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Re: SEUL: SOTs comments

It's very good that we have a lot of people on this list from the DOS / 
Windows world, who aren't already used to Unix and find these strange 
things (like half a dozen different directories for binaries) to be the most 
natural things in the world :-) but at the same time, I think it is a big 
mistake to try to mess up a good unix system by making it into the kind of
hack DOS and friends are. Linux IS a better PC OS, but it's much more than 
that, and when SEUL is used in corporations with mixed Unix environments, 
or anywhere where a network is in use, it's excellent if we for instance 
can get away with only the essentials on each PC and mount /usr over the net. 

(Click on "Network Installation - share files on Server" or something like 
that when you install.) Why should you have to throw out that 486DX2 with 
16MB and 60MB harddisk? With a network install, 60MB is plenty of disk even 
if you want all the apps you can find. You share them with your 
colleagues/familymembers/whatever on the server! You don't even know that they
aren't local (unless someone unplugs you) since they are in exactly the same
place in the file system. No stupid K: or was it L: or maybe S:!

Trust me. DON'T try to DOS-ify Linux. Even if Unix seems overly complicated
in the beginning, there is a reason for most of the stuff, and the more you
use it, the more you will appreciate it.

At 10:04 1997-09-04 -0400, Graydon Hoare wrote:
>  most new users have a very hard time with the idea of folders inside of
>other folders. It's also pointless for end-users, because they never have
>more than a few dozen programs and a few hundred data files.

I appreciate the point, but I'm sure that the correct technical solution
to this does not involve changing the standard directory structure.

Don't try to make the technicalities too simple. It won't help a bit.

HIDE the technicalities from the naive user.

The user doesn't have to know a bit about where any binaries or configuration
files reside. He uses his pretty GUI and selects programs in menues or clicks
on icons in some kind of program manager etc. As far as he is concerned, the 
programs reside in a menu in his window manager. What is a file or a

The fact is that the naive user NEVER has anything to do outside his own home 
directory. That is where he should be, and he has no more reason to bother
about all the directories under /usr than he has to bother about registry 
entries in Windows 95.

The directories outside /home/hisname is ONLY for storing programs, system 
adminstration, spool files and such things, and since SEUL should contain GUI 
tools for these issues that hide implementation details, they are of no 
consequence from a user-friendlyness perspective! Why on earth would we ever 
think of messing with that?

All SEUL packages the user might want to install should be installed with
root priveledges, since the users shouldn't own the programs, and by the way
not have the right to write files in /usr/bin and friends. In other words,
when he clicks on that 'Install Program' icon, it will ask him for root
password (or else for his own password if some kind of SUDO solution seems
better). (In fact, if there was a network install as I mentioned above he
would actually need root password for the server, which is correct since 
installing an application is a system administration task whether the sysadm
happens to be the same person as the user or not.)

The user should by default not have anything to say about where the files in
SEUL packages go. They go to their correct places, and that's all there is
to it.
If he runs out of space on his disk, SEUL should tell him to buy a bigger
and then move the /usr directory tree to that! (Ok, not in version 1.0,
then it will take to long to get it out... but eventually.)

If he want's to have 'private' programs in a multi-user environment they
should be placed in a bin-directory under his home-directory. 

/bin is for essential binaries that we must have, /usr/bin for those that
can wait until lwe have mounted /usr in case that's not local, /usr/local/bin
for those binaries that aren't part of the standard distribution etc. Same
for libs and other stuff. The reason for this system is largely that Unix
is a 
multi-user operating system. 

The whole disk isn't the users playground: Only his own home-directory and
it's subdirectories are! I don't care if most SEUL installations will be
one person
systems. If we throw away this structure now we will have to pay for it later,
just as Win/DOS is paying today for its lousy network support and security.
Multi user and networking abilities with the safety requirements that follows 
is not far away from the homes, and certainly important at work already.

Whether he want to keep all his local data files in his home directory or if 
he wants to make subdirectories doesn't matter. That's up to him (or her) and 
it won't affect the system in any way.

In fact, it might be a Good Thing if filemanagers, word processors etc could
be configured so that they showed the users home directory, or possibly /home
as the root. That way naive users won't even know that there is something


Magnus Lycka, Folktrov. 6C, 907 51 Umea, Sweden
+46(0)90 198 498, magnus.lycka@tripnet.se, www1.tripnet.se/~mly