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re: SEUL: seul

On Mon, 26 May 1997, Luka wrote:

> must have text.
> and i was recommending a gui as well, in the sense of ansi-text based
> graphics, plus a stripped down mouse driver.  i imagine this should
> not be too space-intensive.  i should look into it and find out
> just how much it really entails...
> the gui doesn't need to be fancy, but just being able to see choices
> and click on them (rather than looking up a number in a choice-list and
> typing it in at a prompt) is a real bonus for many users.

If there is a standard mouse driver that will work with all mice (like the
Microsoft protocol?), then a 640x480x16 VGA screen could work. What's the
window manager based on SVGALIB like? It's called MGR, or something. If it's
simple, then it could be used for install, then boot Linux and go into X11
for detailed setup/config.

> >> stage 1: system preparation.
> >
> >UMSDOS? VFAT-enhanced UMSDOS?
> i tried umsdos a while ago and it was dreadfully flaky.
> if it has been/can be easily fixed, then this is something we
> should consider, though.

There's a new UVFAT driver for 2.0.28+ and 2.1.x which might be better than
UMSDOS. The VFAT filesystem seems so unbelievably inefficient and badly
designed (multiple FAT entries for each file) that even sticking an extra
layer of permissions and UID/GIDs on top shouldn't have too much of an

> >Why not encourage the CD-install version as much as possible?
> >CDs would be cheap enough for impulse buyers.
> cd's are definitely a convenient way to do it.
> but alternates should exist, especially for machines without
> cd-rom drives.
> the particular catch to cosider with linux is the size of the
> distrib.  thus the usual choice of cd/3.5/5.25, gets pretty
> hairy if not using cd.  i think net-based resources, whether
> ftp'ing to a local disk and installing from there, or installing
> off nfs, are pretty important.

There should be as many installation media options as possible, but in a
submenu somewhere so that you get
1. CD
2. Floppy disk
3. Hard disk
4. Others
or something similar.

As for aliases:

> another more drastic solution i was pondering was aliasing these
> commands to scripts which provide info on a corresponding linux
> command.  e.g.
> % dir
>  dir: To list a subdirectory under linux, use 'ls'
>       Type 'man ls' for more info.

This would be good for some of the more DOS-specific commands. I think dir
should definitely alias straight to the most dir-alike ls option possible (I
use ls -lF --color=auto). Instead of man pages, we should design DOS/Windows
to UNIX guides for the DOS-style commands, to improve the user-friendliness.
If someone types "help dir", it should give a hypertext document like DOS
help, possibly using color lynx. The bash "help" command would have to be
renamed; is this much of a problem?

> i rather like the idea of aliases and a reference sheet, though.
> i'll think about that further...

A tutorial might be more appropriate, like the Mac tutorial but slightly
less primitive. (start from the assumption that the user knows how to feed
his mouse, and won't bite the keyboard).

> >Why not have extremely easy to set up + use internet connection (PPP,
> >ethernet, whatever) in the distrib, with a program that can be launched
> >whenever the user gets in trouble, and connects to a central SEUL server.
> >This server would be similar to IRC, but have extras like a shell which
> >sends everything to both a window on the user's screen and the SEUL server,
> >so that the SEUL team can see what the user is doing instead of vague
> >explanations like "err, it's not working, lots of error messages go past too
> >quick to read".
> this might be really heinous to support.  thinking not only of
> remote staffing, but also program size/robustness, plus net-outages.
> it could be good, but should be approached carefully.

This would be an immense undertaking, but it could be a tech support
option: if this thing takes off, then we could charge for tech support and
set up a company. It's not something to be considered at the moment, I agree
with that.

> >fvwm95 is OK, but a bit slow and needs to have all the keymappings redone.
> >The multiple desktops could also confuse new users.
> in general, things like multiple/virtual desktops will have to be
> configured carefully by seul.  a lot of that stuff will be
> non-intuitive to new users.
> these should be some of the hidden goodies, in the control panel,
> or wherever.

OK, how about a basic install stage which sticks everything necessary onto
the system, then boot Linux from the hard drive and then go into the
heavy-duty config routines? By that stage, everything will be up and running
so it could look like Control Panel, and the system should be robust enough
to use a "Go back" or "Undo" option at any stage. Don't hide them too well,
though, it shouldn't be _that_ much like windows.

> >And don't forget that almost
> >every system sold nowadays has a free copy of Win95 and Office with it, so
> >it might be a better idea to aim this thing so that it is a viable
> >alternative (being cheap) to Win95 as a new system bundle option.
> yes! i think system bundles with linux could be a real success.

Does anyone have any contacts in this area?

Thomas Molesworth            (thomas@bass.almac.co.uk)

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