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Journal: Linux for the masses

Journal by chtank

I have a thought/question/idea:
Has anyone made a survey to determain who uses and runs with Linux LiveCD's. It seems that Ubuntu is the most popular but there seem to be tens if not hundreds of LiveCD desktops for Linux and even a few for (gasp) MS Windows. I have tried since S.u.S.E. Linux 5.2 to find a Linux distribution I was comfortable with using and one which I could feel competant using in place of Windows. It seemed to me that all Linux distrobution wanted me to learn the system from the ground up, something that I neither had the disire nor the time to do. After all, I was forced to learn to use electronic documentation for engineering in the first place. I, like many users, had to use the computer in the workplace. I know there are many who find the computer to be a great toy, not a tool. So, the question is, who needs Linux if Windows is the tool or the toy that fills the need of the user? The answeer to this question is clear, Windows does not fill all these needs. Windows is too costly to use and, especially, to keep updating as each new version is presented. Windwos is insecure and crashes often. Linux offers security and scaleability and is opensource. The one thing that Linux has not offered in the past is useability for the casual and/or novice user. This is changing with the advent of the LiveCD and desktop. So, again, this leads us back to the question: "Which of the new LiveCD LInux Desktops most nearly fill the needs of the casual or novice computer user?" "What is it that makes one Desktop distribution more usable than another for the casual or novice user?"

Once I get going with LInux, it was the Distribution PCLinuxOS. It was the Synaptic Software Manager that came with with PCLOS that sold me. With it I could download and install the applications I wanted and removed those I did not want. I did not have to know how to configure the operating system or how to use commandline. All I had to do was find those applications that were close to the applications I was used to using with the Windows oeprating system, and with a brief learning curve, go to work again. The one problem is finding tutorials, howto's, and documentation for many of the applications. A suggestion for the application developers would be that the documentation be included in the download and install; some are not and that is one big headache for the casual and/or novice user.

I will point out, too, that I am an IRC Network Adinistrator for Deepsace.org, a network for disabled computer users, i.e., vision impaired, hearing impaired, physically impaired, and the elderly. Some of our users and staff are already Linux (and Unix) users and many are beginning to switch as the Accessibility Tools become more and more available to Linux. Keep in mind, a blind person needs to have text read to him or her. JAWS and other text to speech readers are phonitic and thus very poor spellers. Commandline demands perfect spelling, thus, commandline is NOT an option for most blind users. I might point out, too, that the vision impaired user uses large type, this includes many elderly, and extra big type also makes commandline difficult. The point and click is almost a must for the blind and elderly users and simplicity is also a requirement. Even Stephen Hawking has to use point and click. I think many of the Linux developers need to go to the W3C Accessibility standards and learn to use these standards in ALL of Linux and Linux Applications. One example is when looking at SAM Linux Distribution, one would see that the text on the black background is all but unreadable for a fully sighted person, much less one who si vision impaired. I had to highlight the text in order to read it.
Yours,
Charles H. Tankersley
aka, chtank-gramps-Q
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~chtank/
http://www.tke-haaai.org/chtank/
http://www.deepspace2.org/
 

Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed. -- Francis Bacon

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