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: Our Church took the Plunge
by bm3719 on Mon 24th Aug 2009 19:15 UTC in reply to "Our Church took the Plunge"
bm3719
Member since:
2006-05-30

Our church took the plunge and switched to Linux. I had already switched from Internet Explorer, and had familiarized the staff with OpenOffice. Let's just say I keep getting reminded how one needs to refine the definition of "user friendly."


Sounds more like you decided for them.

Linux replaced XP Home. There was one Windows user, the administrator, and there was no login password. Multiple people used the machine and had done something to the OS, so it would no longer accept updates without blue screening. Our secretary had trouble with the concept of user name under Linux. She also had trouble for a few days logging in, as the password wouldn't work for her (it worked fine when I did it). She also had trouble understanding that the user password and the e-mail password were different things.

From a point and click perspective, I made the desktop similar to Windows, except the icons to launch programs were bigger in Linux. I even made sure there was a "My Documents" icon on the desktop. The concept of multiple desktops left the secretary nonplussed, but after some fiddling around, thought that four desktops was too many, but two might be useful (she got two).


Sounds more like you're treating the symptom instead of the real problem: dumb users. But then, this is a church we're talking about, so the people there are probably used to having their mental faculties permanently set to `off'.

Reply Parent Score: -1

raronson Member since:
2009-08-15

While your comments are a little pointed, it's hard to argue against them.

Linux needs to be more userfriendly how? The current GUI paradigm is 30+ years old, and some people will just never get it. Short of interfacing via voice activation which incorporates strong A.I., computing will just be one of those activities meant for smart or otherwise interested people.

A modern distro like Ubuntu would not be any more or less userfriendly than commercial offerings if they enjoyed the same OEM share.

Let's get something straight: most people are forced to user Windows, and a large portion of them don't even know the interface well enough to get around. Windows isn't necessarily userfriendly, it's just familiar due to marketshare, and it still takes a Windows geek to fix co-workers' and grandmas' computers. And these dolts are hailed as geniuses for the effort. Just goes to show what perceptions are worth coming from the average user.

Edited 2009-08-24 19:42 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

bm3719 Member since:
2006-05-30

Linux needs to be more userfriendly how? The current GUI paradigm is 30+ years old, and some people will just never get it. Short of interfacing via voice activation which incorporates strong A.I., computing will just be one of those activities meant for smart or otherwise interested people.


Indeed. And at the point where the computer will be doing all the thinking, why does it even need a user? Where's the value-added on the users' part, if his only contribution is to point and drool?

Let's get something straight: most people are forced to user Windows, and a large portion of them don't even know the interface well enough to get around. Windows isn't necessarily userfriendly, it's just familiar due to marketshare, and it still takes a Windows geek to fix co-workers' and grandmas' computers. And these dolts are hailed as geniuses for the effort. Just goes to show what perceptions are worth coming from the average user.


Like a lot of the other OS-nerds here currently do, I once would try to install what I felt was better software and OSes on the machines of everyone I knew. But, becoming the neighborhood help desk wasn't really my goal in life.

Some users don't know and don't want to know, and IMO, there's nothing wrong with that. That's why communication services are heading to gadget platforms like phones. I say that's good for them and us. They want the services, not a high-maintenance computing platform. For us, terminally-incompetent end users contribute nothing back to the FOSS OSes and, if anything, just end up making them more like OSX and Windows (and, if I thought those OSes were so great, I'd go use the real thing).

Reply Parent Score: 1

Peter Besenbruch Member since:
2006-03-13

Linux needs to be more userfriendly how? The current GUI paradigm is 30+ years old, and some people will just never get it. Short of interfacing via voice activation which incorporates strong A.I., computing will just be one of those activities meant for smart or otherwise interested people.


In my case, the issues had more to do with issues common to all OSes: Passwords, formatting, file formats. These aren't OS issues, though; they are issues with all computers.

A couple of other points: The competent Word user had no trouble working with OpenOffice Writer. She said there was a lot of overlap in concepts. The church secretary has no issue with a point and click interface. Point and click basically works.

The major usability issue I encountered involved security. XP-Home, when set up as a typical home use system with a single user, is easy to use. Any time you enforce user privileges, things get complicated.

Reply Parent Score: 1

fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

Sounds more like you're treating the symptom instead of the real problem: dumb users. But then, this is a church we're talking about, so the people there are probably used to having their mental faculties permanently set to `off'.


Wow - you insulted non-technical computer users, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. all in one shot. Any other groups you want to insult? You could probably take a shot at nationalities or income levels next.

Reply Parent Score: 4

bm3719 Member since:
2006-05-30

"Sounds more like you're treating the symptom instead of the real problem: dumb users. But then, this is a church we're talking about, so the people there are probably used to having their mental faculties permanently set to `off'.


Wow - you insulted non-technical computer users, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. all in one shot. Any other groups you want to insult? You could probably take a shot at nationalities or income levels next.
"

Chronically-incompetent computer users typically want their thinking done for them. People that voluntarily file into a church to receive a monologue about the nature of the universe without demanding anything resembling proof are doing the same thing.

At least choice of operating systems is something less likely to get people to kill each other over though.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

But then, this is a church we're talking about, so the people there are probably used to having their mental faculties permanently set to `off'.


By analyzing the contents of your posts I have come to the conclusion that you too are a member of a church.

Reply Parent Score: 2