses more disk space and memory but keeps compatility going.

Any other ideas???

The reason why even smaller apps tend not to go in there own directories is...

With the current linux setup you can pretty much keep your system configuration in tact by backing up your /etc /home and /usr/local directories (for apps you install yourself). So even if you have a hard drive meltdown you can have your system back up and running as you had it within the hour.
Quicker than Imaging your system on to CD's... Don't forget to back up your databases as well.

Improve on the default standard Windows
by N L Nicholls on Sat 24th Aug 2002 02:02 UTC

I have been playing around with linux for the last 4 years and have seen many improvements but with the pace of change and the atitude of a large percentage of linux users and developers linux will always remain a bit player on the dest top.The best way to make things user friendly and productive is to take what works well and improve on it. At this point in time windows is the standard so copy and improve on it. If the geeks of this world continue to not understand the reality that the operating system is just part of a tool that must be usable by the vast majority of the population with minimal of training then Microsoft will always control the desk top. People are not coming to linux so linux must go to the people.

Re: A whole lot of talking
by Robert Hanlin on Sat 24th Aug 2002 03:18 UTC

> I thought it was pretty much accepted that duplicating
> functionality in EVERY SINGLE APP on a system was a BAD
> thing ...

Ok Rob, so we've both established that installing things on GNU/Linux is worse than on QDOS, Windows and OSX. I rest my point. Just please tell the Linux cheerleaders to stop, and the Linux businesses to quit selling. Because Linux only has excuses and RTFMs.

Ingratitude
by Rick on Sat 24th Aug 2002 03:48 UTC

Linux and open source software is by and large written by unpaid volunteers who generously share the results of their labor with the rest of us. If you do not like it or find it does not suit your needs, you are not forced to use it.

Buy proprietary software if you do not like open source software. Only you can decide whether it is better for you to buy software with money (which for most of us takes time earn), or with your time and effort.

To me, the effort to learn to use Linux and open source software is the price of freedom.

Furthermore regarding Robert, I have never been told to RTFM. My questions have always been politely answered. But, I always try to find the answers myself first, and I ask my questions politely amd make it a point to thank people for taking the time to answer my questions.

Re: Ingratitude
by Robert Hanlin on Sat 24th Aug 2002 04:29 UTC

Read my post again. I do not direct my criticism to volunteers, but to cheerleaders and companies.

I have always used a boxed, paid for Linux distro. And I've even completed contracts for "Linux companies." I don't say anything bad about Perl or other labors of love, tempting though it is. ;-) But Red Hat is a company, which wants my money.

Would you prefer if I criticized the author of this article instead, for useful observations? Apple zealots used to be terrible, but on OSNews, it's the Linux zealots who just make excuses and flood inboxes.

Rick
by rajan r on Sat 24th Aug 2002 07:09 UTC

The price of freedom doesn't pays of to most people. Most people don't care about having the source code, or free flow of information that Stallman dreams about.

Trust me, if you can convince them that they would be more productive on Linux (or any other OSS software) after an initial training period, they would move. A lot of my friends have moved to Mozilla from IE (Opera is not popular among them, I guess), because Mozilla gives them a lot of features that would help them while surfing.

Read the manual!
by ako on Sat 24th Aug 2002 07:50 UTC

>>If i want to drive a car, I have to take lessons and read a manual.
>I learned from my Dad. He told me what to do.
Somebody telling you or reading a book, it's the same: it not intuitive.

>>If i want to use change the message on the voicemail of my mobile, i have to read the manual.
>I fool with it until I figure it out.
Yes, but did you understand it the first time you saw it? If not then it's not intuitive.

>>If i want to use my microwave i have to read the manual
>I expect that it should make sense. I've never read a microwave manual, but somehow, my food is still cooked.
Did you really understand all the icons the first time you saw a microwave? (microwave, hotair, grill, defrost?) Do you know how to combine microwave + hotair when you want a pizza fast, So how long does it take? Half of the time compared to normal hotair? I don't know from looking at the microwave.


>>If i want to program my video recorder, i have to read the manual
>Not me. I fool with the remote until I get it.
The fool around does not equal intuitive. Do you think your mother can program the video by fooling around? If not then it's not intuitive.

>>If i want to use the alarm in the office i have to read the manual.
>My boss showed me how to use ours.
Somebody telling you equals reading the manual => it is not intuitive.

>>If i want to make music, i take lessons and read book, watch video's.
>I play with my guitar, piano, drums, and bass. I taught myself drums and piano and I picked up guitar in college.
So do you know about all the different modes and scales, just by looking at the piano?

>I can and actively do all of those things. I've never read a manual. Most of these things have succeeded because people have been able to figure them out. Not because there was a long instructional process.

Yes, i figured apt-get out by fiddling around, but that does not mean that it is intuitive.

Wow. Some people...
by Juln on Sat 24th Aug 2002 07:57 UTC

Are pretty dumb.

This isn't typical
by Ian Davey on Sat 24th Aug 2002 08:39 UTC

If you'd taken Mandrake, which is designed more as a desktop orientated operating system, then the experience in completely different.

I installed it for my younger brother recently and tried to take the GUI approach, instead of my normal one.

It was a case of download an rpm. Click on it and rpmdrake lauches automatically and takes you through a GUI that's simpler than any windows installer I've ever used. It installs the RPM for you, fetches any dependencies in the process, and adds it to the menu.

The only other step I had to do for one program, not packaged as a mandrake RPM, was to launch menudrake and add the program to the menu.

It was very quick and easy, and by far the easiest RPM installations I've ever done. The only improvement that could really be made is for the program to detect a program that doesn't have a menu entry and lauch the program to add it automatically.


I WANT NO INSTALLER AT ALL!
by transami on Sat 24th Aug 2002 09:01 UTC

I agree too, but let us not hold back. the bottom line is a matter of simplicity, which even the hardest hacker can appreciate. linux has made things hard on itself by holding on to a legacy file hiearchy. but no matter. joe user dosen't want to know a damn thing about it. so forget installers all together! give me a menu for "new software" under each of my typical menu categories. each one should have a tooltip explaining it. when i click on it, since the app isn't installed yet then the computer says: "hey! this isn't installed do you want me to install it?" i say yes and boom (after however long). its done and running. now the app appears among my typical menus. then go the extra mile and put a timer on each of these. if i haven't used in app in over a year then auto-uninstall it. don't even ask me. i can always reinstall it if need be with no harm done.

finally let me say until we get the above, i'll stick with debian.

over and out.
~transami

Mandrake RPMs
by Ramon Casha on Sat 24th Aug 2002 11:33 UTC

I realise that this article is written about a specific distribution, but it seems to me that so far, RedHat has been aimed more at server installations, while other distributions are more aimed at desktop systems. In fact recently RedHat issued some press releases to the effect that they are starting to address desktop systems with a new release of theirs.

I use Mandrake 8.2. When I need to install an RPM package I can use its graphical "Software manager" tool (rpmdrake). It works out all dependencies, warns me of conflicts, prompts me to insert any CDs it needs and/or downloads updated versions from the Mandrake site, etc. One can add new sources to this tool, such as FTP servers, HTTP servers, CDs, etc. I have never used Debian but this sounds a lot like apt-get. There is a command-line version of the same (urpmi).

There's nothing stopping RedHat from adopting a similar system, or even forking off Mandrake's software.

No-one mentions Synaptic which is a pity, Synaptic is a
great GUI to APT. Synaptic is available for Conectiva, RedHat and SuSE (other distro's I don't know).

With the tools provided by the apt4rpm project, it is
possible to create an APT repository from _every_ rpm
repository. There is not much involved to do this, once
set up it is run from a cron, that's all.

Check out these pages to obtain all information about APT for RPM:
http://apt4rpm.sourceforge.net
(visit especially the repository and related matrial pages)

http://linux01.gwdg.de/apt4rpm shows a howto to setup
apt if the distributor (in this case SuSE) does not deliver it.

Use dpkg&dselect
by LS on Sat 24th Aug 2002 13:04 UTC

If you do not want to spent your live by solving dependencies. With DEBIAN & dselect (dpkg), the instalation of software is simple and COOL. All dependencies solved in a few seconds. I simply do not understand why people (from red hat) do use that rubish rpm system where you have to find dependencies
manually (I had RH for few month couple of years ago and it was really strugle with looking for dependencies on file xy, which I did not have any idea what it was). I have not seen better software installation management than dselect/dpkg.

Why I don't like windows
by Darren on Sat 24th Aug 2002 14:38 UTC

To know how to fix a problem, obviously you must first properly identify your problem. I believe that most people using Windows at home are happy with how well it works.

So, is Joe Desktopuser even looking for something else? If so, why? Maybe it's because M$ pisses people off. Not so much because of how well Windows works. I think people are having problems with the liberties that M$ takes. For example, changing their homepage to MSN after an IE upgrade. That's just one example.

So, do I want Linux to be more like Windows? In ways, yes. But, I think I'd use OSX as a better role model. OSX's ease of use and popularity proves that the underlying file heirarchy isn't a problem. Can you imagine what would happen if OSX was suddenly open sourced and ran on the PC? Jeeze Louise. It'd be on my desktop faster than you can say "Reformat".

So, for Linux to gain more market share on the home user's desktop, Adam's remarks make perfect sense. Emerge, apt and RPM's are OK. But, there needs to be something better. A standardized installation method supported by a comittee made up of a few people from different distributions. Now that there is a LSB, the distros wouldn't have to do anything different. They could continue using RPM's for those who like them. You could even build from source if you choose. The new standard could just be built on the assumption that you will be installing the application on an LSB compliant distro.

Finally, for those who think that apt is good enough for end users, you are just wrong. For example, I had to teach my dad how to find programs (like hardware drivers), how to save it in a directory and, how to use Windows Explorer to navigate to that directory just so he could double click it. That's typical.

100%!
by sgipan on Sat 24th Aug 2002 14:39 UTC


100% on target! I am an irrational enthusiast when it comes to Linux. I manage practically all Windows-version at an advanced level, so I suppose you can say I am not a computer-inept. But I LOVE Linux and would love to use it for all my work. But it is EXACTLY what you say that keeps me from doing it.
Just look at this: I installed a SuSE 7.1 (and later 8.0) totally Standard-out-of-the-box (even with developer-packages, since I heard that you need them to install a program - which doesn't make sense, either). However, when trying to install a simple little program ("kshowmail", from source) it just didn't. Libraries missing etc. pp. And when trying to install the missing library I run into the next problem and so on and so forth. That shouldn't be that way.
And I could go on giving you examples for at least 10 pages. And if it keeps me, with my enthusiasm and certain knowledge, from using Linux, there are millions who would like to try or use it but don't.
And I very much liked your proposal with the install file, a clean uninstall-option (it took me a week to get to know "make uninstall"), a clear definition where to install what type of software (until today I have not found out but I remember an article of Mosfet adressing this problem) etc.
Kpackage is fine and dandy but what if SuSE decides to compile kpackage without rpm-support (as has happened in one KDE-Version)? What if I want to update KDE itself (so I'd add that at least for those basic packages there should be a text-based installer-version too - or KDE updateable from within and the changes taking effect on the next login)?
Keep up the good work! If I can be of any help (not being a programmer but a multimedia-conceptionist), I'll be more than glad to provide it.
- Stephan

Re: Rajan
by Rick on Sat 24th Aug 2002 15:13 UTC

The price of freedom doesn't pays of to most people. Most people don't care about having the source code, or free flow of information that Stallman dreams about.
-----

I was only speaking for my self. I choose to use Linux for my reasons. I also accept that having made that decision, some effort is required on my part to make it work.

To me (once again I am only speaking for myself) the small amount of effort it takes to learn to use Linux is well worth it for many reasons:

1. I will not support a monopoly with my money, especially one whose behavior has been as bad as Microsofts'.

2. information technology has become an essential part of participating in modern society. The Internet allows everyone to have a voice in a way that corporate controlled media never will. For this reason, I add my support to the community by using their products.

3. I like the openess and flexibility of Linux; everything is open and I can control/learn about any aspect of it I wish to.

4. It is _MY_ computer. I will decide what software runs on it and who has access to it _NOT_ Microsoft or some other corporation (see their new EULA). Furthermore, I will decide when/if I upgrade and what hardware I will purchase to run it on (if it was affordable, I would run a none PC based system).

5. The resulting system, while may be somewhat difficult to set up, is powerful , flexible, stable and secure.

RE: ingratitude
by Rick on Sat 24th Aug 2002 15:29 UTC

I have always used a boxed, paid for Linux distro. And I've even completed contracts for "Linux companies." I don't say anything bad about Perl or other labors of love, tempting though it is. ;-) But Red Hat is a company, which wants my money.

Since you purchased a product from a company you have a right to expect to work as the manufacturer says it will. If it does not then you should rightfully expect the company to correct the problem.

But as you stated, Red Hat wants your money. Therefore they are motivated to keep you happy and I am sure would want input from their customers on how they can do a better job.


Would you prefer if I criticized the author of this article instead, for useful observations? Apple zealots used to be terrible, but on OSNews, it's the Linux zealots who just make excuses and flood inboxes.


The only part of my comment that was directed at your post (not at you) was my comments about RTFM. And I was only relating my experiences. I have always asked for help in a respectful manner and have found people to be very helpful.

I also realize that people are taking their time to help me with no expectation of receiving anything in return and do not having any obligation to help me. Therefore I am grateful for any help that I receive and let people know that. How you approach getting community help is completely up to you.

As far as criticizing people, I would prefer you that you criticized no one. But, I respect your right to free speech whether I agree with you or not.

A couple of comments on the article
by Sean Russell on Sat 24th Aug 2002 15:35 UTC

In general, I agree with the sentiments expressed by Adam. I do have a couple of comments.

1) "Is it really that common that we tell someone to "Read the F*cking Manual!" that we need to abbreviate it?"
Actually, yes. It is the /most/ common, appropriate response to a vast number of questions. There are a lot of really stupid users. Even the non-stupid ones don't read the manual before trying to install; the non-stupid ones at least read the manual after they encounter problems, whereas the stupid ones immediately go looking for someone to hold their hand. Even if you put, on the download page, in BIG LETTERS: "You must do XXX to install this software, or it will do YYY", I guarantee you that some idiot will email you saying "Your software is stupid. I tried to install it, and it did YYY". "RTFM", IMO, is an appropriate response.

2) Curiously, I was in another state when my wife, who has Mandrake running on her laptop, needed to install Yahoo Instant Messenger. She found the RPM, downloaded it to the desktop, double clicked on it, entered the root password when prompted, and it installed. I was fscking impressed, when I found out later. My wife is /not/ a "computer person". That said, she was extremely lucky. I'd guess that 3 in 10 RPMS will install without some dependancy conflicts; that is because RPM is fundamentally stupid, and should be taken out and shot. urpmi, and others, doesn't help much; they tend to be difficult to set up, and terribly inefficient.

3) The most impressive package management system I've yet seen is Gentoo's, which has powerful dependancy resolution capabilities. It builds everything from source, which means that there are never any library incompatibilities. I haven't yet run Gentoo on a desktop, so I don't know if there's a GUI for the installer -- but one of these days, when I get tired of not being able to upgrade Mandrake because of that wasted space of a package management sysetm, RPM, I'll replace it with Gentoo and write a front end if there isn't. The downside to Gentoo is that you must have a working GCC on your system, which isn't practical for a lot of computers.

Oh, come on...
by Bruce on Sat 24th Aug 2002 15:49 UTC

While I agree, in principle, that Linux should be easier for newbies to use, I strongly feel that should not come at the cost of flexibility for the Linux community as a whole. That's the job of the various distributions. Red Hat for newbies, Slackware for experts, Suse for those in the middle.

Or mandrake for everyone ;)

The point is, Linux provides a base for distributions to build on, it is up to the user to choose the one right for his needs.

-Bruce

No home user gets Linux on their computer without intentionally putting it there, so she must have had some inkling that this was a geek oriented OS. It is unlikely that she bought a computer with Linux pre-installed because stores selling such things are as hard to find as a dodo. Corporate users don't need to install their own software. That's what sysadmins are for. Linux came into being because some people were dissatisfied with the available commercial OS's. The important thing is that users should have choice in the marketplace. The geeks who want a hackable system should have the choice to have Linux. Those who want an easy system to get their work done have Windows and Mac available. Linux shouldn't be forced on everyone, just as Windows shouldn't be forced on everyone. It is great that Linux is becoming easier to use and more accessable to the less technically oriented user, but that doesn't mean that it is appropriate for everyone. I don't think it is a shame that many people will find
Windows or Mac more appropriate to their needs. There are different communities of users with different needs. The most important thing is that each user be able to find a system that meets his or her particular needs, not that Linux or any other system has "world domination."

Friendly installing
by Blub Vis on Sat 24th Aug 2002 16:23 UTC

*Gosh*, so I have to start looking arround on the web to find a piece of software? Do I really have to download my software from some slow server?
Can't I just start a program that gives me a categorized list of installable programs, which I then can easily install?
Oh wait, I can, never mind :-)

Keep in mind the purpose of a tool
by don hardaway on Sat 24th Aug 2002 16:31 UTC

I think there were a lot of good comments made. The main point to keep in mind from my perspective is the purpose of any tool whether it is a pen, screwdriver, pliers or computer system. The purpose of a tool is to help the user to accomplish some task in the most effortless natural manner. The computer is a tool. It should be intuitive to use the computer as discussed in human interface books.

Rick
by Darren on Sat 24th Aug 2002 16:46 UTC

I think your list of 5 reasons to use Linux makes an excellent point. Reading back through them, you'll notice that none of them were based on how poorly Windows performs. The fact is that Windows, on the desktop, doesn't perform all that badly. Still, they are excellent reasons to switch OS's and they parallel my sentiments.

If you'll notice, your only reference to usability was to the effect of Linux being difficult to set up. So, why is it such a bad thing to emulate some of the things that Windows gets right?

security
by DDB on Sat 24th Aug 2002 16:54 UTC

Of course, if double-clicking a file is a security risk, because the package might contain maliscious code, this would not be worsened by the double click system propsed by the author of the article. Honestly, do you think you are ANY less vulnerable when you download *.rpm from a random web site, drop into root and install it? Of course not...If anything, a double click installer file would only make it slightly easier to hose your system, but a novice user could easily do the same in the shell. In either case, I have used most of the major distributions and, in my opinion, application installation will almost always be difficults in linux unless these distrubution undergo major architectural changes. The morrass of libraries, in particular, those associated with Gnome, are, in my opinion, way too modularized. This is clear enough if you've ever tried to install Gnome without a handholding installer like Ximian. While there are advantages to having libraries seperated into many small parts, e.g. you don't have to build a lot of redundant code into aplications, it makes installation a nightmare. Moreover, and this is very common in my experience, if you want to install a new package it is often the case that a different, crucial package relies on an older version of some library required by both, and there exists no updated version of the package. When this happens, you are stuck: use the new package and loose the other one, or vice-versa. This was the case for some time with GNUCash and Gnumeric, to name just one example.

Lastly, all of my linux wonderings have also taught me somthing else: if you need a powerful desktop environment with a real productivity suite yet demand a unix based system, you really only have one option at this point in time: OS X. Linux geeks who say linux is a powerful desktop probably don't use it in the way that most desktop users do: I need, for example, to be able to paste a graph from one program into another without hassles (try pasting a gnumeric graph into abiword, for example); I need HIGH quality font rendering when I type a document or surf the web (there are loads of sites you could spend DAYS reading only to get a marginal improvement in XFS's font rendering); I need to be able to configure the system without editing 13 configuration files and traversing the file sysyem looking for where the relevent configuration program is, e.g. Xconfigurator (granted, this is rapidly improving in the big distributions); lastly, and this concurs with the author, I don't need hundreds of superfluous applications, e.g. 34 ftp programs, 19 web browsers, 7 text editors, all competing for the same crowded application menu space (remember the joke that was Redhat KDE menus in 7.x?).

Yes, I can do all of this myself, but really, like most people, I can't be bothered...It's an utter waste of time for what is really a marginal desktop OS (meaning Suse or Redhat, Mandrake, etc.)

Re: Darren
by Rick on Sat 24th Aug 2002 17:57 UTC

If you'll notice, your only reference to usability was to the effect of Linux being difficult to set up. So, why is it such a bad thing to emulate some of the things that Windows gets right?

I am all for Linux being easier to use and more widely used, if only for selfish reasons; larger userbase, more potential developers _AND_ a larger voice in the Internet, Government and media.

I don't personally find Linux that difficult to use now, though it does take some effort on my part.

As far as emulating Windows installer, I think it would be great if there were widely available tools that would allow developers to package their software in a way that allowed easy installs. Both OpenOffice.org and Mozilla use very polished and easy to use installers. There is no reason that tools could not be developed to allow all software to be packaged in a similar way.

But as distros move to FHS and LSB, I think you will see something more like what Debian has. You go to a web site, or start some kind of package manager and you are presented with a categorized list of all available software. You pick out what you want, and the software installs itself and resolves all dependicies regardless of what distro you are using.

Another thing I don't think people take into account about Linux and Open Source in general is that it is like watching a play, or a painting from the very beginning. You see all of the mistakes, false starts, and occasional arguments (OK, not so occasional) of its' passionate creators.

With commercial software, all of this takes place behind closed doors and only the final, finished product is shown to the public.

I firmly believe that Linux and open source in general will rapidly over take commercial software. The free sharing of knowledge that is so important to open source is the very reason that science has been able to make such remarkable progress.

1) I agree that it should be an option (and probably the default option) for users to install applications strictly for themselves. )Might be nice if they registered themselves (via a standard command - into an ASCII database - not a binary registry!) into a system file, so that the system admin could see that 12 people have installed the newest P2P app, and decide whether or not to install system-wide, or block the ports it uses. However, not all linux users *have* root access on the machines they use. I'm sitting at a public library with 26 machines for general public use, and another 25 or so for staff use. All of these run linux, and we have some 4000 accounts on this system (don't bother trying to hack us - the only thing of interest in all of this mess is most likely 50 copies of the latest Britney Spears MP3). We have several users who have found things like TuxRacer, Maelstrom, GNapster, and other apps they're interested in, but they can't get them to install into their space. You think make install is bad? Try make install --prefix=/home/luser/. I can install from RPMs, I've even built from tarball a few times - I ran into this trying to install Mutella, and I *still* can't talk Mutella into finding the readline library that is already on this machine, *OR* the newest version, that I *did* follow the make install --prefix instructions for userland installation.

2) App developers - PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!!! Quit using the latest bleeding edge libraries straight from the Gnome/KDE/MPlayer/whatever CVS repository! Is two major distro revisions of backwards compatability too much to ask? This same library has most of the machines running RedHat 6.x - Why is it getting almost impossible to find RPMs built for RH 6.x as it came out of the box? Even YMessenger, even though it has RH 6.2 RPMs, wants other libraries updated. And we don't even actually have RH 8.0 out yet!

Deflection
by jk on Sat 24th Aug 2002 19:06 UTC

After reading the article, and all attached comments, I have to wonder why so many people insist on ignoring some of the solutions put forth. It just sounds like people like to talk, rather than listen - deflecting the conversation into unnecessary rat holes.

First, the basic premise that an unskilled, newbie user should be installing random software is silly. The idea was that a neophyte user would download a random piece of software to their system, then try to double-click to install. No. The newbie user ought to be installing software from a managed repository, such as the Debian stable distribution. Someone dismissed this idea (working from a managed software repo) out of hand, thereby dismissing an entire solution to the "problem". The debian distribution, with its online repository and the dpkg/apt/dselect/+++ system simply does not have the dependency hell problem. End of story.

Second, it seems many people in this long thread simply ignore the fact that there are graphical installers available for managed linux distributions, that these installers do quite well at categorizing the software in ways that everyday users can understand (well, that's really an underlying feature of the packaging system), that these installers show what software is already installed, or what's available, and that the software install / removal process works flawlessly.

Yes, users could type apt-get install <package>, but they needn't. When Joe or Sally User wants to install software, why not run dselect (okay, I suppose) or the graphical frontend mentioned in this thread?

I think part of the problem with this entire discussion is that nobody has highlighted the notion that leading linux distributions, such as Debian, are leading the way toward a new model of software distribution. It's no longer "safe" to install random pieces of software on your system. You *should* be getting your software from an authentic, verifiable source - rather than from some random location on the internet.

If some linux developer wants to release software, he should be packaging it for distribution via one of the main channels, where the dependency issues are resolved. In the case of a Debian system, an independent SW developer can setup a repository of their own software (their "distribution channel"), which can then be merged via apt.sources with all the other software out there. This approach is already in practice.

Users should be going to known, trustworthy palces for their software - for their own protection, if for no other reason.

Sorry for the rant! Guess I just had to add my 2-cents to the discussion.

lots of systems seem to have it partially right
by Chris on Sat 24th Aug 2002 21:20 UTC

Great job on this article - I think you have it just about right. My thoughts on new user software installation are similar to yours in many respects, but to further increase the ease of installation and administration of software, you want to have a single repository of applications that going through some formal method to ensure/certify that they do in fact work with a distribution and install to a common location.

I think that FreeBSD, Gentoo linux, etc... have the best example of this so far, but in a too technical fashion for the newbie user - ports. Ports provides the single point of installation, using the same or similar commands to install software each time, installs to a default location that may be easily recognised by new and experienced administrators and can be monitored to ensure that each piece of software does as it claims (reduces the fear of new users installing software that they dont know - new windows converts always ask "but what if it has viruses? how do you know its going to work"). The question is how to take that great first step and create a user interface that people find easy enough to make the defacto method of installing.

Barriers...
by Gooba on Sat 24th Aug 2002 22:42 UTC

I'm trying to get my household switched to Linux. It would be so much easier for me to administer, personally, because of the lack of Windows "magic". I can't reboot Linux and have things magically work that didn't before, or reboot and have things stop working unless I did something specifically related to the boot sequence or the program that fails.

In any case, the only person in my household who is on Linux full time is my little sister. She does her email, web, etc. and has no problem with it. It works better and more reliably than Windows, it hasn't just decided to quit reading DVD movies as was her previous OS experience and it burns CD's just fine.

The rest of us are players of EQ and until WineX gets EQ support, I think we're pinned into Windows. It's a nasty habit and I keep meaning to break it. Further, my brother is into Multimedia Fusion, Games Factory, etc. put out by Clickteam ( http://www.clickteam.com ). There are no such tools in Linux and he's afraid to even dual boot so he can learn Linux, despite knowing all of the benefits and wanting to switch. He's seen how when I was dual booting, Linux would eat the Windows partition and Windows would kill the bootloader and in the end I wound up with a system that won't boot from a boot disk and will only run one operating system at a time, despite all of the configuration hacks in the world.

Installation hasn't been a problem at all for me or my sister. The problems we've had are in being able to do what we want to do (i.e. Games Factory, EQ). All other factors aside, these two pieces of software keep almost my entire household tied to Windows.

Mandrakes rpm files rock
by Anonymous on Sat 24th Aug 2002 22:59 UTC

I can't belive you people really prefer the windows way of installing software?

When I want a program I look in the software manager which appears in both my kde and gnome desktops. I search for what I'm looking for and I click install or uninstall if that is what I want and it works. If I download something then I download a mandrake rpm and i click on it a thing comes up telling me what it is and I click install and then try the program which appears in my menu. If I don't like it then I click on software manager and remove it. I don't know where it is installed and I don't care. I don't even know how it gets in the menu.

I also download tgz files and type uncompress them by you guessed it clicking on them and then I bring up the terminal emulator and type 'su (enter my password)''./configure && make && make install' and if it works I pat myself on the back and if it doesn't I don't care but what frustrates me is that I have no easy way to remove it if its rubish so I love rpm.

Rpm never presents a problem. On windows which I use for games and notation software loads of things don't work when I install them and especially games. I often have to download patches and reinstall and all sort of other rubbish and then when I install something else I find it broke my software I already have and even windows itself and I almost pray for the day when I can have the notation software I need for linux and forget those windows wizard for good. I have a mac (os9) aswell and that gives me no good way to remove rubbish. But rpm does without the command prompt.

The easiest solution for all distribution is simple to use "make". This provides

make install pkgname.[deb|tgz|rpm]

This is essentially what all BSD systems do ... they provide a top level make system that keeps binary packages and source packages in order will work as a build and installation system and package/installation manager. It's what Debian apt and Gentoo "emerge" are

Once that's in place a simple web based front end to it all (for both local and remote pacakges) is the UI to tie it all together. Something like CUPS web based management interface but prettier (most XP applications and even directory browsing look more and more like web applcations). Browsing to localhost:124234 {port number for the package management service] would present the UI. Browsing to another machine on the netowrk https://someotherhost:124234/ you could package manage it too (with sufficient rights).

I dare say mine is the best idea presented here so I hope people will comment on it.

Who you talking to?
by Ed Craig on Sun 25th Aug 2002 00:45 UTC

If you're not contributing to whatever open source project you're having problems with, nobody's going to notice your problems.

RPM vs APT
by Roni M. Oliva on Sun 25th Aug 2002 02:07 UTC

I suppose that it is something that many of us are wishing for .. simple installation/removal of the same. In the same breath don't take my CLI away as it is one of the most powerful features and the reason I stay with Linux. yes .. I am not a nerd but I feel really comfortable using the command line.

Don't get me wrong, but I also resort to GUI for many other things and feel just as comfortable there as in the CLI.

The bottom line is that I do agree with the need to find a better way for the ordinary citizen out there to like Linux and still have the CLI for those who want it.

Your article is interesting to say the least.

Use MDK rpmdrake
by dud on Sun 25th Aug 2002 02:17 UTC

Using MDK rpmdrake and installing everything is as easy as in
microsoft. Though through this way we cannot get the latest
version of the software by using tarball. But considering the
easy way to install the software just by click and run, I think it can be tolorated.

Don't ignore what already works!
by tommy higbee on Sun 25th Aug 2002 03:01 UTC

I think you'd get a LOT further solving installation problems if you paid attention to the parts that have already been solved well.

Frankly, installing new software in Debian Linux is already much easier, simpler, and far superior to the elaborate GUI system you would like to do from scratch.

I know people tend to ignore this type of comment because they presume you're just a die-hard Debian fanatic, but there's a reason why so many people are Debian fanatics, and it's NOT just to be "more elite than thou."

Once you find the software to install in Debian, it's a very simple matter to install it:
"apt-get install package-name"

No mucking around with dependencies. Debian put all the dependency information into the package when it was built, and the APT software installs any necessary software to satisfy dependencies. Why step a user through a wizard to accomplish something when the packaging system already has all the pieces of information it needs to fix the problem?

Now of course this isn't perfect, but the bulk of the problem you point out has already been solved. Debian's system installs the software, searches and installs any programs the software depends on, and adds the software to the GUI system menu. Without asking the user to figure out dependencies or hunt them down himself.

So can we just pack up and go home? Of course not. Here are (most of) the drawbacks to Debian's approach.

1) As someone mentioned, you have to know the name of the package you're looking for. This is the only real problem with installing or uninstalling Debian software. Yes, Debian really needs a simple comprehensive guide to finding the package you need for the task you're trying to do. However, do you really think this is just a problem for Debian? If it was, there wouldn't be such a thing as RPMfind.

2) This only works for Debian. If you use another distribution that isn't Debian-based, you can't expedt the Debian-based solution to work. (Though Connectiva's apt-rpm has potential)

3) This works for Debian only because Debian has strict policies about where and how software is installed. These policies make it possible for all Debian-managed software to work together.

4) Debian software is tested to see how well it works with other Debian software before it is officially released. This is necessary because policies can't catch everything, but this is the primary reason why Debian releases tend to be behind. Of course, this doesn't bother the Debian people because they've learned how to add sources from the development version of Debian and install any new software from there if they really want the new version now.

In spite of the drawbacks, Debian is a lot closer to simple package management than any other system out there. The reason is simple. Package managment is very hard, not easy. The only way to make it easy on the end-user is for the developers to do the hard work for them.

As for the objection that Debian doesn't let you put the software where you want: Why should it? Does the average user really feel better knowing that Mozilla is installed in /Software/Internet/Browser/Mozilla instead of the default? What they care about is being able to find it on the menu/desktop when they want to run it. Would the average user want to have to remember where they put software so they could go delete it, or would they rather just find it in the package manager software and tell it to go away?


Oh, and one more thing!
by tommy higbee on Sun 25th Aug 2002 03:20 UTC

Just have to comment on this:

>Your judgemental, sexist, ignorant,
>"politically-incorrent-because-I'm-sick-of-being-PC" attitude
>is weak and foolish. I feel sorry for you not only as a tech
>news reader, but as a person in general, that that is what
>upset you left with from this article.

Seems like the pot calling the kettle black, or the "judgemental calling the judgemental judgemental".

I wasn't the person complaining about the "she" "s/he" usage, but I understand his point. I get absolutely sick of so-called "non-sexist" language. When you don't know or don't care about the gender of a hypothetical person, proper English is to use the generic masculine "he", "his", "him". The reader knows full well that "he" implies "she" as well. It's part of the English language.

On the other hand, flipping between "he" and "she" to try to be non-sexist, or just using "she" so you can't be accused of being non-sexist, constitutes a drag on communication. When I start reading some How-to or commentary and start encountering "she", I always think I missed something, because I see "she" as if the sex of the person has been identified. Then I realize it's just someone who thinks this constitutes "non-sexist" language. Bad idea. If you want to establish yourself as non-sexist, make a little speech about being non-sexist and get back to communicating to the reader.

Of course, the "gratuitous she" is not nearly so bad an idea as those who use "he" in one place and "she" in another. It sounds like the writer is taling about two different people!

Am I being sexist to say "non-sexist" language is pointless and confusing? Hardly!

Am I "judgemental" to say that I find the whole practice to be gratingly bad English? I'll accept the word in that narrow context.

Is this attitude ignorant? Not nearly as ignorant as the presumption that the attitude must be ignorant. That presumes that only ignorant people don't believe in the virtue of "non-sexist" language.

80/20 rule: 80% of the people don't ...
by Kevin Cullis on Sun 25th Aug 2002 04:05 UTC

want to untar anything, but want to do exactly what you've described. I'm been using Linux for 3 years now (former Mac/Windows user), and there are STILL problems with "normal" operations that MS and the new Mac OS X have that Linux devotees could learn something from. Linux people, if you don't change with improvements, then there will be NO more world domination in the future. Each tool has it's purpose, but tools do improve and other tools are created. Linux needs to mprove to reach the masses or die a slow death!

hardware support and more
by Troels on Sun 25th Aug 2002 04:25 UTC

Someone complained about hardware support in linux. While i can understand the complaints, this is one thing that can't be changed easily. The reason some hardware is unsupported is not because noone wants to add support for it, it is because the hardware vendors keep their specifications to themselves and don't provide drivers themselves. If you don't want to care about hardware support when you buy hardware, well, fine, but you probably wont have much success running linux them.

-----

For those people complaining that software is too hard to install, well, i can see how it can be a problem for you, but i dont think you should expect any general solution anytime soon. I doubt many of the developers see this as a too big problem, and those who do probably see it as hard and boring to solve. Thus not being said that i don't care about the problem, i do. But i basically like the current way things works. You most likely need a package for your exact version of your distro because of binary compatibility issues anyway, so dependencies shouldnt be THAT big of a problem, at least it hasn't been for me. In the future when things stabilize and binary compatibility wont be as big an issue then this could change, but if that is the case then dependencies shouldnt be a big problem either as you could just use a generic package found from a generic library repository.

In short: I dont think the solution is to create pretty wizards, and the like, but to fix the binary compatibility issues, and adhere to a strict file hierachy standard that would allow creation of packages that will work throughout all distributions on a given platform. Then automatic dependancy resolving shouldnt be a problem, no matter what you are using, but as long as binary compatibility is broken every 6 months, this aint gonna happen, install shield like wizards or not.

You could of course statically link all programs, im sure the ram makers would be very happy ;)

Installing
by Jay on Sun 25th Aug 2002 04:35 UTC

Well, if the developers find trying to find an easy way for the average user to install Linux software hard and boring, they can kiss Linux on the desktop goodbye.

To tommy higbee - language is not static, it evolves. When evolving, difficulties arise. There are no set answers, but it will evolve, no matter what.

Re: Installing
by Troels on Sun 25th Aug 2002 04:50 UTC

I can't see why installing software got much to do with linux on the desktop. Maybe for advanced users, but i dont believe my mom have a clue on how to install software even in windows, yet she gets her work done. In fact i think her using linux would be a good idea as the chance of her screwing something up by accident is much much smaller.

So while installing software might be a big issue for advanced users who like to tinker with their system and try all kinds of stuff, i hardly think it is an issue for most low tech users that i know, in fact i think there is WAY more software on the 3 mandrake install cds than they will ever need. Hell, there is enough for me if you dont count the fact that im running the development version of kde.

Buy a MAC, it Just Works!!
by Chad Stewart on Sun 25th Aug 2002 11:09 UTC

I've used used Windows 3.1/3.11/95/98/NT/2KPro, OpenVMS, SunOS, Solaris, Linux, and now Mac OS X. My point being that I'm not your average user, IRL I architect large scale e-mail systems (1M users or better).

For years I struggled with Windows on the desktop. I am a big mobile user and wanted one thing, the ability to put it to sleep and have it consistently wake up, ready to go. I never got that to happen with Windows. This past April I went out and purchased a new laptop. I did not even try Windows XP on the machine, I formatted the drive and installed Linux. I struggled with the machine until about 21 days ago, when I purchased a Powerbook from Apple.

The beauty of OS X from Apple is that it Just Works, is based on Unix (FreeBSD), and there are lots of commerical applications for it. I get a wonder GUI, the stability of Unix, and that thing I wanted, it works, everytime. From opening the cover to working where I last left it takes seconds.

MAC OS X.2, code name Jaguar, promises to be even better.

I think we can talk about how to improve Linux without all the drama. People who say linux is marginal or trash just because it doesn't currently meet their needs are just as bad as the cheerleaders who say it's ready for everyone.

In an ideal world, the computer would just do what you want without you even asking. Linux is not there yet, but Windows isn't either, and as a developer I can tell you that it's not possible. Also, please remember that at one point you had to learn Windows, either by reading a book (Windows documentation isn't helpful either) or trying things out. If you're willing to do the same with Linux, it will be more than worth your time.

Red Hat
by Robert Hanlin on Sun 25th Aug 2002 16:06 UTC

The main problem is that Red Hat doesn't have much incentive to create a good desktop distro. They'd rather others (like Ximian and Lycoris) spend the R&D, and servers are their core competency anyway. I expect they'll be very user-friendly when the other efforts release their work.

I almost agree
by Timothy Wiseman on Sun 25th Aug 2002 19:53 UTC

I agree with almost everything that was said here! My one point of disagreement was that he recommended a registry like database for keeping track of the uninstall information. I think one of Linux's great strengths is that so much of it is accessible in text, rather than binary registry-like files.

We should have a central place of the uninstall information, but let it be preferrably in txt, but if not in txt in a format that can be dealt with on a low level from a command prompt or over a network easily.

I agree ... completely ...
by Atanas Georgiev on Sun 25th Aug 2002 20:36 UTC

To write desktop applications for linux still does not worth the efforts.

And one (and probably the most important) of the reasons was nicely stated in this article.

My point of view is that each particular OS is NOT stile of life but just a tool (I am not bying a fork that costs me 3 days to learn how to use it with each different kind of salad)

In my private net I have win2000, winXP, OsX and Linux machines, and gues wich OS helps me to generate my money.

I like linux I see the power, but the power itself is not enough. The cognitive load is the thing killing the users.

It's a matter of putting a little effort into it...
by Julle on Sun 25th Aug 2002 23:04 UTC


After reading the comments I get the feeling that most people don't want to put a little time into learning how their OS works.
Most of the distributions make it fairly simple for users to install and remove applications if you learn how to use the package tools for your distro (apt for Debian, pkgtool for Slackware, RPM form SuSE/RedHat/Mandrake etc.). Those tools are not perfect, but they mostly do a pretty good job, and if you want more you can always spend a little time learning how things actually work - like know your way around the directory structure, learn to use the command line (just a bit), learn how to find documentation online etc.
I don't understand why people are so affraid to learn a bit more aout how their computing environment works - it doesn't take much effort to learn the basics, and you'll gain a lot.

Julie
by Jay on Mon 26th Aug 2002 00:05 UTC

Julie, i agree with you all the way - all it takes is to sit down and really learn a few things. The problem is that the vast majority of average corporate/home users are really computer illiterate, in the true sense of the word - they have no clue about anything that is actually about the computer. They also have no patience or willingness to learn (some do, of course). So, for example, when it comes to installing software, if they do that at all, they are used to wizards doing it. If presented with a typical Linux style installation of an application, they would, "What? You have to be kidding - why should I learn that when Windows does it for me?". I fear that is one of the big obstacles that Linux has to get past in order to be successful on the desktop.

Couldn't agree more
by Ken Yee on Mon 26th Aug 2002 00:46 UTC

It has to be as simple as Windows' Add/Remove Programs. Ideally, it'd also include an autopdate...
And yes, I know about all the version interdependencies of libraries. Something has to be done about this as well, even if it as brain-dead as Windows XP's approach of duplicating libraries because disk is almost free now...

Linux! Now with even fewer features!
by Joe User on Mon 26th Aug 2002 03:57 UTC

I can't see why installing software got much to do with linux on the desktop. Maybe for advanced users, but i dont believe my mom have a clue on how to install software even in windows, yet she gets her work done. In fact i think her using linux would be a good idea as the chance of her screwing something up by accident is much much smaller.

Yipe! So if it's too much trouble to create a feature, just deny that it has any use! Install software? Why would you want to install software? Use what we give you! You're better off not having any control over your computer!

Jesus, and I thought Microsoft was arrogant.

Until you Linux guys start thinking of the user as a customer whose needs you are trying to meet, rather than a wild beast that needs to be restrained, you are never going to gain an appreciable share of the market. I don't care if the software is free; I don't care if the programmers are unpaid volunteers. You are competing against commercial products and that's how people are going to judge them.

Computer professionals are the second worst people to consider usability issues. (The absolute worst are nonprofessionals who fancy themselves expert users.) Making computers easy to use threatens their self-image as computer gods. Using Linux is like pounding nails with your fist. Sure, it's manly, but it's neither the best nor the most comfortable way to get the job done. Installing software is one of the most basic activities on a PC; it shouldn't be any more difficult than copying a file. That's how installation is done on the Mac, and that should be your model, not Windows' absurd Add/Remove Software control panel.

LindowsOS and Click-N-Run Solve all of this
by Jay on Mon 26th Aug 2002 07:10 UTC

I use LindowsOS.

Check out the over 1,500 products that you can install with just one click: http://lindows.com/warehouse

Check out how easy it is, adding products to your menu, desktop (if desired), auto run directory (if desired), even adjusting file associates.

http://lindows.com/tryclicknrun

Jay

#212 IMHO -- I Probably left something out.
by Ricky on Mon 26th Aug 2002 09:41 UTC

Well, It's taken me 5 hours to read through all of this. I'm probably the only person who has. But I must interject my opinion:

First off, for the guy who switched to Windows because you could not access your ISP's SMTP servers (no authentication support in Kmail)-- I'm almost crying. #1 I believe mozilla and netscape have this support, and #2 MOST IMPORTANTLY, linux can easily be used as an SMTP server. Chances are it already was for you. You just should have put either localhost or 127.0.0.1 when it asks for your SMTP server. Of course you should have checked this by at least doing #service sendmail status. You could also use qmail.

Second: The Filesystem is very important the way it is. nobody seemed to mention /boot or /var or /proc. I don't know everything about the filesystem, but there is method to the madness. It has had this similar structure since the original ATT unix. Also keep in mind that if you have a Gui between you and the filesystem, it really doesn't matter what it looks like.

Third: What happened to what this was supposed to be about? Wasn't the topic RPM vs Apt??? My answer: none. I've used RPM and tar ball mostly. I'm going to try running apt on my redhat system. I'm still learning, and things are still changing. Perhaps Redhat and Debian will create an RAPMT. However, I believe there are tools that give you the benefits of both worlds. I've heard of them, but nobody is going to read this anyways. I'll look for them and try to use them.

Fourth: RPM, Apt, and ./configure && make && make install are in their current form for many reasons. There are graphical tools which make them easier to use. It seems some people were responding to the article only and not reading other responses. I can't blame them; there were a lot of responses, but their complaints/suggestions were either said before or someone had a resolution.
Fourth.a.1beta == There is no "practical" Linux virus. RPM, Apt, and source help prevent this. Another thing: Changing these tools too much might hurt usability in the way that it will frustrate users who learned to use them in their current format and now they are different
Fourth and 1: I REALLY REALLY don't see how hard it is to do "rpm -ivh package.i386.rpm" or "apt get package" or "tar -xzvf package" then "./configure && make && make install". I'm not saying it's perfect or easy. It's just not rocket science or brain surgery. PRTM --- Please Read the Manual ;)

Fifth: I forgot. I just read 211 other opinions, I can't keep my thoughts straight.

Sixth: It is impossible to avoid arguments and tempers. That's just the way the world works. Try not to yell. That doesn't solve anything. I understand people's frustration. I've had dependancy problems and source compilation problems too. Try to explain your problem. Try not to be insulted so easily. They probably arent' trying to hurt your feelings. Also, try not to say anything on purpose that will hurt somebody's feelings. You don't have to sugarcoat. Tell the truth. BS'ing is even more insulting. Just don't say something just to hurt somebody's feelings.

Seven: Mistakes are inevitable. Don't give up if you are a new user. You have to make mistakes to learn. Tel this to people. Even in Windows, mac or the easiest Linux ever people will make mistakes. Tell them they will make mistakes and it's okay: it's part of learning.

Eight: Os's are not Life and Death choices. Nobody is going to die because they don't have a computer. Linux will not solve world hunger or stop Palestinians and Israelis from fighting. Well, maybe Linux could solve these problems. Some scientist using Linux could discover the answers to these problems, or the poor starving children might be able to afford education because linux is free and then they can find a way to feed their families. Maybe Israeli and Palestinian students will work on GPL projects together. I don't know. I don't have infinite knowledge. I can't tell they future, I make the future. Pretty good heh? (I'm not Canadian -- but nobody is reading this)

Nine: I need to go to bed. Sorry.

Ten: If there is a Linux using female between 18-35. I'm single. You probably guessed that already. I know, this is not appropriate, but who's going to read this? I could use a girl friend. I believe beautiful women come in all shapes and sizes. I won't push you around or disrespect you. I will listen to you or just let you cry on my shoulder if you feel like it. (if you were in Wakayama for 2002 WCBF, contact me --- we probably know each other already!!!) I have my faults. If we get married, we have to use Natural Family Planning. I'm a strict Catcholic and a Linux user so I like that complicated stuff. I'm also a little immature. I hate the idea of growing up. Now, you have to be a real woman, not a transvestite or a transexual. If you are, we can still be friends, I won't judge you or anything. I'm just not into that. Actually, if you are, I encourage you to be my friend. I could use a friend PERIOD. I may not be able to use linux and become a master programmer and explain to people why linux is the way it is, but a friend is real important. Sure this is off topic, but who stayed on topic??? Besides, who's going to read this?

I'm sorry. I hope this wasn't too long. For anybody who read this, thank you and my condolences.

I missed Summer Slam. I really only wanted to see the Shawn Michaels/HHH Match. Anyways, I know why Austin walked and I don't blame him anymore. This is total Bull$417. Brock Lesnar Beat the Rock. I'll bet Austin found out they wanted to push Lesnar so quickly and he could not agree to work with it. I don't blame you Stone Cold if you are out there. This is garbage.
But it's only TV. I just object to this because Lesnar has been in WWE for like 6 months. Foley put his life into pro-wrestling for like 13 years before he won the title. Foley had a lot more charisma and was more fun to watch. And there are tons of people who have spent years killing themselves and never won a title or never got on TV. Sure, Lesnar deserves the tile, but maybe a year from now. If anybody should have won the title it should have either been Flair, or Benoit, even Eddie Guerrero or RVD. Benoit is due. This just makes me understand why Austin walked. I'd rather see Shawn Michaels win it. It would have been better for Vince McMahon to win it now. this is ugly.
Please don't delete this post. Nobody else stayed on topic and hey, nobody's reading it anyways. Remember girls I'm single, use NFP, Linux, and I'm sensitive to your feelings. I will admit when I'm wrong. I will endeavor to never argue with you.
I can't believe all this about RPM being complicated or especially Apt. Love is complicated. Let me tell you. Why can't I just click on Love and it installs, and we get engaged and get married and have a honeymoon. What's with this dating stuff? And "I don't want to ruin our friendship?" Ouch, that's DLL hell (Don't like lusers). C'mon. I'd even settle for the Windows virus prone binary for love....wait a minute...NO...I am not that desperate. All I'm saying is Love is more complicated than RPM dependancy heck or Apt Guess or compiling from source. And I really really like avoiding virii both in Linux and Love. Once I find the right girl, there will be no need of an Unistall feature (I'm Catholic, so we get in trouble for uninstalling spouses -- and rightly so in my opinion: Tom Cruise should have his head examined to break up with Nicole Kidman. Sure Penelope Cruz is gorgeous, but she was supposed to be for me TOM!!! Tom RTFM of Catholocism. Penelope is probably Catholic so stay away from here. I hope your next movie is with Stone Cold Steve Austin.) Unfortunately, I met my dream girl, and the problem was I did not install, demo, or even read the cover. That's right never even kissed her. Haven't seen her for 2.5 years. There are a lot of inappropriate metaphors I'm purposely avoiding because I not only loved her, I respect her, so no further comments. I was just too shy, I guess. That's what happens when you don't RTFM. What manual was I supposed to read? Who knows. Point is, I got confused by the girlfriend install system. I guess it was the Mac system -- she did all her homework on an old mac laptop using Clarisworks. I've never installed mac software. See, RPM even with dependancy problems (just search google for the missing ones and install them--I've found quite a few searching Red Hat's site. Be sure to check out the errate section, I think it's rhn.redhat.com/errata when you need to update or check for updates). Anyways, you can always fix a computer. I can't fix my love life. Well, I'll just have to try Apt. BTW, if a user can't learn to use Apt or RPM, I'm suprised they even know what a computer is. I don't mean can't use, I mean can't learn to use. Nobody will know it right off the bat.
One last thing: Perhaps we can find a way that's better that windows for installing. By better I mean better security, ease of use, privacy, quickness, actually works, no library messes, and is EXTREMELY DIFFERENT.
I'm still single, but nobody's reading this anyway.

There is a lot of truth in what you say..
by Tony Addyman on Mon 26th Aug 2002 12:17 UTC

I am trying to migrate to Linux, which I prefer to Windows. However, installing applications is not easy. I have twice attempted to install KDE apps from source onto my Red Hat system, but it seems that I don't have the necessary information. The directory structure appears to be different. Furthermore, I am not a new computer user. I am a Computer Scientist with 37 years experience on a variety of systems. Installing a KDE app (say) packaged for RH (say) may be easy, but this is an NxN problem. Surely we can do better than we are doing at present.

Has anyone tried the Loki installer?
by Dominic Amann on Mon 26th Aug 2002 14:15 UTC

Loki software created a nice graphical installer. I have installed a couple of games, including the Unreal Tournament Linux version. Borland use it for the installation of Kylix. Very smooth.

You're all a bunch of ex-window lovers.
by Shawn Bakhtiar on Mon 26th Aug 2002 17:44 UTC

Not only does this article not do justice to the founding principles of a *nix OS, but you have completely missed the point of a good GUI. First of all X is the only GUI with its own network protocol, and although currently sys admins have no Idea on on what that means or how to use it, it will be of vast importance in the future. Second, the greatest power is at the command line, and RPM is more robust then any installer that I have ever seen, and I use to write Setup programs using InstallShield ( what a piece of crap). Users SHOULD NOT choose where applications go, the programmer should. Any ideas to the contrary are commpletely windows based ( window lover!). There is a very deliberate directory structure which programmers adhear to, or at least the good ones do.

There are probably 10 20 GUI to both RPM and APT that you can use. Don't make something out of nothing. I don't want users that just use computers, Every computer user should be able to configure his/her computer. Users MUST be knowladgeable of what it is they are using. I hate poeple who just want to get something done, without knowing how something works.

Duh?
by Alextreme on Mon 26th Aug 2002 18:24 UTC

Has this guy ever actually USED Debian? Gnome-apt? Deity? True, the UI's need some work, but i don't see why all those RPM users put up with their packaging. Freshmeat?! Why would you? Just fire up your fav deb-installer, select the app you want and it installs itself, handling all dependancies and asking any questions in english.
Imho, it's nonsence ranting about a new-and-improved packaging manner, only another competitor to divide the masses. Apt has it all! Don't put up with anything less!

Re: This is simple>
by Ben on Mon 26th Aug 2002 19:49 UTC

Usually you download a compressed file (.sit or .zip), double click on it to uncompress it. This creates a .dmg file which is a disk image (is that similar to an RPM file?). Once the disk image is mounted, usually all I have to do is drag the application into my applications directory. If it is a system update, all I have to do is double click on the installer app. Nothing more. For the home user or end-user, this kind of simplicity is key. I would suppose that if Apple can do it, the Linux community can too.
>>>>>>>
How is this easier than apt-get <app-name>?
>>>>>>>
I'm not sure that it is - again I have very little experience using Linux. I was just pointing out that under OSX all I have to do is click on the download link, double click on the resulting icon on my desktop and that's more or less it . Maybe apt-get <app-name> is just as easy. Maybe a wrapper could be written for it that will make it this easy. All I am saying is that - as a fairly non-technical end user - if I see a program I want to use, I just want to use it. I'm not against learning, but I also have a whole bunch of other things to do in my life and will give up on the computer fairly quickly if it demands too much of my time to get something done.

pointless article
by Divakar on Tue 27th Aug 2002 08:27 UTC

I totally agree with Spark's comments. Improvements to rpm technology are happening. KDE already includes KPackage tool that can do most of what can be achieved from the command line. There is usually a way to get the required dependencies sorted out. Standardisation of packaging is something that is evolving. Above all I disagree with the comment that the Linux community is unfriendly to the new user. My favourite is www.linuxnewbie.org but there are hundreds of other groups out there where an interested convert can get all the help he / she needs. I say this from personal experience - I started in earnest with Linux about 6 months ago and so far have managed to solve all such problems through books, the internet and above all helpful people on user groups / mailing lists.

Siding with the rebels...
by Debian user on Tue 27th Aug 2002 12:57 UTC

I totally agree that we do not need a new package format.

First of all .deb is working really fine right now. All we need is a deb based distribution that's super easy to install and will setup everything nice,tidy,hasslefree and usable from the start. Someone said something about .deb not scaling. That is we wont have every single app on earth covered. Well, we dont need to support Sewer Systems AudioPowerMagic MediaPlayer cause we got XMMS. If an app is not in the packagesystem chances are it sucks anyways and should not be used by newbees. We have to teach users about the paradigm shift. You dont download applications out of websites in .deb world. You get them by apt-get or your favourite apt front end.

A new format would just spread further confusion. Also Linux is not an OS its just a kernel. Debian,Mandrake,RedHat and the like are OS'es. Therefore we can't have a package format that will support all linux-based OS'es since they are really different OS'es. All we can strive for is cooperation between the vendors in the interest of the community at large.

Of course the situation is not optimal right now... I think the following should be taken care of:

Debian based distro that is übersimple to install. This should setup a nice gui with all the apps the user will probably need. It should also have some kind of 'assistant' that will teach the user about their new and shiny system. For example it should tell users about the different ways to install apps. It also has to give the user tips about how to install the most common commercial apps that cant be included in the .deb system. Like RealPlayer,LimeWire,eDonkey and Opera(.deb packet available).

We shouldn't try to make Linux Windows... Linux should be better than M$. Users should be taught about the basic paradigm shifts coming from Windows to Linux so that they can use their system and then they can continue learning from there.

Peace.