Going forward [Re: Automatix?]

Chanchao custom at freenet.de
Wed Mar 29 04:53:51 UTC 2006


Note that your post went to me only, not to the list. Feel free to
repost there, and I'll forward my reply back to the list too.

> > It could be extended to explain a LOT more
> > about HOW such things are done, perhaps letting users actually do the
> > tasks themselves. This will be rewarding because when they're done they
> > can listen to their music and watch their videos. :)  AND it's a very
> > educational experience because users learn a lot about  how computers
> > work (and how a proper secure multi user system works, and WHY it works
> > that way).

> I'll endeavour to keep this as polite as I possibly can.  So here's a
> rhetorical question for you: why on Earth do you think end-users
> should need to know how computers work, how multi-user systems work
> and how secure anythings work?

Sorry, I was not advocating to try to teach them 'everything', merely
the bare essentials they NEED to successfully use Ubuntu beyond just
opening up Firefox and OpenOffice.   I'm talking a 10 minute explanation
of where to get software ("Synaptic, not off the web yourself"), the
difference between personal preferences and system-wide settings and why
they need to enter their password (use sudo) to do those things.
Really the bare minimum.

Also we've seen that a big part of the problem is not even technical in
nature but legal, but it DOES require explaining. (The restricted
formats issue)

> Consider what's out there in the non-computer realm.  Cars, for
> example.  

Analogy police!!! :) 

> How many drivers know anything about cylinders, injectors,
> turbo/superchargers, crankshafts, alternators, etc.?  

Again, I'm not advocating to go that far. Merely getting them to a level
where they know what to do when the windscreen wiper water runs out. And
it will. :)

> I'd hazard a guess that 99%+ of drivers can at best only vaguely
> explain any of this.  This somehow doesn't stop them from using cars. 
> Hell, modern cars, with semi-automatic shifters, automated traction
> control, etc. are an order of magnitude more complex than the cars I
> grew up with -- and are, nonetheless, easier to drive, more capable in
> normal (and even most abnormal) driving circumstances and generally
> superior all around.

Sadly, I sumbit that Ubuntu is not at that level yet.  Not saying that
it isn't close, or very close, but it's at a level where a user still
needs to know how to check oil and tyre pressure and change a light

My post was about getting there, to exactly the ideal situation that you
describe. So far the solutions we've seen include Automatix, Ubuntuguide
instructions, and my interactive explanation & walk-through. 

> What about VCRs or other home entertainment devices?  Cameras (digital
> or otherwise)?  In all cases things got easier and required less
> end-user knowledge.

When you get beyond a point-and-click camera, you'll find yourself
reading manuals, especially when you're new to photography.  Ubuntu is
not point-and-click.  [Hear analogy police sirens coming, getting
nervous.. :) ]

> And here I'm seeing throwbacks to the dark ages saying that people
> need to learn how computers work.  Why not just make them so that
> people don't need to learn this crap?!

Hear hear!!!! This was my position right up until last week, when it was
pointed out to me that file-format patents and legal issues were the
main problem and couldn't be easily solved through technical means. 


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