Ubuntu is under attack (longish)

Martijn van de Streek martijn at foodfight.org
Tue Dec 20 08:30:55 GMT 2005

On Mon, 19 Dec 2005, Tristan Wibberley wrote:

> > Ubuntu has shown that less is more.
> I'd say that Ubuntu has shown that targetted features and
> discoverability is more. Don't bombard people with stuff, but make it
> easy to find it, and give them a selection of features that they can use
> and find useful right away.

We see part of this on the Dutch mailinglist and channel a lot. People
don't expect things to be discoverable, so they ask VERY simple
questions. When you tell them how to find it, they're always surprised.
(CD burning, for example: "What's the CD burning program?"; "Just insert
a blank disk"; "But.."; "Just do it"; "Hey, that's easy!")

> Especially give them things they never thought was possible, like "I
> can make my own acrobat files just by pressing a button?!" which is a
> real example from trying Ubuntu on a "really" computer illiterate user
> who knew that he wanted acrobat files for sending an invoice because
> they looked professional. Most people never print to PDF because they
> didn't know it could be done on a home PC, and that is no argument for
> removing print to PDF functionality.

People won't figure it out themselves. They will need to see someone
else use it, or they need to be told in some other way.
> I *would* get rid things like gnome-top and cpu/network monitoring
> applets from the CD (I don't know if those are on there), I would also
> get rid of half the desktop preferences and just give them a couple of
> "profiles" in the system menu for accessibility themes vs standard.
> And put an "Advanced Desktop Configuration Menu" in the "Add
> Applications" list to make it easy to get the Preferences menu.

Everyone thinks he's advanced, so everyone will go and mess up any
'advanced settings'.
> Overall, I would summarise my feeling on this as "Novice users don't
> know what they want out of their computers, so *show* them what they can
> have instead of waiting 10 years for them to become advanced users."

I completely agree with that, but for that we need to teach the users
that things like help files exist and are useful. People just don't
expect things to work in a logical/intuitive way anymore, because that's
not how Windows works.

Never moon a werewolf.
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