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Re: SEUL: linux for the masses

Donovan Rebbechi wrote:

> On Mon, 21 Dec 1998, Roger Dingledine wrote:
> > http://eddie.cis.uoguelph.ca/~tburgess/local/linuxui.html
> > haven't read all of it. so much to read out there...
> This seems glaringly inconsistent with his other paper "Linux for the
> masses and other popular myths" where he says ...
> "The Linux operating system on every computer system is a bad thing"
> ...
> "The attempt to make Linux more user friendly will hurt Linux not help it"
> " Why hacking, the command line and vi are a good thing."
> hmmm ...

I read the paper and in my confusion I have only two conclusions to draw:  this is
either a serious case of split personality or he is trying to start some discussion
on the future of Linux.  Since he seems to be aware of the vast difference in the
two opinions he presents, I will assume that a psychological disorder is not in
evidence.  However, by picking two diametrically opposed viewpoints on the future
of Linux, he has undermined his credibility in getting a serious discussion going.
Too bad, since I believe that these issues should be explored in much greater
detail and he may have killed the discussion before it even started.  I am,
however, still willing to continue to consider this in more detail.

In that vein (and with Doug's encouragement), I would suggest that the paper that
Roger cited above is closer to where most people would like to see Linux go
(especially on this list).  While his proposed methods may not be acceptable, he
makes the point that there is a real need to make Linux more accessible to more
users if it is to really grow.  I think that this point is lost on many Linux users
who continually tell people to read the FAQs and the how-to's and, while they are
not unwilling to assist with new or unusual questions, they are disbelieving that
something as _simple_ as compiling a binary to allow installation to proceed is
less than acceptable to new users.   As one example, see Jerry Pournelle's site
(http://www.jerrypournelle.com/LINUX/linux1.html) where he talks about his
adventures.  There are at least four parts, he didn't do it by the book and it
isn't terribly complimentary but he is getting a lot of similar responses from
other users who have tried and failed - this should spur efforts on the end-user
side, for the sake of good press if nothing else.  Pournelle is not a computing
neophyte, has no hesitation about diving into a project with both feet and will
make it work if at all possible, evidence his excellent "Chaos Manor" column in the
unfortunately dead Byte magazine.  While his column is no longer in circulation in
Byte, he is still posting monthly columns on his web site and has credibility and
stature with the market for OSs that many people inside Linux do not yet have.  He
needs to be on side along with the other opinion formers.  That will only happen if
Linux is far more usable by the elusive "average".

That's enough for now.

Brian Wiens