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Re: SEUL: Is there a user for S.E.U.L.?

> 5.  This is the direction that all of the distributions are headed
>     anyway.  We can choose our design or wait for someone else's
>     impression of how it should be done.  

Indeed. If I look at a `state of the art' Linux distribution today
I see a distribution which is not easy to install. It is impossible
for 99% of the people on the street, and to the experienced Linux user
it takes quite an effort and involves some risks in most cases.

But if I remember the 0.96 days ... there is a HUGE difference,
and if I look backward I see that the improovement was continuous.
If we take a look at the current distributions and the people
behind them we can see a considerable preocupation towards `simpler
installation'. The current distribution efforts (Debian and RedHat
in particular) also have a considerable _momentum_ in that direction.

Thus I think that an effort to make an easier to install distribution
would be best spent by contributing to an existing distribution.

There are three issues, though:

  1. how easily one can install Linux
  2. how easily one can start to use Linux and acquire valid and _stable_
     knowledge about how to use it better
  3. how productive can somebody become, and what spectrum of problem s/he
     can solve without "complex", abstract language-based descriptions
     of his problems (without writing awk scripts for example).

I think that, what is only marginally approached by other distributions
is this: a _stable_ and reliable framework, including a set of usefull 
applications, which can be leaned starting from 0 and which do not 
change in time.

What is common to the needs of most users is: document preparation
(text+graphics), mail, web-browse and, eventually, simplest database,
simplest and easiest spreadsheet (I'll call this `the doc complex'). This
is what W$95+M$Office claim to provide out of the box (and, to some
extent, I guess they do) at perhaps about 500$. Can Linux do better? 

To answer this question we must ask ourselves: What are the users
of the M$ doc complex frustrated with; what would they want and do
not have? This question excludes the people who already migrated to

The strength of Linux is actually outside the doc complex (math tools,
programming, desktop typesetting, extensive networking, LAN servers of all
sorts, internet servers). Couldn't be SEUL, or some SEULs be addressed to
users of these kinds of applications (more sofisticated users than just
doc-complex users, but sofisticated in a different direction than linux
hackers)? This is a smaller (in numbers) but a very important "market". I
think it may be a better place to start. What do _these_ people groups
need which is not provided by W$? 

If the result of installing Linux is something which is stable, nice,
easy to learn and use than the user will accept a little
pain at installing it, and will even learn what a disk partition
is. But, if s/he is left `clueless at the prompt' they won't
install it no matter how easy the installation is.

Thus, SEUL could be a set of packages (with documentation, starting-menu
scripts, etc) which refer to a selection of other debian or rh (say)
packages as `required' and which build up a nicely integrated
framework, easy to learn from 0 and then easy to use.

It could be integrated in another distribution as one or more
`seul options'. (Actually there can be a few similar user frameworks,
for different classes of users).


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