Ubuntu Boot Up Logo

Eric Dunbar eric.dunbar at gmail.com
Thu Jun 23 03:13:30 UTC 2005

On 6/22/05, Eric S. Johansson <esj at harvee.org> wrote:
> Ante Karamatić wrote:
> > On Wed, 2005-06-22 at 15:48 -0400, Eric S. Johansson wrote:
> >>boot up messages.  All they care about is logging in and running a word
> >>processor or whenever because their job is not running computers.
> >>Computers are a tool just like a screwdriver, food processor, light
> >>bulb, or car.  You turn it on and go.
> >
> > Exactlly!! So, I don't get it, why change something they don't care
> > about? Let's change their office expirience. Leave the boot, it's one
> > boot in one day, who cares?

The problem with the boot screen is that:
(a) it gives info that THE MAJORITY of people don't NEED;
(b) the error messages are unnerving to users;
(c) too much information confuses.

> If you have one billion computer users each booting their machine once
> or twice a day, you are tweaking almost one billion users in a negative
> way.  Retraining one billion people is much more difficult than fixing
> some software for a few XX dozen cards/chipsets.

The issue is not *retraining* people to do things *my way*. This is
the attitude that characterised DOS and still characterises IT
departments. Mac users drive tech support nuts because they really do
tend to "think outside the box". They're used to being able to just do
things but their locked down corporate Windows boxes don't allow them
to do anything because "it wasn't planned for".

Software needs to work FOR people. People should not have to be slaves
to the software, and the lack of imagination of the developer.

It's time for hard core Linux users to recognise a few things:
(a) thinking outside of the box is GOOD;
(b) "educating" users is BAD because it says that it's "my way or the high way";
(c) for Linux and FLOSS to truly be OPEN barriers should not exist for
users (and, IMHO, part of the FLOSS philosophy should be to make
software ACCESSIBLE to users*);
(d) just because a particular distro is made to be accessible to users
does not mean ALL Linuxes will be user-friendly, or, even that an
accessible distro will not have a full-blown BSD core**.

*Software offers society an opportunity to share tools, much like we
share ideas. Unlike a house, which requires resources to build EACH
house (time, money and building blocks), software only requires a ONE
TIME investment of resources. Once created, it's like an idea in that
it can be disseminated at virtually no cost. This is an opportunity
for people to share, and open up tools to people who could otherwise
not afford them. There is no reason FLOSS cannot be made to be
accessible and usable by as many people as possible, and, ESPECIALLY
people who otherwise couldn't afford those tools. The struggling
university student who could never afford SAS or SigmaPlot is,
however, in a position to use 'r', mySQL and any number of other data
manipulation tools (provided a computer can be acquired).

**Mac OS X is a beautiful example of what can be done with a Unix-like
OS! It is an accessible, usable, and stable tool that offers users a
Unix-core with all its advantages and disadvantages.

> Giving me the answer of a "if they can't cope, screw them" is guaranteed
> to relegate Linux to an also-ran position.  Because when Apple comes up
> with their Intel version of MacOS X, both Windows and Linux popularity
> will sink like a rock.  The only way to survive that transition will be
> having something users, ordinary users like my dentist and his staff,
> can use easily and comfortably.

Whether or not Mac OS X or Windows succeed or fail is irrelevant. What
is MOST important is that people are empowered to control their
software, and use these tools. If FLOSS forces Mac OS X or Windows to
do so (and, much of Mac OS X is already FLOSS!!!) then, even if FLOSS
were to die, it would have won.

Plus, I'm not convinced Mac OS X will be a Windows killer. It will
certainly grab an additional few percentage points (perhaps they could
even double market share) but Windows is pretty solidly entrenched.
Likewise, Linux will make inroads as it improves but it too will not
be a Windows killer. Of course, who knows what'll happen in 10 years.
Ten years ago I'd already heard musings about Linux and it was (then)
being heralded as a Windows killer. Well, 10 years later and Linux is
still only barely being noticed. Seven years ago I saw my first
X-Windows Linux, and, now seven years later GNOME and KDE don't look
*that* much different.

I'd love to be able to see 10 years down the road, but, I guess if I
could then I'd be a trillionaire ;-).


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