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Re: SEUL: linux for the masses

Brian & Kathy Wiens wrote:
> Doug Loss wrote:
> > Roger Dingledine wrote:
> > >
> > > http://eddie.cis.uoguelph.ca/~tburgess/local/linuxui.html
> > > haven't read all of it. so much to read out there...
> >
> > I just read this, and it is fundamentally at odds with most of what I
> > like about Linux.  If most of what he advocates (only one window
> > manager, no CLI, etc.) were to come about, I'd be gone in a flash.
> I just read it as well and I have to admit that I agree with the article.
> This may not be a pleasant concept for the original and die-hard Linux
> movement to accept, but it is too true to reject out of hand.
>  All of these strengths conspire against Linus'
> (and the movement's) stated desire for "world domination".
> If the goal is to take over the desktop, Linux must become, if not the same
> as then, at least similar to what Todd Burgess is proposing.
> I am
> not an average user (you are welcome to your own opinion in this regard) but
> I cannot make Linux work the way that I want it to.
> Burgess is promoting heresy for the majority of the original Linux
> movement.  This heresy, though, marks a significant departure and those who
> wish to see Linux truly achieve "world domination" must accept some, if not
> all, of his recommendations.  This dichotomy between world domination as a
> stated goal and rejection of the necessity for a user centred interface has
> always (in the eight months since I started looking into Linux) struck me as
> a fundamental problem.

This probably isn't an appropriate forum for a philosophical debate, but
I just want to reply to a couple of Brian's thoughts.

The whole "world domination" thing was meant tongue-in-cheek.  For most
of us, world domination would be a nice validation of our thoughts and
decisions but isn't something worth working toward in and of itself. 
I'm quite sure that if you tried to get Linus to talk seriously about
his plans for world domination you'd either confuse him or make him

The fundamental thing about Linux and OSS software in general is
freedom.  We can do whatever we want to with it.  If there isn't an app
for a certain purpose, we can create one--the tools are all there, and
nothing is hidden.  There certainly is a need for a user-centered
interface such as Burgess talkes about.  Here at SEUL we recognize that,
along with many other things that could make Linux more desireable for
the average user.

However, what I got from the Burgess paper wasn't just the need for such
an interface.  I heard him to say that that had to be the One True Way
of Linux.  One consistent interface; no CLI; no unix-like commands
showing.  All of those sounded like demands, not suggestions.  I didn't
join the Linux community to have my options limited by someone else's
ideas of what I should want.  Linux should never become a
one-size-fits-all OS.  It has the potential to work for everyone in the
manner they want it to--that's the direction we should go.  KDE, GNOME,
GNUStep, whatever; if you want a consistent UI (and who doesn't?) there
are choices available that are approaching just that.  And that's _my_

Doug Loss                 It is impossible to imagine Goethe
Data Network Coordinator  or Beethoven being good at billiards
Bloomsburg University     or golf.
dloss@bloomu.edu                H. L. Mencken