Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 23rd Aug 2008 15:37 UTC
Editorial Earlier this week, we ran a story on GoboLinux, and the distribution's effort to replace the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard with a more pleasant, human-readable, and logical design. A lot of people liked the idea of modernising/replacing the FHS, but just as many people were against doing so. Valid arguments were presented both ways, but in this article, I would like to focus on a common sentiment that came forward in that discussion: normal users shouldn't see the FHS, and advanced users are smart enough to figure out how the FHS works.
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RE: Basic edumacation.
by kaiwai on Sun 24th Aug 2008 20:36 UTC in reply to "Basic edumacation."
kaiwai
Member since:
2005-07-06

People are often smarter than designers (and CEOs of trendy computer/electronics companies) think.


I think you're giving end users more credit that they deserve. I've worked at a help desk, I'm currently a system administrator at my current place of employment and before that I worked selling and supporting computers as part of my own company - I can tell you that you have the optimism of youth.

The end user is a lemming, I've seen people who, after moving an icon slightly - they're completely clueless as what to do. I remember telling an end user to 'double click on internet explorer' and claimed it wasn't there - even though it was sitting on the desktop (do end users ever read what is on their screen or do they just randomly click stuff?). End users need to be educated from day one, but I go back to blaming a society which as embraced laziness and slovenly behaviour as the forte rather than people wanting to learn for the sake of learning. Then again, this is an entirely new topic altogether.

Back to the original article; MacOS X did it right; hide the traditional UNIX structure and have the applications end users run sitting in the Applications directory. There are alot of things I'd love to see the opensource world copy from Irix, Amiga and MacOS X. Copying doesn't mean you can't come up with good ideas - it is recognising that there is already a good idea and it makes little sense re-inventing the wheel for the sake of dogma.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Basic edumacation.
by Doc Pain on Sun 24th Aug 2008 21:01 in reply to "RE: Basic edumacation."
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

I think you're giving end users more credit that they deserve.


I don't want to look like a bad guy, so I'd like to state this first: I've worked with users that were very smart at the beginning, e. g. those who came from a mainframe background or were developers, but after using /insert monopoly OS family here/ for more and more years, they developed into persons that you did describe, maybe in a not very nice way, but those people make up the majority of the users, at least from my individual point of view. Why do I think so? Because I've seen them, I've served them, they trampled on my nerves. :-)

The end user is a lemming, I've seen people who, after moving an icon slightly - they're completely clueless as what to do. I remember telling an end user to 'double click on internet explorer' and claimed it wasn't there - even though it was sitting on the desktop (do end users ever read what is on their screen or do they just randomly click stuff?).


No, because /insert monopoly OS family here/ propagates that you don't need to know (or to read) anything in order to use a computer.

If you think you're unfair to the users in characterizing most of them, feel free to read this:

http://www.rinkworks.com/stupid/

Lots of things are really stupid, but what scares me most is that I saw the stupidest things already.

End users need to be educated from day one, but I go back to blaming a society which as embraced laziness and slovenly behaviour as the forte rather than people wanting to learn for the sake of learning. Then again, this is an entirely new topic altogether.


Hey, I wasted all my youth to read and to learn, should all this be useless now? :-)

Back to the original article; MacOS X did it right; hide the traditional UNIX structure and have the applications end users run sitting in the Applications directory.


PC-BSD provides something similar with its PBI package system.

There are alot of things I'd love to see the opensource world copy from Irix, Amiga and MacOS X.


You said Irix. :-) Well, that's a UNIX system I really enjoyed using. All the power, but still a system that could be used with just atomic knowledge of computers. Of course, reading what's on the screen and a bit of common sense are very useful everywhere.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Basic edumacation.
by kaiwai on Sun 24th Aug 2008 21:20 in reply to "RE[2]: Basic edumacation."
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

No, because /insert monopoly OS family here/ propagates that you don't need to know (or to read) anything in order to use a computer.

If you think you're unfair to the users in characterizing most of them, feel free to read this:

http://www.rinkworks.com/stupid/

Lots of things are really stupid, but what scares me most is that I saw the stupidest things already.


That is just the tip of the iceburg. Be more concerned that these people can have children and vote :o

Hey, I wasted all my youth to read and to learn, should all this be useless now? :-)


To quote Chris Rock: "I don't need to learn that sh-t! keeping it real!" - yeah, real dumb ;)

PC-BSD provides something similar with its PBI package system.


They key is to bring all these ideas together, no use having 100 operating systems, each implementing one good idea. I want one operating system that implements all the good ideas in one product ;)

You said Irix. :-) Well, that's a UNIX system I really enjoyed using. All the power, but still a system that could be used with just atomic knowledge of computers. Of course, reading what's on the screen and a bit of common sense are very useful everywhere.


IRIX had a wonderful desktop; it was designed for graphics boffins; arty-farty people who have no time to learn the intricate details. When ever I see the opensource community whole sale suck up and clone Windows - I can't help but scream to high heavens as to why they're copying half baked POS when there are better things to 'clone'.

Edited 2008-08-24 21:22 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Basic edumacation.
by tupp on Mon 25th Aug 2008 18:36 in reply to "RE: Basic edumacation."
tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

I agree that there are a lot of clueless computer users. However, I think that much of this clueless-ness stems from a helpless attitude, that has been conditioned by a decades-long prevalence of desktop interfaces designed around users with no mind.

In current ergonomic design circles, a lot of emphasis goes to designing interfaces that can be quickly comprehended by the uninitiated user (usually at the expense of power and speed). The usability phrase for this practice is "reducing the knowledge required in the head" of the user. My point is that, with just a little more prior "knowledge in the head," users will act much more resourcefully. They will learn to think for themselves and will actually look at the screen.

Most people are smart enough to understand a lot of what is typically considered too complex for the everyday user, and most will use their minds if they are encouraged to do so. Jef Raskin kept the Mac mouse from having more than one button, because he thought three buttons were too complicated for the typical person. Underestimating users seems to be a common mistake with usability "experts."

By the way, as I recall, MSDOS and Windows 3.1 employed user-friendly directory names, such as "programs," "data" and "system," etc.

Edited 2008-08-25 18:38 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Basic edumacation.
by fretinator on Mon 25th Aug 2008 19:00 in reply to "RE[2]: Basic edumacation."
fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

By the way, as I recall, MSDOS and Windows 3.1 employed user-friendly directory names, such as "programs," "data" and "system," etc.


Certainly, you do not recall correctly with MS-DOS, and I do not think you are recalling correctly for Win3.1. Those were the wild and wooly days where really only one directory mattered to Dos (c:\dos). Windows lived under c:\windows, where there were a few known sub-directories (e.g., c:\windows\system), but that is about it. Other directories were made up by users - for instance I usually created c:\games and c:\downloads directories. Most applications preferred to live in a folder off the root directory (e.g., c:\jazz).

The funny thing, is I had to revert to this bahviour in Vista. Many of my applications would not work if installed in c:\Program Files, so I had to install them in folders off of the root c:\ directory. Sure made a mess!

Reply Parent Score: 2