Re: Draining the Swamp: A Technical User's Experience

On Fri, 2002-05-03 at 04:04, Jeff Waugh wrote:
> Thought this would be appropriate here, given that it's not on the straight
> and narrow of core GNOME development issues. It is, however, crucial to
> GNOME's success - we can't fix everything ourselves. :-)

One of the keypoints on the related situation was the lack of better
tools to configure some hardware devices, namely de graphics card.

"You can see that there are a plethora of contributing factors to this
 story, involving usability, driver settings and admin rights"

Sometimes, people like to point out that not running with enough user
rights makes a system hard to use.

I like to counter argue that on systems without user rights separation,
you have a variety of plagues that do more harm than having to do things
in a different way.

For instance, in my box, when I log on, devices like /dev/fd0 are set to
be owned by me, so I can mount floppy disks without requiring root
(maybe there's a +s on mount but that's related to a specific kernel
limitation more than anything else).

If it wasn't for this separation, weird crashes, viruses, and more
windows'ish problems would be more common in here as well.

So, where's the problem? I think that the problem may lie in the balance
between security and usability, SPECIALLY if taken in consideration that
most desktop endusers are used to a set of windows or macos versions
that do not have this separations well determined, and so they expect to
be able to do certain things without knowing what they are doing...

In the case of configuring X's HS and VS, you could probably ruin your
graphics card or you screen if you pushed it a little too far...

Moving along, the system used was very old already, and the main problem
of that demonstration was not a problem with usability, but with lack of
preparation. Two years is a lot of time on proprietary systems, and it's
a lot more time on Free systems where you have a constant evolution
deprived of absolute centric or monopolistic control, so they should, in
effect, try to do their demo on a more recent installation (I think that
the distributor is almost irrelevent, nowadays, for desktop endusers).

It's frequent to do that on proprietary systems, but in Free systems,
the difference lies in that you are not really forced to upgrade, but
you may have a lot of trouble you could avoid if you did.

I have to wonder though, what did cause the reboot? Hardware problems?
The card was stretched too far and converting to text console was not
helping? No remote connections to clear things up?

Yes, X is not the easiest thing to make particular weird configurations,
but wouldn't that be something somewhat more uncommon to do? Jim, you
can tell us best, probably, is it common? How can we make that better?

Default installations, nowadays, figure fairly well what graphics card
you do have! :) but tuning is a hassle indeed.

"If it is common, it is damaging our ability to gain mindshare."

To finish, I'd like to comment on this... GNU/Linux systems have been
running  around for far longer that RedHat 6.2, and worse usability
problems existed in the past. Our mindshare has only increased...

We're getting better by the second, no matter what some doomsayers say.

Hugs, rui

+ No matter how much you do, you never do enough -- unknown
+ Whatever you do will be insignificant,
| but it is very important that you do it -- Ghandi
+ So let's do it...?

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