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SEUL: DRAFT: End-User Application Comparisons

Roger and I wrote up the draft announcement below, which we'll
send out to seul-announce (and linuxtoday, lwn, cola, etc) after
we've had a chance to decide if we're crazy. We're interested in
critiques and comments on the document, particularly the category
list - are we missing anything big?

And of course, if you are interested in starting to tackle a category
now, that would be even better. A resource like this is absolutely
crucial to reducing the confusion a new Linux user faces when trying
to perform a new task.


The goals of the Simple End-User Linux (SEUL) Project are to make Linux
a more suitable operating system for 'normal people', as well as to
increase awareness of the benefits of choosing free software. 

A paradox of the free software development is that for all of the
software that is freely available, there is seldom a comprehensive list
of features and comparisons between different software programs of a
given type. To end users, having to choose among several different
software packages which may or may not meet their needs can be
overwhelming. To rectify this, we are building a bank of program
descriptions in several different areas. A partial list of these
categories follows:

     - Address / Phone books
     - Backup programs
     - Boot selectors
     - CD player software
     - CD writer software
     - Chat clients
     - Computer Assisted Drafting programs
     - Daily planners / Schedulers
     - Database tools and software
     - Desktop publishing
     - Dialup networking
     - Disk partitioners
     - Fax software
     - File managers
     - FTP clients
     - Graphics applications (eg. GIMP)
     - Mail software
     - Music editors
     - News software (Usenet)
     - Office suites
     - Presentation software
     - Radio players
     - Screensavers
     - Sound players
     - Sound editors
     - Spreadsheets
     - Text editor programs
     - Three-Dimensional Modelling
     - TV apps
     - Web administration
     - Windows/dos Emulators (wine, wabi, dosemu, vmware etc)
     - Window managers
     - Word processors

We are looking for interested people who are already familiar with
software in one or more of these categories to write a short description
of individual software packages. Our audience is the end users of linux,
so this task is particularly suited to non-programmers. In particular,
we want to address suitability of these applications to actually doing
'real work' -- ideally people working on a category will have some
experience with using the more traditional applications from that
category in a productivity environment, as well as a good idea of what
users expect from that application. (Yes, this means familiarity with
other operating systems is very useful.)

Some aspects to address include similarity to mainstream applications
(design and features), compatibility with related applications (eg file
formats), learning curve, robustness, speed, documentation/support,
cost/licensing, interface (command-line, gui, web, etc), and ease of

(Actually, this comparison is a two-step process: first we need to come
up with a list of applications in a category, and second we need to
actually assess them. In many cases good lists already exist.)

For more information, please email us at seul@seul.org.