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Re: SEUL: Fwd: Linux (potential) end-user research.

Roger Dingledine wrote:
> >------- Forwarded Message

> >(2) I want the contents of my hard drives to be works of art, whether it's
> >my own work or someone else's.
> >==========================================================================
> >
> >I feel that Linux is a work of art by many hands, and so I am happy to
> >have it on my hard drive. Guys like Torvalds and Rasterman aren't saying:
> >"Screw quality.  We'll toss it out there, win market share, and fix the
> >bugs later, if we have to." They're saying: "Let's do the best job we
> >can." I have a really good feeling about having the work of such artists
> >in my home.

> >Linux is open source, and I hope to do a computing major, so in time I may
> >hope to contribute to this art in a fundamental (though probably tiny)
> >way.
> My general impression is that this section is not 'universal' with
> end-users -- specifically, they don't much care who wrote it or how or
> whether it killed trees or dolphins to do it, as long as it works well
> enough for what they're doing. In addition, few of them are intending to
> major (or did major) in computer-related fields.
Still, this is an evocative statement.  For those end-users who are
interested in understanding how their OS works, Linux is both clearer
and more illustrative of good techniques than any Micros~1 OS has ever
been.  It also appears that David is trying to take to heart what I view
as one of the most appealing aspects of the Linux community--the wish to
contribute something of value back to the the community as a token of
thanks for the work that has been done to date.

Admittedly, this won't be the case for a large number of non-technical
end-users, and we shouldn't expect it to be.  That's fine, so long as
they also recognize that all of us who are working on making Linux a
better OS (and all the other stuff we're doing for the community) are
volunteers who respond better to persuasion and logical presentation
than to demands that we do something because they want us to.  But when
someone from the outside wants to be indoctrinated into the Linux
priestly hierarchy, we need to accept him or her (now where did I put my
copy of the guru indoctrination ritual?).

> >I read that Corel is committed to WordPerfect on Linux. That kind of thing
> >is critical to me.  Now if someone would just write an equivalent for
> >Microsoft Works for Windows, Version 3.0, but on Linux, I would be really
> >happy.
> While I don't know what MS Works is, I bet Staroffice (www.stardivision.com)
> has a substitute that works pretty well.
MS Works is a program suite of extremely simple apps, including a text
editor, simple spreadsheet, and flat file manager.

> >I read lying "booster-talk" about how easy Linux is to install, and I just
> >laugh. You'd better believe I warn my friends about the truth. If luck
> >does not favour you, installing Linux can easily become a species of
> >computer Hell.
> Which version of redhat were you trying to install? Have you ever tried
> a different type of Linux? Have you ever done an install, from scratch,
> of any of the Microsoft operating systems? How did those compare?
In addition, Linux installation _has_ become substantially easier in the
past couple of years.  Borrow a copy of RedHat 5.2 or TurboLinux and
give it another try (on a spare computer, if one's available). 
Alternatively, find a local Linux user's group and go to an installfest
or ask them for some help.  If they won't help you, we'll drum them out
of the priesthood (now where did I put my copy of the guru
excommunication ritual?).

> >One of the things that boggled me about Linux is that there is nothing to
> >get started with. Not IBM Works. Not Windows Write and Cardfile. Nothing.
> >There's no Microsoft Works to buy. There's no "happy stuff" either: no
> >Chessmaster 4000, no Microsoft Encarta, no Dangerous Creatures, no
> >Microsoft Home Essentials. Nothing. You sacrifice all that, and lash out
> >for your "big" applications suite, because no-one is offering anything
> >more "human-sized," and because, consequently, until you get your big
> >applications suite, your Linux home computer is an elaborate paper-weight.
Actually, there are such programs.  It's just that Linux applications
repositories aren't generally organized in such a way that you can
easily separate the "basic" applications from the "advanced" ones.  The
repositories are usually organized by functional type, i.e., word
processors, databases, etc.  If you would post a polite request to
comp.os.linux.misc asking about basic programs roughly equivalent to XYZ
in the MS world, you'd probably get a lot of replies.

> >With the "reputation" that applications for Linux are earning, this is not
> >an attractive gamble. Will Star Office or Applixware support my 9-pin
> >dot-matrix printer that emulates an Epson LX800? "Do ya feel lucky, punk?"
> >As it happens, my honest answer to that question is: "No." And I have no
> >plans to rob a bank in order to buy a PostScript printer.
> Oof. Good issue, I don't do non-postscript printers so I'll let somebody
> else tackle this one. :)
I don't know about other distributions, but RedHat's Printtool allows
you to set up pretty much any printer (certainly the Epson dot-matrix
ones; my first printer was a Seikosha that emulated an Epson LQ) to use
GhostScript.  That way, any PostScript output prints adequately on your
dot-matrix printer.

> > Maybe the only way to get Linux-native applications as reliable as Linux
> >is to make them open source like Linux. In which case, I'm out of luck,
> >because there's no indication I know of that open source word processing
> >is possible, or that an open source works program is even "imaginable."
> Open source word processors are slowly progressing, but you're right that
> they haven't been proven truly feasible yet.
However, inexpensive or free-for-personal-use word processors abound.

> >I do know that a whole lot of ISPs want/require you to run Win95/98 and
> >Explorer. Maybe the whole Internet will divide, with the ISPs keeping
> >Linux for themselves, and forcing their clients to use Windows 2000 and
> >Explorer?
> Many ISPs that "want" you to run windows actually just set up
> a PPP connection for you, and then you use their software to communicate
> over it. You could just as easily use any other software, including the
> Linux PPP support.
Here in the States I know that's true.  When I set up an ISP account I
just tell them to send me the Windows software, then throw it away and
use the settings they've given me to configure Linux.  They don't know
the difference, or don't care.

Doug Loss                 A life spent making mistakes is not only
Data Network Coordinator  more honorable, but more useful than a
Bloomsburg University     life spent doing nothing.
dloss@bloomu.edu                G. B. Shaw