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SEUL: Target user for SEUL

Here's some of my random thoughts on the target user for SEUL.

Target user:
  * Will * do email
  * Will * surf web
  * Will * have modem or some other network connection.

>Subject: SEUL: Development methods and standing decisions
>From: Erik Walthinsen <omega@omegacs.net>
>The idea is that we now have our own unpolluted focus group, populated with
>end-users of various types (mostly scientific for now, because of recruiting
>channels).  It is important that this list be closed so the development group
>does not interfere with the discussions of what end-users want.


>It's somewhat disconcerting to hear some people say we are not moving fast
>enough, it's all talk, and others saying that we need to hold off on
>discussing the details.  It makes it difficult for me to know which way I
>should be moving.  The problem comes when I chose one direction, and half the
>group squawks.


>The requirement of a CD-ROM drive should be obvious
>> Will we be concerned with security?
>Not as much as we could be, but it will be something to keep in mind.

Yes, I the default install should avoid glaring security holes,
but the simple end-user doesn't want or need any sort of "security
management system". It should "just work".

>Precisely.  Some things are needed for office interoperability, like samba,
>and some thing are just plain cool to have for *anyone*, like apache.
>> 1) Everything at the end-user level has to be 100% graphical except,
>> possibly, the install.  Though some of us do greatly prefer the text-based
>> interface, less than 1% of the end-user clueless market agree. Besides,
>> we'll be taking mostly windows converts - they'll be used to graphics, and
>> text-based things seem like DOS = seem less powerful.
>Very well put.

I like the way you phrase this. Rather than just dictating "We *will* do
this, because I *said* so", you say "We *will* do this, because alternative
Y is unacceptable for *that* reason.".

Especially if the reason is "Well, doing it this way *seems* adequate, the
flame war among alternatives was wasting too much time. To change this
decision, you need to demonstrate that your alternative is *significantly*
superior, not merely a tiny bit better."

>Yup.  RPM has several things going for it: wide acceptance (read: almost a
>dozen architectures are using it, check www.solaris.rpm.org if you wanna see
>how "wide" I mean), many many existing packages, many spec-file gurus, active
>development, several decent frontends, a book(!), etc.

Perhaps we should keep on the website some of this background info on *why*
Omega made certain decisions -- the pros and cons of the alternatives.
Perhaps Certain Groups which Shall Remain Unnamed (CGWSRU) will see *why*
we consider their things unacceptable, and improve them.

>> 3.3) It must have some useful autodetection.
>> 3.7) The distribution has to be 'internet-ready' out of the box.


>From: Kai Wetzel <k.wetzel@welfen-netz.com>
>Organization: Free Software Union (http://www.fslu.org)
>The problem with disk space is that many people will install
>SEUL on systems filled up with '95 apps as a secondary OS
>at first.

Yes, that's something to keep in mind.

>Of course we should always allow for a guru to step in
>and fix something at the low loevel - IMO much better
>then forcing a re-install like '95 or Mac (and such
>situation can occur, e.g. an end-user manages to delete
>a crucial file: too bad ;)

Yes; a "simple end-user" should never be *required* to learn vi, but it's
always a good idea to tuck in vi or something at least as useful.

Perhaps our motto should be "You can do anything, but you don't have to."

>> 3.1) It must work for those with no net connection.
>Very important IMO.  In this part of the world, phone
>calls are so expensive that many people are still not
>connected (e.g. I pay 8x as much for phone then for my
>ISP - which makes me feal rather sorry for him :(

I just don't get it. If a user wants email,
he *must* have some sort of net connection.

It would be nice for a system to work for *everyone*,
but (IMHO) a person who never wants to use email
is not our target audience.

>> 3.7) The distribution has to be 'internet-ready' out of the box.  At least
>> as much so as Win95...
>Yeah, very important.

You want it "'internet-ready' out of the box" and yet "It must work for
those with no net connection" ? Color me confused.

>From: William T Wilson <fluffy@dunadan.com>
>Subject: Re: SEUL: Migration, and a brief recap
>Hm, I wouldn't want to call an 80MB disk useful.  Usability first, system
>requirements second.  I think we should build a good distribution and then
>see how big it is, rather than the other way around.

Brilliant advice.

>Date: Fri, 16 Jan 1998 19:20:27 -0500
>From: Rick Jones <rickya@siservices.net>
>MIME-Version: 1.0
>To: john@dhh.gt.org
>CC: seul-project@seul.org
>Subject: Re: SEUL:What's the diff to SEUL ?
>> > b) don't receive _incoming_ network connections at all.
>> How does demand-dialling preclude this?  In any case, incoming ppp is a
>> completely seperate issue (who besides isp's needs it?)
>How would an interface user setup a web page on his own system if his
>system only establishes a ppp link when there are outbound packets?
>Surely you're not saying that people, other than ISP's, use their system
>as any kind of server for other systems, either private network via ppp
>or simple stuff over the internet?  This means the link has to be up to
>receive traffic as well as brought up when there is outbound traffic.

HTML pages are so easy to generate nowdays that it *would* be kinda nifty
for people to be able to publish a web page quickly and easily without all
kinds of arcane knowledge.

However, right now (I could be persuaded differently) I think that a SEUL
distribution *should*, by default, only establish a ppp link when there are
outbound packets. If someone *wants* to set up a web server or a FTP server
on his system, then that person is not a "simple end-user" -- given a SEUL
distribution, I will force that person to install and setup some
non-default software on top of the default SEUL stuff. That person is not
our target audience, and we shouldn't make things more confusing for our
target audience just to make life slightly simpler for random individuals
outside our target audience.

Yes, I am saying that "simple end-users" do *not* use their system as any
kind of server.

>From: Kai Wetzel <k.wetzel@welfen-netz.com>
>Organization: Free Software Union (http://www.fslu.org)
>is, but no matter who or what is causing the number
>of my ISP to be called, I _must_ be prompted for
>it.  This is best done by a little GUI dialog when
>running X11 IMO.  This notification must be done
>because otherwise the modem will stay switched off,
>or I'll be calling someone on the same line, etc.
>I say this dialog is likely to be found in a ppp
>front-end, together with an info field to indicate
>how long I've been connected and maybe a little
>line stating how much money I've spend today/this
>month so far :O)

Yes, this sounds exactly like what a intelligent system should do
(if it hears the dial tone, automatically dial;
otherwise pop up a dialog box ...).
But like most people, I have no clue how to actually write software to
implement this; I can only whisper my suggestions into the aether and hope
someone with the ability to make this concrete hears us.

+ David Cary "mailto:d.cary@ieee.org" "http://www.rdrop.com/~cary/"
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