Linked by David Adams on Mon 24th Aug 2009 09:21 UTC
Linux A reader asks: Why is Linux still not as user friendly as the two other main OSes with all the people developing for Linux? Is it because it is mainly developed by geeks? My initial feeling when reading this question was that it was kind of a throwaway, kind of a slam in disguise as a genuine question. But the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I felt. There truly are a large amount of resources being dedicated to the development of Linux and its operating system halo (DEs, drivers, apps, etc). Some of these resources are from large companies (IBM, Red Hat, Novell). Why isn't Linux more user-friendly? Is this an inherent limitation with open source software?
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RE: user-friendly
by kenji on Mon 24th Aug 2009 15:56 UTC in reply to "user-friendly"
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Thanks for saying that for me. 'User-friendliness' is not quantifiable because it is very, very subjective. There is absolutely no way to claim a piece of software as universally 'user-friendly' or not.

"Often, user-friendliness is conflated with beginner-friendliness, and this is a grave error."

Yes, but that is exactly what the initial question was pertaining to.

I use linux BECAUSE it is user-friendly to ME. I use Mandriva w/ GNOME and Fedora 11 w/ GNOME because it is user-friendly to ME. I would never claim that they are user-friendly to anyone else.

I would also like to add a philosophical point. The old saying, "Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and feed him for a lifetime." holds wieght for software too, in my opinion. Dumbing down user interfaces only helps new users and only for a finite time. Eventually even new users become proficient and holding them back with lame hand-holding doesn't make sense in the long term.

Make interfaces logical, consistent and efficient. That is the way towards user-friendliness in my opinion.

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