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Re: SEUL: Users

Randy Heineke wrote:
> I haven't seen it discussed, so I'll invite comments. A couple of
> weeks ago Alexandru proposed consolidating users into a number of
> groups. I endorsed this effort and attempted to paraphrase his
> definitions to see if I clearly understood them and help them to
> become them readily identifiable.

Alright, I'll bite. I saw this post a week or so ago that listed
a fairly long list of different types of users. The post was so
long that I couldn't read it all in one sitting. Further, I felt
that the long list of users provided to fine a subdivision to
server to clarify our thinking on the SEUL project. I also felt
that some of the definitions were somewhat flippant and trite.

Having spilled my bile, I will try to be a little constructive.
I think that there is only one thing that we really need to
recognize about the prospective user base for SEUL. That is
that it is entirely different than the current LINUX user base.

Currently, LINUX users fall into two broad categories: Hackers
and SysAdmins. I categorize as a Hacker anyone who is primarily
interested in their computer for its own sake. Anyone who uses
LINUX because they enjoy fiddling around with the internals of
their machine and its OS. SysAdmins are anyone who uses LINUX
because they require the UNIX features for some task. SysAdmins
may well be Hackers as well, but they differ from Hackers in
that they use their computers as tools rather than as toys.

Both of these types of users are distinctive in several ways:
1) they are technically adept. They are able to deal with complex
installation and adminitrative tasks. 2) they are motivated.
Whether because of an inner desire for knowledge or an outer
desire for profit they have the impetus to test their own
boundries and take risks.

The end user is quite a different animal. End users are not usually
interested in a computer for its own sake. They have a task to do.
Whether for work or for play it is the task that is paramount. The
computer is incidental. End users are also rarely technically adept.
They have little patience for complex proceedures, especially when
those proceedure do not have a direct bearing on the task they want
to perform.

Two aspects of LINUX stand as a stumbling block to the end user:
Installation and Administration. The LINUX installation process
is far to involved for any end user ever to take seriously. What
is needed is a straight shot, optionless, zero user interaction
install proceedure. (A more involved installation proceedure should
be optional, but the simple install should be the default) The
Administrative process is unacceptable to most end users. Admin is
a task that, by its very definition, is outside the field of the
end user: Administration is not a direct part of the end user's
task. With any UNIX-like OS Administration is unavoidable, what we
need to do on the SEUL project is make it as painless as we can.

There, I wrote it and it was still long. I have, however, reduced
the target user to a single definition. This is what we should be
keeping in mind while we discuss what tools to use or make for the
SEUL distribution. We must keep in mind that most of us do not fall
into the category "end user" and that we must work even harder in
order to indentify with our target audience.

- Jeff Dutky
Simple End User Linux Mailing list
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