[xubuntu-users] Software Updater package?

Peter Flynn peter at silmaril.ie
Sat Sep 28 18:05:16 UTC 2013

On 09/28/2013 02:39 PM, Ralf Mardorf wrote:
> Hi David :)
> my tone of voice was inappropriate, but I dislike most of those 
> automations. Newbies get a wrong impression of Linux, they start
> using it in the same way as other people use Apple and Microsoft
> computers and they will miss the advantages of Linux.

I think Ralf makes an important point here. I agree with David that many
"features" of Linux -- even of Ubuntu -- are grossly inappropriate for
new users, but the answer is not to tell them they must learn the OS,
but to lead them into learning the OS without making it a burden.

1. "It must be easy to use" and "It must be intuitive" actually mean
   "It must do what I expect". User expectation is a much-neglected
   field: it has taken a back seat to "user experience" because it
   means knowing (or finding out) what a user's PAST experiences have
   been, and that is hard and takes a lot of time and money.

2. Without that, we can only guess, but we can guess with some of our
   own experience: Windows and OS X users have been very carefully led
   by Microsoft and Apple marketing to expect certain services, and
   to expect certain things to happen when you click on something.
   There's nothing wrong with that: it's their way of trying to make
   sure that users repeat-buy their products.

3. To match this, Linux must INITIALLY behave the same, that is, must
   behave "as expected" for new users. There must be NO (zero) nasty
   surprises if we are to gather new users to the fold.

4. To prevent seasoned users complaining about the OS being dumbed
   down, we need an EXPERT mode that does things the way $deity
   intended them to be, which those of us who have been using Unix-
   like systems since the flood can adopt without blinking.

5. Therefore we need a NEWCOMER mode that will faithfully replicate
   as much of Windows and OS X behaviour as possible, and gently
   educate the user to expect better.

Everyone can come up with their own list of pet hates and loves, but
unless we actually do something to make Linux attractive to new users,
we are heading over the cliff-edge.

> The claim that such software like an update manager will make it
> easier for newbies IMO is wrong, it makes it harder to understand
> Linux, hence the question, against what package to file a bug, by
> somebody who used apt-get.

Update-manager is essential for a newcomer precisely because they don't
know what an update is, and certainly don't know how to use a console.
It actually makes it EASIER to get used to Linux, because it removes the
need to learn something when the users is ALREADY trying to learn
something else (Linux).

> The question is understandable, but it's not understandable for me,
> that a software updater opens a window and ask the user to reboot. I
> know an OS that does ask to reboot and this is not Linux ;).

Very few Linux updates require a reboot. OS versions, for sure, same as
for Windows and OS X, and perhaps a few core packages. Apart from those,
I don't see any need for reboots after an update.

> Future generations should learn some basics about computers. Our
> generations experience all those marketing, privacy, security issues
> because computers are new. Not everybody needs to become an expert. I'm
> not an expert for modern computers myself.

Unless future generations learn the basics, they will be led like
sheeple by the large corporations much as they are being led already.
But no-one is going to teach them the basics, and they are unwilling to
learn, so a system like Linux needs to guide them GENTLY into the path
of righteousness, not shock them like using a cattle-prod.

Ubuntu is a step in the right direction, but we do urgently need to look
at the interface for two modes: newcomer and expert; and perhaps an
intermediate mode as well. There are LOTS of things wrong with Ubuntu
(all variants), but they won't change until we (and Canonical, and the
devs) start to look at the newcomer as well as the expert.

Peter Flynn
Human Factors Research Group
School of Applied Psychology
University College Cork

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