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Re: SEUL: SOTs comments

   Delivered-To: jfm@sidney.remcomp.fr
   X-Authentication-Warning: belegost.mit.edu: majordomo set sender to owner-seul-project@seul.org using -f
   From: Santeri Sakajarvi <ss@i.sot.com>
   Date: Wed, 3 Sep 1997 18:35:11 +0300 (EET DST)

   Some comments about Linux currently, Windows 95 and problems of
   our customers with them (we had a brief meeting about SEUL with
   our hardware team):

   1) Win95 and Linux first booting before installation is currently too 
      complex. In Win95 you must make a spesific booting disk with 
      correct CD-ROM driver on it before starting booting your PC for

      In Linux you must make a boot disk. Boot disk may or may
      not support users current harware and due to that it causes
      a lot troubles. In some cases a user must compile kernel before
      he can boot up the computer to support all the hardware.

      => Suggestions: SEUL should boot directly from CD-ROM or should
	 include ready-to-use boot disk with as much as possbile
	 hardware support compiled into the kernel. 

If we include as much as possible hatrdware support compiled in then
the user has to recompile it to make it leaner.  That is both
frightening and dangerous for a beginner specially if the person is
not a programmer.  The way to go is having a minimalist kernel and use
modules intensively.  Kernel 2.0 made it possible.

   2) Current Linux FDISK is a too hard to use for end-user.

      => It should be made end-user-oriented so, that it automaticly
	 makes the basic partitions (swap, root and home/data) and
	 then there should be a tools for adding a new harddisk to
	 Linux (automaticly partitioning, formatting and mounting it).
	 What is the 'a priori' of the partitions?

Given the common user having only one disk the user should be asked
only one question: Will you give all the unused space to LINUX?  A
beginner does not have any idea of /var, /home and the sizes needed.
Better have a program determine it.

   3) Current directory tree of Unix is too complex. Directory names like
      etc, bin, /usr/local/bin etc. are too hard for win/dos oriented

      => The basic directory structure should be something like
	 - bin 		(/bin, /usr/bin, /usr/local/bin/)
	 - configuration	(/etc, /etc...)
	 - users		(/home)
	 - software	(/opt, /usr/local/bin)
	 - devices		(/dev)
	 - ???		(/var)
	 - sbin 		(/sbin)

      All extra system dirs should be hidden from users.

      It should also be made compatible with Unix directory tree
      with eg. symlinks so that upgrading and sw installation
      from is compatible in future also.

I have used distributions a bit like that.  I didn't like them.

   3) X configuration, especially in monitor selection refresh rates,
      in video card clock timings etc. are too complicated. Even for a 
      little bit more experienced users it causes troubles.

      => There should be windows -like selection of
	 monitor and card. All other should be autoprobed 
	 and defaults should be like in win 95 or win 311 (eg. no
	 virtual destops etc.). Ofcourse user should have a 
	 possibility to change the configuration if he
	 want like it is now eg. in Xconfiguration.

Check XF86Setup in XFree 3.3.  The old xf86config is obsolete. 

  4) Dos and Windows software should run in SEUL. Most software
      in world runs in DOS and a lot in Windows.

      => DOS and Windows emulators should be included to the
	 distribution package as default and they should
	 be ready-to-run after installation. Current configuration
	 of dosemulator in eg. Caldera is a way too diffucult.

Agreed about dosemu being too difficult.  But about Windows emulators
Wine the free one allows to run nearly nothing.

   5) People buy operating system for making someting with it.
      Windows contains currently some tools for word prosessing,
      painting, calculating eg. So you can start using it right away.

      => SEUL distribution should include at least a word prosessor,
	 a speadsheet and some drawing software. That would make
	 it usefull as it is for users as it is.

Yes.  One of the problems of present distributions is than they are
intented either for mad hackers (Debian, Slackware) or for ISPs and
servers (RedHat and a bit Caldera).

We have a very promising graphic tool (the gimp), a good spreadsheet
with Wingz (shareware under Linux), a Wysywig editor with Thot (but I
have to check its copyright).

   6) Installation of a new software is quite complicated in Linux.
      Eg. installing star office to Caldera takes several days.
      First you try to install it, then you start hunting the
      missing libraries, then configure it and configure it and
      finally you forget the whole idea and start using Win 95.

      => RPM is easy enough in case you have all the needed
	 libraries available. All needed libraries should be
	 included to the software distribution

It took me about 5 minutes (five): all needed libraries WERE included
in my Caldera Standard.  Newer RPMs than the one in Caldera now check
dependencies.  That could be improved if it had an option to install
every package our software depends on.  Alternatively that could be in
the graphic front end.

   7) Allmost all software is now-a-days installed from CD-ROM.
      For making the installation in Linux you must
      - mount the cd-rom
      - change dir to cd-rom mounting directory
      - run the installation
      That is too complicated. And also for removing the CD-ROM
      you must unmount the device. This requires also prior
      knowledge on Linux devices etc.

      => In SEUL there should be a mechanism like autorun.inf and
	 automounting and -unmounting of the CD-ROM. So users 
	 puts the CD-ROM in and the installation menu appears 
	 automaticly to the screen.

The installation tool could take care of mounting, unnmounting.

   8) Most of the PCs are used for playing the games. In Linux
      there is only a limited amount of games available
      (I like the wargames of UNIX most ;).

      => Games written to dos and Windows 95 should be working
	 in Seul and also running at least as well as in Windows.
	 Or there should be Linux versions of the most popular

Doom is in every distribution.  The SVGA version of abuse was broken
by 2.0.1 because it did things not POSIXLY kosher.  It was the patch
in exit.c.  Now than sources of Abuse are public we could fix the
problem and put Abuse in SEUL.

I also think SEUL should come with a demo.  It makes the user aware of
what he has in his distribution.

   9) Software installation to Linux is quite complicated compared
      to Win95. Eg. in slackware I must
      - untar the package
      - emacs the makefile
      - make compilation
      - make installation
      - emacs configuration files

Do not base in Slackware: it is not state of the art.   

      - read dozens of pages of readmes, manuals and howtos.
      In Win95 you just run the setup and it makes everything to work
      (at least in some cases).

Redhat has a control-panel who allows you to make many things easily.
It could improved.

      => Install and uninstall should be made in Win95 style.

State of the art in Linux distributions is not Slackware: it is
packages than manage for automatic updating of menus, new environment
variables appearing next time you login, new daemons started
automatically next time you reboot.  Of course all that disappears
when you uninsatall the package.

That is what you get in modern distributions.

   11) Internet -connections are easier in Win95 to configure than
       in Linux. PPP and SLIP are allmost impossible for ordinary
       end-users in Caldera.

       => In SEUL the PPP/SLIP should be automaticly installed
	  and configured like in Win95 or even more easier. 
	  This is a very crusial point.

TkPPP.  EzPPP.  Unfortunately both of them need X.  What if the user
cannot run X?

Distributions tipically ask you about Ethernets, permanent IP
addresses etc.  It seems distribution authors live in planet Mars:
normal people use PPP, have no permanent link to the Internet and a
lot of them have floating addresses.

But PPP is realtively easy.  The main problem is mail and news.  They
are a lot harder.  If you can't get them working then you cannot ask
for help.  Prebuilt configurations addressing real world (home users
not people with permanent links) cases should be included in SEUL.  In
real world people have to maskerade their mail addresses: with present
distributions you are on your own.

   12) Price is important factor of the product. Here is some
       points of pricing:

       Resellers = Computer manufacturers, shops etc.
       end-users = ordinary home users
       companies = medium and large companies etc.

       If price is 0
       - resellers and computer manufacturers are not intrested 
	 in product becouse clients can get it freely, no profits
       - end-users find it attractive to at least for trying,
	 but it effect to image of product. Its free -> it can't
	 be that good
       - companies find it unreliable. It's free -> it can not be

You get it for zero if you have a CD in a book.  I have seen a person
not even looking at the CD coming in his UNIX (not LINUX) book.
Another problem is than CDs in books are old when the person buys it
and then the users are confronted with X servers too old for their
video card.

       If price is < Win95 and > 0
       - resellers and computer manufacturers are intrested 
	 in product becouse they can sell it cheaper than Win95.
	 In case the system is better than Win95, easier to pre-install
	 and support works well they might be willing to 
	 start selling it.
       - end-users find it less attractive becouse you have to 
	 pay for it, but they will demand also more becouse
	 had to pay for it and hence they will be more eager to
	 invest their to make it work.
       - companies find it a bit unreliable, becouse they are used to
	 pay a lot for operating systems like NT or SCO. 
	 It's too cheap -> it can not be trusted as much as NT or SCO.

Companies are not sentient beings, it is the people at key positions.
For a company the reliability can be assessed by the number and
seriousness of bugs and the time of fixing.  Linux is very good at
that.  For a company its interest is testing LINUX and if reliable
then use it.

The problem is the people taking the decisions: they don't pay for
software so cost is not an incentive for them.  On the other side if
you hit a bug with NT then you can explain to your superior than you
had bought from a reputable company, leader of the market but you had
bad luck.  If you hit a bug in Linux, you were penny wise but pound
folish, you are the person who played russian roulette and you will
have to find another job.  Linux can be very reliable for companies
but it is a big risk for the person taking the decisions.  And it will
be until superiors know about it, and the big ones are not computer

       If price is >> Win95 
       - resellers and computer manufacturers are intrested 
	 in product becouse they can sell it companies but the
	 prices requires some advertising and brand name for it.
	 In case the system is a lot better than Win95, easier to 
	 pre-install and configure, there is a brand name for it 
	 and support works well they might be willing to 
	 start selling it with 0 risk.
       - end-users find it too expensive.
       - companies find it reliable in case there are reference
	 customers (big enough), a good brand name, advertising,
	 and systems they need available for it. Finding there
	 reference customers would he how ever quite hard as well
	 as making the brand.

That is the point about Caldera having a distribution < to W95, one
more or less equal, and one about the price of NT/AS (but each time
you get a lot more than with the equivalent MS product).

			Jean Francois Martinez

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