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SEUL: outline of an end-user distro
Dennis Leeuw wrote:
-> IMHO, a distro for an end-user should be plain, simple and
-> always the same. This might be obvious, but anyway...
-> I think we have two different kinds of end-users. First there
-> is the home-user and second we have the office-user. Both are
-> two differnt types, with different wishes. To name a simple
-> difference: the home-user expects a simple PPP configuration,
-> while the office-user wants a simple network connection.
To which Doug Loss replied:
-> I think you're missing quite a bit of differentiation here.
-> There aren't just home- and office-users; there are also
-> school-users, artist-users, scientific-users, etc. To keep
-> things manageable, you may want to define two generic
-> configurations--occasional-net-connect and permanent-net-
I think you guys are missing the biggest distinction of all:
the capability of the the end-user's hardware. It may be true
in the affluent West that most users have a Pentium-class
machine (running Win9x); however, in the rest of the world,
there are still plenty of people running 386's and low-end
486's. Moreover, cheap secondhand 3/486's enable less
affluent people to buy their first computer.
The problem for the 3/486 owners is that they have been
abandoned by Micro$oft. All they have is legacy software
and even that is hard to come by. The only message they
get from the M$ mainstream is: dump that obsolete computer
and buy a real one!
Are 3/486's condemned to languish on the sidelines? Or can
they join the mainstream? This is a very big issue among the
less affluent. As a result, there are still some applications
being developed for the DOS platform. For example, the Arachne
DOS browser (still in active development) gives 386's full
graphical access to the internet at reasonable speed.
However, despite the occasional flicker of life from DOS, it is
not the solution. DOS has neither the robustness nor the dynamism
to carry 3/486's to the future. That role, I believe, belongs to
Linux. Linux has the ability to maximize the potential of 3/486's
and enable them to participate in the mainstream of computer users.
Interestingly enough, the author of Arachne is moving it to the
Linux platform (because of its superior TCP/IP capabilities). He
believes that he can give 3/486's a better browser by using Linux
It seems to me that an end-user Linux distro should keep its
eyes firmly on the 3/486 users. It would be a tragedy to slam
the door on the low-end users, just to give the Pentium users
a point-and-click-at-the-pretty-pictures interface. After all,
easy installation requires just two things: (1) auto-detection
of hardware and (2) clear, simple choices. Neither of these
needs a fancy GUI.
It worries me when I hear you guys talking about basing the
end-user distro on KDE or Gnome. I just can't see them running
on my 386sx-25 (copro, 8 megs RAM, 120 meg HDD). A pretty
typical legacy computer. Is there no end-user Linux for me,
or shall I take my computer straight to the rubbish dump?