[OT] Debian mailinglists [was: RE: Debian or Ubuntu?]

Jeffrey Tooker Jeffreytooker at frontiernet.net
Tue May 20 16:53:39 UTC 2008

Avi Greenbury wrote:
> On Tue, 20 May 2008 10:56:28 -0300
> Derek Broughton <news at pointerstop.ca> wrote:
>> Especially.  That's apparently Ubuntu and Xorg's aim (at least to prevent
>> the necessity of editing - it's *nix, so you can't actually _prevent_
>> someone editing the files).  Haven't you noticed that we get a smaller
>> percentage of emails on these lists these days about X configuration than
>> we used to?  That's because people are needing to do much less hand editing.
> Yes. Less necessary hand editing is always a good thing. But
> hand-editing is sometimes the ideal solution IMO.
> I much prefer quickly changing, say, the resolution value in my
> xorg.conf file than running dpkg-reconfigure and *hoping* that
> somewhere along the way it'll ask me. If it breaks, it's not like it's
> impossible to fix, since all I need in order to fix it is my trusty
> text editor.
>>> Or a web server to which one has no physical access?
>> Again, yes.  Apache is less of a problem than some servers, in that I can
>> hand edit the configs and test them before restarting Apache, but I'd be a
>> lot happier with a tool that didn't let me write invalid config files in
>> the first place.
> A tool that won't let you write invalid config files is not necessarily
> a Q+A tool.
> I very much like the idea of one that doesn't let me write invalid
> files, but I also don't want to have to respond to potentially badly
> worded questions. And what if my language isn't supported? To edit
> config files by hand just requires that I understand the contents of
> the text file, and have an editor that understands the characters. To
> edit config files by Q+A requires that I understand the language in
> which I am being asked.
> Visudo is, in my mind, the closest to perfect a config file editing
> system's likely to get (until telepathy hits the mainstream, anyway).
> It lets me write exactly what I want, with the tool I want, in the
> order that I want to, and then tells me if I've done something
> wrong when I say "I'm done, check it please".
I have been watching this thread for some days. I am a retired 
electrician. I have come to Ubuntu as an alternative the whole 
MS/Windows establishment. The paste below is the Intro for Ubuntu.


Welcome to Ubuntu 7.10!

The Ubuntu project is built on the ideas enshrined in the Ubuntu 
philosophy: that software should be available free of charge, that 
software tools should be usable by people in their local language, and 
that people should have the freedom to customize and alter their 
software in whatever way they need.

"End of paste"

The issue being discussed in this thread seems to be CLI vs GUI. I 
submit that the Intro (Mission Statement ) pasted above includes both as 
required. I would believe the greatest number of users will be non 
techie. These people just want to take care of their day to day business 
like web browsing, email and special interest lists, paying the bills 
and so on. They have many other varied interests outside of Ubuntu. They 
do not have time, or want to learn a new language just to use their 
computer. This takes care of the Intro down to the "freedom to 
customize". The "freedom to customize" at this time is actually the 
"necessity to customize", in order to get a system hardware working with 
the installed software. I have come from Windows which is mostly GUI for 
the vast majority of users. I do not find it a smooth transition to Ubuntu.

I feel that if Ubuntu/Linux wants the vast majority of computer users to 
use their operating systems that they have to be GUI. No language to 
learn. Just answer the questions and obtain the desired result (most of 
the time). There will probably never be a a GUI which has answers to all 
possible questions.

This is where the "Techie" people come in. They are the ones who ask the 
extraordinary questions and push the envelope, and find fixes for 
existing problems. This requires CLI. The most used platforms are those 
which are the easiest to use, and require the least learning. I believe 
this is why Windows is so successful. Most people will pay for a program 
to do what they do not want to take the time to learn. This at the time 
means GUI. No learning, just answer the questions and get the result. So 
both GUI and CLI are necessary to complete the whole. The interface one 
prefers is dictated by what their user requirements are. I will now get 
off of my soap box.

Jeffrey Tooker

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