Provide a GUI option in the installer to enable popcon

Martin Soto soto at
Thu Jun 25 11:40:25 UTC 2009

On Thu, 2009-06-25 at 00:19 +0200, Vincenzo Ciancia wrote:
> >From the appcenter wiki page:
> "If Linux has an Achilles heel, from the point of view of a Windows
> user, it's installing new software. Be prepared to enter a new world in
> which Windows Update is a model of simplicity by comparison, and in
> which you may feel as if you need a Ph.D. in physics merely to install
> new applications or updates.
> — Preston Gralla, “Living free with Linux: 2 weeks without Windows”,
> Computerworld"
> I am surprised: all the people I ever heard talking of ubuntu, including
> non-geeks, appreciate the simplicity of adding and removing
> applications. Perhaps that comment is a bit outdated even if, since the
> beginning of times, comparing synaptic with windows tools is a laughable
> joke, to say the least.

This is becoming off-topic for this thread, but it is an important point
in and by itself.

The comment is not so outdated. Gralla's article [1] is from January
2009 and applies to Ubuntu 8.04, at least according to the included
screenshots. If you read the article right after the text quoted above,
you will notice that his problem was rather that he tried to apply his
Windows-power-user knowledge to Ubuntu, with disastrous results.

Windows users are used to search the Internet for the desired
application, download an installer, run it, answer the questions and
reboot (of course!). We all know that Ubuntu has a much better way of
doing things, but Windows people simply do not expect things to be as
easy. This is Linux, you know, it most be hard!

By the way, this is not the first time I see this phenomenon. A coworker
of mine, who is a very competent computer scientist, put together a
Ubuntu media center for his living room. I had to invest lots of effort
into convincing him of looking for proper package repositories for the
software he needed (and, as it turned out, there were plenty of those!).
His usual method was to run a Google search, pick the first result, and
follow whatever instructions he would find there. Of course, he always
managed to mess things up in a matter of minutes.

Another good friend of mine, also an accomplished computer scientist,
would always tell me that he was reinstalling his RedHat server. At some
point, I started to wonder why his server needed so frequent
reinstallations. It turned out he was installing most of his software
from source code, and he was also indiscriminately overwriting
RedHat-installed system files by running make install without paying
attention to the preset destination directories.

I'm convinced that expert users are, by far, the hardest to migrate.
Efforts like AppCenter will definitely help in this area, but we should
think of making available a "Quick Migration Guide for Veteran Windows
Users" as well.


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