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