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> Éric wrote:
> -
> -> The end-users would like a *graphical* installation, with
> -> fancy picture/graphics.
> -
> Brian replied:
> -
> -> The future of the desktop is graphical, but for the present
> -> Linux should not segregate.where it is not (yet) necessary.
> -
> The future of the desktop may indeed be graphical (in the very
> broadest sense of the word).  But I'm not convinced that this
> means a gooey point-and-click.


> -
> Sure, people dislike the CLI.  But let's not jump from
> the frying pan into the fire.  A high-overhead GUI is not
> necessarily the answer.
> -

I do not think that a high-overhead GUI is the only answer...if you include
routers, bridges, servers,...etc. in the list of needs that you are trying
to serve.  But anything used by the un-trained users that you describe below
had better have a GUI at some level.

> I've watched many people using M$Windows and there's a very
> interesting pattern.  The vast majority of ordinary people
> use Windows solely as a menu program.  In fact I reckon that
> 90% of people regularly use less than half a dozen programs:
> Email, browser, wordprocessor and games.  That's about it.

You seem to be missing the point.

The GUI is more than the way the programs are launched.  The users want the
Email, browser, wordprocessor and games to be GUI interface programs.
Unlike many in the Unix community, the un-trained users view the GUI as a
technological advancement, a blessing that spared them from the tortures of
the hated text interface in DOS (which also has text-based menu systems).
Text based DOS programs will run in Windows, but you cannot click and drag
things between them, and they do not share data with Windows programs or
each other as convienently Windows programs do.  The text interface cannot
provide the details that the un-trained user needs to access the wealth of
features provided in modern Email, browser, wordprocessor and games software
without reading a manual, or taking a 2 week class.

> -
> It seems to me that most users would be quite happy with
> a simple menu on the screen, as long as it allows easy
> selection of their usual programs.  No mouse, no icons.
> Selection by number or with the arrow keys.  DOS has a
> million of these menu programs (for obvious reasons);
> some of them are quite fancy.

But unless they launch Windows those DOS based menu programs either launch
text based programs, or they launch graphics programs with hardware settings
that must all be seperately configured for each app, feel different one from
another, and do similar things in different ways that the user must
re-learn...and keep track of.  If the user leaves that job (or envirnment)
and goes somewhere else....everything changes and most of their previous UI
experience is nearly useless.

How long before the Fax machine were us techs able to connect two computers
and send a graphics file over the phone lines?  How was the un-trained user
empowered to do it?  I'll tell you, it was with a choice of products that
featured the same common, physically recognizable elements.  They all have
an in-slot, an out-slot (that look like the ones on the photo-copier), a
dialer (that looks like the one they used to call Aunt Martha on the phone
the other day), and a great big "GO" button (usually a different color than
the other stuff on the machine, and again just like the one on the copier).

> -
> It seems to me that such a menu program could be used
> to provide a standardized front end for an end-user Linux.
> The initial menu could be preconfigured with the programs
> in the default installation package, and any programs
> subsequently added could be automatically inserted into
> the menu as part of the installation routine.
> "The installation of 'Spank me, big boy' is complete
> -- do you want this item to appear in your menu?"
> -
> Such a menu would provide a measure of user-friendliness
> without shutting out the low-end 3/486's.  It is certainly

If the users are willing to accept this, then most of them will use the
simpler MS-DOS which already has all of these things and also runs on
386/486 computers.  Or this approach will probably appeal to those who
always hated Windows and are still using DOS anyway and want the added
features that Linux provides.  Half of these users are the very high end
technical crowd who will already be using Pentiums (and Linux) soon anyway.
The other half...the ones with the moldy 286/386/486 machines have three

1.  Most of them are single application users with vertical market products
written only for DOS.
2.  Most of them are happy with what they have, hate any kind of change and
don't care about added features.
3.  They are less than 8% of the marketplace and obtain new computer
products about once every 5 or 6 years.  Some of them have been using the
same sollution, unchanged, for the last 10 to 12 years.

If you target your project only to these peaple, few will ever see it.  The
broader based projects that also support these peaples' needs as an obscure
option will win the day, maybe implementing a part of what you pioneered.
You will be invisible.

> true that a mere menu will never rival Windows as an
> executive toy, but who cares?

The executives that aquire it for their users.

Bill Housley