Sunday, February 15, 2009

To the hills and some observations

This weekend I took the family to the mountains of western North Carolina. That is where my wife was born and raised and we will be moving there when the kids get of school in June.

The weather was a bit crappy today and that gave my wife lots of time to continue her investigation of Ubuntu. If you want to read its here: http://amber.redvoodoo.org

I find it very enlightening reading it. She has not been asking for my help and I have to deliberately stay away so I don't volunteer. One thing I found very informational is the Ubuntu help. To be honest I never bothered to read it. Watching her use it she was grumbling about sudo. That caught my attention so I listened more... "Why do I care what sudo does?, why do I care about a command line?" were some of the statements I heard her utter. The one that really struck me was "on my Mac I *never* use command line..." Hmmmm, it was at that point I realized we (techies) assume everyone will need to sudo and use a terminal, if we did a better job of designing interfaces they wouldn't need to. In fact you have to hunt for the terminal application on a Mac. We have it in the accessiories menu. Something to think about.

At Red Hat I managed the Base OS group and that dealt with primarily userspace & plumbing so I never really thought about how to make it better. At Canonical I manage the Kernel Team and again I don't give the desktop much thought. I have been using Linux so long I remember when you had to configure FVWM to launch your applications. Anything that was easier than that to me has been a big win. I just take it for granted you need to do things different than Windows & Mac users do. Watching Amber struggle to understand things has given me a whole new appreciation as to the work we as a community need to do.

Amber managed to get on Freeenode and join #ubuntu-women and join the ubuntu-women mailing list (her first mailing list subscription ever!). The folks in the channel were very patient and supportive of her endvour with Linux. She is very much enjoying the community aspect of it all.

~pete

3 comments:

Stephen said...

P, no offense, but "duh?" Every remaining Linux distro is still built by and for techies. Ubuntu and Gnome have greatly improved functionality for the end user. Still, the community values freedom and control and the balance of having complete control of your computer is that little is done for you automatically. Again, Ubuntu has come miles forward, but Linux's problem in building market share is not with people willing to put in time with their machines, it's in keeping folks who just want their basic computing needs satisfied.

Freddy said...

Pete

Living in the Carolinas is great especially in the area you are in!
My home for life!

I've used Ubuntu now for 3 years and have no intention of ever going back. Yep, the last couple of years have been easier and easier, especially in wireless! All I have to say is thank you for all you guys do in giving us an awesome os. The price is not my favourite part! The experience is!

I've converted over about 40 machines in the past 6 months. Working on at least 1 per week. Folks donate them I load them up with Ubuntu and donate them out!

Thanks for giving me great software to provide for those who cannot get it on their own. And for the guy posting before me who says Ubuntu is for techies only, well I've turned many, many people on to Ubuntu only to have them call me yelling Thank you, thank you!


Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

1) You shouldn't *need* sudo. PolicyKit should deal with this functionality.

2) Linux works better than every other OS if an expert sets it up for you first (or you are the expert yourself).

Making the UI work exactly like a Mac is possible and just a matter of applying the right amount of resources.

As long as there are no major legal roadblocks with hardware, codecs etc
there is no big technical reason for
linux to not work for close to everyone.

And you can even keep your Windows (A KVM VM is pretty trivial to setup) and
you could even have your MAC too (all
running simultaneously) if apple did
not make that illegal.