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Caldera's 'Consumer Friendly' Linux 228

An anonymous reader sent us a link to a news.com story that talks about Caldera releasing a 'Consumer Friendly Linux' designed to allow the newbies to use it without touching a CLI.
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Caldera's 'Consumer Friendly' Linux

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Many are put of because they have heard linux is hard to install.

    Most people are normal people and this is what the need.

    After compiling their first kernel they can move over to debian.
  • Real consumers don't compile kernels.

    Not only will the average user (Mom/Grandma, Mr. PointyHairedBoss and/or his secretary) ever compile a kernel, they will never have a need for GCC or any of the other programming tools available. A true "consumer-oriented" Linux will not include these as they are unneccessary for anyone but programmers.

    A consumer-oriented Linux should include the following, IMHO:
    1. The base Linux system, including the BASH shell (it does come in handy at times).
    2. XFree86 and X-oriented configuration tools.
    3. One window manager which the buyer can choose (we have several, after all).
    4. A text editor that is not too complex (GEdit is good)
    5. A simple Works-like WP/spreadsheet/database app.
    6. A web browser/e-mail/newsreader (NOT considered as part of the OS!), such as Netscape Communicator.
    7. A good file manager (xfm isn't the best and the one that comes with GNOME doesn't always work).
    8. Probably some other consumer-oriented stuff that I can't think of right now (games, etc.).

    It should not include (although instructions on how to download them should be included for those who want to expand their knowledge):
    1. Programming tools. The average person will not use them.
    2. Emacs, vi, or the other geek-oriented editors.
    3. More than 1 shell (bash is good enough).

    I believe that this will be enough to de-geek Linux. For those who still want to use the programming tools and the command line, I say "go ahead!" There is plenty of room in the Linux world for all kinds of users. I personally use both the CLI and the GUI, depending on what I'm doing.

    And, once those who do want to expand their knowledge and have done so, they then can move over to Debian or Slackware.
  • Don't get me wrong here, I love KDE. KFM just seems a bit to me more like a browser than a filemanager, which of course it is... I'm sure many people like it the way it is, and I certainly don't hate it. I think it'd be nice if you could customize things one way for the browser and another for the filemanager (which konqueror may do? Can't wait for KDE 2.0!) ... Kexplorer will probably turn out being an excellent filemanager, but for the time being I am unable to use it (dies on me every time I try to do something.. :) I hope none of the KDE developers takes this as an insult, because I really do like kfm; it's the best filemanager I've used for X, but I just have those few issues with it, like most people do with a lot of software.

    I think my main point in the previous post was that you still need the CLI to do some stuff, and while this isn't a bad thing at all (I like the CLI), it means that Linux as a whole (even with KDE) isn't for complete beginners. Of course, a lot of the CLI stuff I'm referring to is editing configs, which you can do with kedit or kwrite, but that doesn't really count, because that's still not newbie-friendly (but maybe a bit more so that vi or emacs.. :)

    So, after another ramble, I wasn't knocking KDE at all, just making some points.
  • The problem is just what I said... *I* don't like it as much. I didn't say no one did. It's my opinion, and therefore cannot be right or wrong.

  • Historically, Linux has largely appeared as server software, but OpenLinux 2.2 is an attempt to reach an increasingly large group of people who want to try out the relatively new operating system.

    Relatively new compared to what? I'd bet that the vast majority of reporters (including the one who wrote the article) believe that Windows 95 predates Linux.

  • Ahhh.... you know... I've always thought that an OS should teach it's user how to use it. This may seem like a pretty simple idea and in some ways it's been done.

    Mac's have come with their little tutorial deal since th early years, but I was thinking more on the lines of the interface itself teaching the user and learning their habits.

    What people are missing is that the bulk of Linux was created because individuals needed specific features. Now some individuals need a working user interface because they want an easy to understand distribution... so what's the big deal?

    It's not like they are forcing you to use this distribution. They bring more users to the Linux scene, which means more jobs for Linux users/developers and tech support people.

    It's a win win situation.

  • The distributors would do Linux newcomers a great service if they would just ship their product with every line in inetd.conf commented out: that way, a new user would have to consciously turn on service x if she needed it.
  • there is a screwup under (any version) of Windows the users somehow think they are at fault? My personal experience as a user of MS OS's and those that I have supported has not followed the precepts you have outlined. Moreover, I had to reassure my users many times before they begin to understand that it is not reasonable to believe hitting a single wrong key should bring their system down or cause it to be irreversibly locked.

    I too have my doubts about the readiness of Linux for a massive influx of unsophisticated users. In particular, since UNIX (and by inference Linux) is inherently a multi-user system with major system administration tasks that are not easily automated. Moreover, unlike Win95/98 Linux has security features that are not circumvented with the ease of hitting the Cancel button on bootup.

    You may, however, be correct that some/many new users will have what they interpret as a poor experience in their introduction to Linux. Thereby, providing a damping effect upon others that might have considered this operating system. However, to not to put any effort in making those willing to try Linux a bit easier is the wrong path. In my case, my early experience ( not now ) is these users might be more offended by the brusque responses to their questions that advertise their inexperience with Linux.

    In other words: a few jerks can do more damage to the reputation of Linux quality than all the frustrations due to installations gone wrong.

  • You don't use Office, so nobody should care about Office? If you truely think that, you need to get a job in the real world. There's one hell of a lot of Office installed out there. Regardless if you happen to think it's boring or not, the majority of computers are installed in business.

  • >>>
    why do people consider this more userfriendly? it is so damn inefficient.

    Using a GUI file manager is more user-friendly because:
    1) you don't have to know the 'mv' command and its syntax.
    2) you don't have to type out the whole path without misspelling a single directory, or have to know that tab-completion makes it a little easier.

    And yes, it may be considered ineffecient. But you command-line zealots need to learn two things:
    1) User-friendliness and efficiency are, in most instances, opposite qualities in an interface. It's a rare interface that is both extremely easy to use and extremely efficient.
    2) Efficiency is not the be-all, end-all, ultimate aim of tools.
  • Of course I'm not saying that expert interfaces such as CLI are not useful. Yes, I use xterm a lot.

    And yes, when I go to my local Cantonese noodle shop, I can order my favorite noodles with sui-kau and squid balls (no, that's not what you may think.. ;o) without looking at the menu.

    But I had to look at the menu the first few times I went there, and I like to try something new now and then. You yourself claim to have been using UNIX for years, but it's those very years of use that gave you fluency with the command-line interface. You had to start somewhere, and as for me, I'd rather start out with an easy to use GUI.

    My problem is with the attitude that "GUIs are inefficient, and _I_ don't need them, therefore _no_one_ should need them. (And anyone who does is an idiot!)" And this is precisely what some people here seem to be saying.
  • >>>
    I'm always amused at how people have been confused into thinking that typing commands is evil. Which is easier? Searching through menus and looking for icons, or just typing "netscape&"?

    All right...

    "Welcome to my restaurant! We've got some wonderful meals for you today, and we'd love to serve them for you.

    "But I know how much of a hassle it is to browse through the menu, and read all those superfluous descriptions, and have to decide between the many choices available.

    "So to save you the effort, we've dispensed with menus. Instead, you can just tell your friendly waiter exactly what you want. Of course, you'll have to specify your choice exactly. And if we don't have what you ask for, all your waiter will do is silently shake his head.

    "So, sir what would you like today?..."

  • Are you for real?
  • I agree that cars are much more reliable than software systems but they also cost a lot more and have much slower release cycles. A car is very modular in design, which allows most functions to fail (eg. wipers) without stopping its primary function.

    Windows NT is closer to this when compared to Windows 95/98. We all know how bad Windows is at stability. Linux is even closer again but by no means perfect. Once the OS is reliable, and the software is well tested, I see no reason why the average user needs to know what is going on under the hood. Of course, there's no reason to PREVENT them from tinkering if they wish to do so, but it shouldn't be a requirement.

    The Linux distributions are like the car manufacturers. The kernel versions are different engine makes. Some are more stable and powerful than others, but what really matters is that whatever kernel is used, it's very well tested before a release. Once that is done and a (GUI) shell is built around it, why should you have to get your hands dirty if you don't want to?

    I admit Windows was very unsuccessful at hiding its guts using a GUI, but I think the Mac does a reasonably good job.

    My $0.02 :)

  • Posted by FascDot Killed My Previous Use:

    The only way to keep from having to re-partition is to have Linux come pre-installed--which is the only reason Win95 seems easier.
  • Posted by FascDot Killed My Previous Use:

    How could Linux be EASIER to install than RH5.2? Here are the steps I went through:

    1) Boot up
    2) Answer a couple basic questions (yes, I want to install...I speak English....this is a server...)
    3) Use the EXTREMELY simple partition table editor to create a partition.
    4) Let it work

    That's it. This is easier than Win95.
  • Posted by Mike@ABC:

    Geez...if Go needs traffic that badly, I don't think posting to Slashdot will help, do you??

    I'm posting primarily to start discussions and see what people think. That helps me get a better grip on things when I do my job, which only helps produce better stuff for my readers. It's that nifty Net symbiosys thing.

    As for experience, I've installed and use Red Hat 5.1 on my testing machine, and have the fried brain cells to prove it -- I write about tech, but I'm not a techie. Can't wait to test out Caldera's release, though.

    But hey, thanks for your constructive criticism.

  • Okay, first - I have no problem with what Caldera is doing - it's a great idea. But I am really getting sick of the terminology of assuming "Consumer" means "newbie". I like CLIs. I am a programmer. I am also a Consumer. Just not the *kind* of consumer this product is targetted at.

    Geeks are consumers too.

  • Caldera's inclusion of Partition Magic in the install program is the real benefit here.

    I think you're right.

    I suspect that a lot of would-be Linux users turn back while reading the documentation for FIPS. Once the disk has been partitioned, installing Linux is a piece of cake (assuming that your hardware is supported).


    PS. Nothing against FIPS; it's a great program.

  • Why do you think they want to add more to that pool? Money. Moneymoneymoney! What else? I don't think the whole "pretty GUI on Linux for all the (l)users" is so wonderful. Linux as it is now makes the user actually LEARN something. Now we're just gonna encourage stupidity? Oh. Great. Wonderful.
  • No, THIS is what happened during your install:

    1) Boot up.
    2) Answer some basic questions(This is a server)
    3) You edited a partition table with a simple editor

    (You proceed with the install, and, having selected 'Server', have 3 times more bloat installed on your box, including many, MANY daemons that Red Hat Will later find holes in, yet, not knowing what's running, becouse you selected Server install, never get updated leaving your server wide open. Oh, and you're wasting 25% of your drive becouse you didn't use the partition editor exactly right, and it doesn't tell you you didn't utilize it correctly. You really didn't KNOW that once you divided it to three primary partitions without using an extended partition you where dead in the water..Oh, and upon bootup, while initing a module you didn't know about, it locks up your machien.. Doh! Partitions corupt, gotta fck it.. Doh! Bad INODES!!)

    I'll stop now.. ;-P
  • I truely can't wait to see it..
  • It all depends on the person..

    Some like to type it, some like to click it.. This way, we provide both..
  • No, it's not.. The GUI is NOT on top of a CLI. X Windows exists without x CLI.. Ever seea CLI in an X Terminal?
  • Yes, but I wasn't really impressed.. It's autodetection is done by loading EVERY module, and seeing which ones worked.. It's the kernel itself autodetecting, not the installer.. In the case of the X installation, it's calling X --probe (I think) to detect things..

    And yes, I KNOW about man rpm and man --help. I also know that I can buy a Chiltons to see everything about my car, but I'd much rather be able to just add some oil without having to READ it.. ;-P
  • Red Hat's installation is severely lacking. It ISN'T a good installation process. What improvments have they made over the original Slackware install? Not all that much.

    What they improved is being able to maintain a system with a simple package based system.

    Corell's system will continue to USE this system, but ADD the front end that it really does lack.. RPM could do so much more, if you didn't have to remember every switch it used..
  • Really? So the 20 Million copies of Office currently in use will cease to exist in 8 months? Wow.. So.. Have you called CNN yet? They may want to cover THAT event..
  • ...but SuSE Linux 6.0 ships with the 2.2.x kernel (albiet only as an option.)
  • No joke.

    Seems that the clueless variety of computer users are under the delusion that you *have* to go through the CLI at all times to have a non-sucking OS.

    It's like masturbation. You're just fscking yourself.

    Quite frankly, I pity the folks
  • What does not matter? What do you mean, "Built on top of a CLI?"

    The CLI is a shell. A shell is just a program. Linux is not the shell; Linux is not the CLI. Linux is the kernel, which does *not* have a CLI. The kernel controls memory, CPU use, program context-switching, and low-level I/O. The CLI controls launching programs from a command-line-interface (hence the name).

    The GNU portion of a typical Linux system is mostly made up of CLI-based programs. A lot of programs are geared to the CLI.

    X is not a CLI, nor is it built on a CLI. X is a set of system functions for low-level display and input-device handling. There are X programs that do not use a CLI at all.

    I'm not sure what you are complaining about; are you upset because there /is/ a CLI for Linux, or are you complaining because there is something /other than/ a CLI? I hope you are not complaining that X is just a hack on top of a CLI, because then I'd have to suggest you learn something about system design before commenting.
  • by gas ( 2801 )
    > I like Linux fdisk lots, but it's surely not easy.

    cfdisk is.
  • ooops... yup, that was too obvious. ;)

    What I wanted to say was that I think it read about a more open standard for storing information. But I cant remember where I read it and as I wont buy/use Office 2000 anyway I dont really care either. (That, of course, until someone wants... ummm... forces me to read something stored by Office 2000)
  • With Word having 95% market share it's pretty useless to have anything like it w/o being able to read those crappy .doc files.

    On the other hand you're probably right about the proprietary formats. I think I even read somewhere that Office 2000 would use a different approach in storing things.
  • oh, wait, I see, you mean Command-Line Interface. Nevermind.
  • , they'll be on to something. A text-only installation program just isn't going to be that dramatic a hardship for most folks. If nobody can address them, though, Linux isn't going to stay on most users' desktops as a replacement for Windows.
  • I'm always amused at how people have been confused into thinking that typing commands is evil. Which is easier? Searching through menus and looking for icons, or just typing "netscape&"?

    People are so afraid of anything that isn't point and click, even when point and click isn't faster or easier.

    Andrew Gardner
  • Because Office is actually a quite nice app (just because MS writes crappy OSes doesn't mean that every app they make sucks), and is the standard for many companies. It doesn't have to be office however. WordPerfect does and OK job giving some of the same functionality and giving some level of compatability, and koffice should be even better when it leaves beta later this year.
  • You are wrong. Now let me tell you some of the reasons why:

    1. Lets first assume you are right, and that all this happens, lots of apps are written for user friendly linux systems, and the split happens. Where will the hacker be left. Well just where he would have been if none of it had happened: using the apps we have and the Free Software has and will develop but none of those commercial apps. However, without the user friendliness the commercial wouldn't have existed anyways. I'd rather have more choice than less.

    2. Vendor specific versions of products are a myth. All they mean is "we only have so many lame tech support people, so unless you're running a stock redhat install we won't try to figure this out", which I find reasonable. Any expirienced linux user can figure out a package's dependencies, what libc, what other libs, what little apps, ect. I've used applixware, star office, and wordperfect. I believe all asked for redhat or a couple others. My machine is a mutation upon a distribution a couple of guys in a dorm I used to live in wrote a while back, and it barely even resembles that. I've never had a problem.

    3. GUI consitency is a good thing. However, have you looked at KDE's "apply KDE styles to non-kde apps" feature. Using all sorts of xresources you can produce a workable hack to simulate this without moving everything to a new toolkit. On the other had, if everyone could agree on a higher level toolkit the way everyone has on xlib, that would be a-ok for me.

    4. Don't fear the newbie. We were all newbies once. Some will just get stuff done, others will join the ranks of the hackers. Neither is bad.
  • Autoupdate is a bad example. How about the way that some of the BSD systems allow you to with one command grab the latest cvs source and rebuild much of the system. Same idea, different implementation. As for GUIs. Of course they've been around since the PARC days of inovation. Smalltalk, ethernet, and the concept of OO Programming also came from PARC around the same time. We wrestle with how to deal with that stuff to this day, as well we should.
  • I once had the idea (and I occasionally rant about it (especially when intoxicated)) that we should have a sysadmin cabal that runs everyones' systems, because most people have no business whatsoever admining their computer (any more than I have any business adminning the power grid).
  • The problem with Windows is that its easy to use and has a GUI. I thought that was its strength.

    It's weakness IMHO, is that its buggy, crash-prone, and less powerful. The GUI doesn't suck the code doesn't.

    It's all in the code, not in making the linux user 31337(tm).
  • Try comparing it to an aircraft, and you will see what i mean. You don't need to know how an aircraft works, but if you don't spend time understanding HOW they fly, you will crash often. Trying to make a dumb "push to take off" "push to land" aircraft interface will lead to alot of idiots dieing...

    then again, that may not be such a bad idea...

  • does netscape run from a cli (ala lynx)? Nope. It uses a gui. Well if you're going to use a gui in your apps then you might as well use a gui to access them. It takes me half a second to click on the netscape icon on the side of my screen
  • if you like MS apps then use Windows. People come to linux because they want an alternative to MS. Not all of them want to put up with a cli. We won't need MS Office if Wordperfect can read .doc files. Don't need IE because there's Netscape. Quicken-yes there's a need for that.
  • it's about time. Linux with a GUI AND an easier install (thanks to Partition Magic bundle) AND real support from Caldera
  • This is a very good development.

    Me, I prefer the CLI. Red Hat's install is very easy, and I hear Debian is relatively painless too.

    But for your average computer user, they don't really care what the OS is, so long as they can play games and send e-mail. I believe people will sit up and take notice of a packaged OS that is:

    • Inexpensive.
    • Easy to install.
    • Rock-solid. (Imagine, no more BSOD!)
    • In most cases, does not require hardware upgrades.
    • Won't have you over a barrel for "upgrades" every couple years.

    Partition Magic is a good product. WordPerfect is a very capable editor. Of course Netscape is built in.

    And some new users will appreciate the freedom in both senses of that word.

    I believe that an easy-to-install, easy to use distro can only be good for Linux and for computer users. Congratulations, Caldera!

  • On the other hand you're probably right about the proprietary formats. I think I even read somewhere that Office 2000 would use a different approach in storing things.

    That is SOP (standard operating proceedure) for Microsoft. It is not surprising that Office 2000 will have some different way to do things. Sorry, just seemed like such an obvious statement. :)


  • ok, time to argue semantics... heheheh, weeks after the article got posted...

    you are mixing the concepts user-friendly and easy to use. User-friendly i think defines anything that makes the computing experience nice for the user. Sure, it might be easier to figure out how to find a file in a long nested subfolder, and drag it to another deeply nested subfolder... but i don't see how this is friendly to the user when they can just type a simple command...

    ah well...

  • and besides... once you even figure out the basics of a CLI, it is sooo much more efficient. I hate using GUIs when i have to do stuff that takes a second in a shell....


    mv /some/ridiculously/long/path/to/my/file /the/other/really/long/path/where/i/now/want/my/fi le

    in macos or windoze (if you don't know dos) you have to go open up windows till you get to the original location of the file, then close all those or minimize them or something, and drag the file through nested layers of windows to the new place you want your file.

    why do people consider this more userfriendly? it is so damn inefficient.

  • I personally believe that Caldera making a user-friendly Linux distro is a good idea, because it makes Linux accessible to more users. However, just a fancy GUI won't be enough. What is needed is applications.

    Yes, it brings StarOffice and WordPerfect. Guess what... users of other Operating Systems will have no idea what Star Office is, and while WordPerfect has a following, mainstream users don't use it much. People want THEIR apps, such as Quicken, Word, and (haha) Internet Explorer. They already know how to use those, and they don't want to change. COL could have a CLI, but as long as users could type in commands like "Quicken", "Word", or "Internet Explorer", they'll be happy. Of course, a nice GUI would help, but apps are needed. Maybe when these apps are exactly cloned or the manufacturer ports them, Linux will be excellent for newbies. But for now, servers and the computing elite will mainly be the users of Linux.

    Armando Rojas - Member of SALOS
    Society for the Advancement of the Linux Operating System
  • Hopefully, this will increase Linux exposure to the people who were to scared to get it before :)
  • if yo've ever used the macos, you'd realize it's a whole lot closer to a cli than windoze or any of the window managers in *nix. The finder is truly a thing of beauty - you act directly on your files, no browser that has to be manually refreshed, and you know immediately what's happening where.
    In kde (or any other x-window system) you're dragging files around with no indication (highlighting) to let you know whether the files you're moving are going in a folder or subfolder. try grabbing the middle 5 out of folder of 10 things and copying them to another directory - on the mac you'll be moving on to other things before yo'd even finish typing filenames on the command line.
    the cli -vs- gui winner depends purely on the work you're doing. if you need to move massive files, create logs, do keewl strings of pipes while typing and typing (with occasional glances at that handy command reference book), use the command line. Otherwise, a well-done gui can let you manage files without having to become a sysadmin.
  • hmm...
    opening Xterm (or moving to it if it's already open) and typing in 'netscape&' or double-clicking on the Mozilla icon conveniently placed on your desktop...
    let me think...

  • Seriously. Thank you for pointing that out to me.
    I'd rather be wrong once, and be corrected, than go running around looking like an idiot.

    Thanks Ymerej.

    Hey... just wondering... your name wouldn't happen to be Jeremy? Cool, that's mine too. (I apologize for the stupid observation.) ;-)

  • No, not quite that many... unless I actually used them all.
    And they also have to fit in with my desktop.
    If I can put them around a picture or if my desktop is a tile it's ok.
    Right now I've got 34 icons on my desktop.
    I use 'em all.
    Easy access to all the programs I use.
    Much easier than opening Xterm and typing it in... or swiching to Xterm and typing it.
    I like my icons. They are my friends.

  • People have been talking about making Linux easy ever since it came out. Red Hat's distribution made it within reach of technologically savvy people, but still, it ain't "for Dummies" yet.

    Caldera's move is a big gamble not only because of the capital outlay, but for brand recognition. Red Hat has always been about usability; witness the installation vis-a-vis Slackware, and how hard they are working on GNOME.

    Red Hat is not going to jeopardize its name (a name now worth millions) with a release that it brands "for everyone" unless the distribution has full functionality (or at least, full newbie functionality) from the GUI and is well-supported. When that happens, you're going to see it pre-installed with Dell family computers, just like how it's coming with Dell servers now. It's going to be a big event, so big that they'll have a press kit even ZDNet writers can understand.
  • The important thing to note is that even in your example, there is a change of paradigm: I want to run Netscape and do almost everything via point-and-click. However, to get into Netscape, I have to go to the command prompt and type in its name.

    I find it inconvenient to have to switch between the paradigms if I am editing text files or simply switching between windows, and I think that newbies must find it confusing, to say the least.

    A user interface must have several attributes, including simplicity and consistency. If you try to teach a newbie how to use a GUI, you wouldn't teach him to run Netscape from the command line. After all, he's already confused as to what the difference between the Internet, e-mail, and the Web is, and why he has to click a button to check his e-mail. Keyboard shortcuts are almost as bad to introduce at this stage.
  • ...the consumer market...think about it. You have all the raw power and reliability of a linux or whatever running underneath and a pretty gui up top (can you say MacOS X?), then what happens when you have grandma getting core dumps all day long and has no idea what to do? Phone your on-call sysadmin. Companies do it now, homes could do it in the future. Serious money issues to work out, but hey, it might work. :-)

  • I would venture to say that all [IBM] PC hardware is by definition because of the limited number of IRQs and DMA channels available.

    I've seen a few new PCs (especially laptops), that ship from the factory with exactly zero free IRQs. Adding new hardware is going to be a fight under any operating system. (And don't even tell me about IRQ sharing which I've only seen work reliably once with 2 Intel NICs and an Intel motherboard.)

    Of course Intel, MS, IBM and the other powers-that-be haven't really done any thing to address this situation, except propose more IRQ sucking expansion interfaces such as USB and FireWire.

    If you are only interested in Linux, Mac hardware* is an obvious solution to this. Sure, you are paying a few hundred dollars more, but think of the hours of resource fucking that you'll avoid over the life of the machine. That is, as the saying goes, unless your time has no value.

    Admittedly the name brand PC stuff is better, but Creative Labs just informed me that my AWE64 Gold (name brand) is not supported on my Compaq EISA system (also name brand), although I can kinda sorta make it work.

    * I don't know if Alpha hardware avoids this problem or is based on the same broken 1984 PC AT design.

  • And all remarkably useless to the newbie Linux installer (because he doesn't have Linux yet!)
  • Note that I was referring to the RedHat partitioner, and not fdisk.

    How can I tell you about the bugs when you are an AC?


  • I like Linux fdisk lots, but it's surely not easy.

    I've never had a the Windows NT formatter or boot loader step on my partitions, which is one very minor data point in it's favor. Linux's behavior in this regard is buggy and not good. Y'all have worked around it, so it might not seem that pressing, but it's a big user adoption issue.

  • Arrghh. A "steep learning curve" means that one learns a lot in a small amount of time. Therefore, if something is hard to learn, or takes a long time to get up to speed on, etc., the learning curve is shallow, not steep. "Learning curve" refers to a graph of time on the X axis and skill, knowledge, ability, etc. on the Y axis. It doesn't bother me that much when a non-technical person uses it incorrectly, but it irks the hell out of me when I see technical people refer to the "Linux Learning Curve" as steep. I know, I know, people use it wrong all the time, but it's ignorant. Soon the wrong meaning will be in the dictionary, if it isn't already! AARrghhhhh. I promise I won't flame about this again for a year.
  • I have been following the discussion about Consumer Linux. The CLI aficionados seem to be offended that Caldera is adding the Lizard to the distribution. Correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I know Caldera is not taking anything out of Linux. It is simply adding the Lizard to make the OS more user-friendly for new Linux users. I think of it as more being Linux on training wheels, not as a lobotomized Linux. So long as Caldera doesn't remove anything from the Consumer Linux product I don't see what the commotion is all about.

    This situation reminds me of the time when Windows first came out and the die-hard DOS fans treated it like it was sacrilege. They called Windows DOS with a clown suit. Now I agree that the OS under Windows leaves a lot to be desired, but the user interface is great for end-users. I think that some of the difference of opinion may have something to do with what people have grown use to using. Doing business in DOS is a different experience from using the GUI of Windows. I had to relearn how to use a PC in order to get the greatest benefit from the GUI of Windows. I still use the CLI of the MS-DOS command prompt from time to time, but I've been doing more and more work with the GUI tools. The MS-DOS vs Windows debate prompted me to write a bit of doggerel that goes as follows:

    You've Got To Be Carefully Taught
    You've got to be taught to hate and fear,
    you've got to be taught from year to year.
    It's got to be drummed into your dear little ear,
    you've got to be carefully taught.

    You've got to be taught to be afraid,
    of interfaces that accept user input that's not keyboard made,
    And interfaces whose screen output is a graphical shade,
    you've got to be carefully taught.

    You've got to be taught before it's too late,
    before you are six or seven or eight,
    to hate interfaces that are up to date,
    you've got to be carefully taught!
    You've got to be carefully taught!

    (With apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein)

    (Sorry I couldn't resist.) :)

    At about this same time I remembered having read an article where it was claimed that Mac users used about twice as many software packages as their IBM PC DOS counterparts. I credit this to the consistent user interface of the Mac. People like to talk about write once, run anywhere programs. The GUI of the Mac and Windows is a learn once, use anywhere user-interface. You don't have to keep reinventing the user-interface wheel for each new application that an end-user installs on his or her Windows PC or Mac. I'm pretty sure that the corporate market is going to demand a similar consistent user interface in any Linux productivity applications. Training and support costs are such that it is the only sane course of action. Otherwise, Linux will end up being a boutique OS that will fail to claim the desktop.

    FWIW for those who are wondering about my Linux background I have successfully installed Red Hat Linux 4.2, 5.0, 5.1, and 5.2. I have also installed KDE 1.0 and 1.1, Star Office 5.0 Personal Edition, WordPerfect 8 for Linux, Adobe Acrobat 3.0, Netscape 4.51, and I use the kppp dialer to connect with a local ISP. My sound card is fully configured and functional, as is my CD-ROM, and I can read my Windows/DOS partitions from Linux. I did this with the assistance of the HOW-TOs and a couple of books about Linux. I'm probably a run-of -the mill Linux newbie. Virtually all my installs worked SOTB, as did the X-Windows system. When X-Windows worked SOTB it was almost anti-climatic, what with all the horror stories that I had read. I know quite well from first hand experience the steep learning curve associated with the Linux OS. If Caldera can make this process easier with various GUI wizards I say more power to them.
  • I hate the network config part of the setup. To set my ethernet card I had to go to the maker's web-page and look at the specs, just to find out it was a clone of the ne200 (which appears as ne2K in the installation program
  • In a lot of ways I don't want the "masses" using Linux - I think it just cheapens it. Besides, I already have enough conversations with morons in one day, why would Caldera want to add more to that pool? Ninja skills is right.
  • I have several friends who have seen me spend more time on Linux and less on Windows. They're interested, especially because of the price. They've even seen how easy some software installations go (./configure, make, make install).
    Most of them are rather impressed with the fact that once Linux is installed it is almost crashproof (I haven't managed to crash mine yet).
    On the other hand, many times Windows will crash the first time it goes to install Plug-and-Pray (no typo) devices.
    Digital Wokan, Tribal mage of the electronics age
  • Trying to make a dumb "push to take off" "push to land" aircraft interface will lead to alot of idiots dieing...

    Actually a lot of people crash (and burn) in their stupid cars every day. Cars are really no more reliable than the combination of all drivers on the road.
  • actually it does have package descriptions... try F1 i think. but i know that i does.
  • I installed RH5.2 just fine. But you
    can't expect general public to RTFM.
    Besides, I am not aware of any snapshots,
    or good detailed description of packages.
    It didn't even tell me what other packages
    I needed for each of them. Good thing I had
    a clue. I was still surprised to see the
    little amount of info given out (at least by
  • RedHat install does not describe the packages it is
    about to install, so a new user who never heard of,
    say, pine, and who saw its description as a mail
    program might think it's Eudora for Linux. An install
    that does not explain what the software is (preferably
    including snapshots), just doesn't cut it.
    They do have good hardware detection though.
  • Nice, succint, thought provoking, non-confrontational, peace-making, and intelligent.

    If I were a moderator, I'd bump your post's score a point.

  • That's funny - netscape is in /usr/bin...

    And if you don't know where something is, there's always "locate"...
  • I should make a point about partitioning. For most of us, it's just another step in the os. as another guy said, someone would rather pull teeth than partition. But I must say this, atleast linux, regardless of RH or debian (my favorite ), and I think even slackware says you have to do it (or prompts you to). What about windoze? Unfortunately, I've installed 95 moretimes than I can count. Take this senerio (anyone correct me if I'm wrong, I do as much through CLI on windoze as I can). You get a new hard drive (nothing installed!), you stick it in the machine. Ok, you put in the cdrom boot disk and install 95.. It won't install, it gives some kinda crap about drive 'C'. Nowhere did it say I have to partition my drive. Humph, imagine that. nt does force you to use a partition, but how many average joes use nt? (Uh, lets not start about w2k. Humph, sounds like the millennium bug to me ) Email me if I am wrong about something here... Just remove all references to 'no spam' (shouldn't be that hard =)
  • Come on now, M$ OSes have been 'training' their users since inception, rather than the users training their OS...

    It crashes when you do this; you stop doing it. It slows down when you run this; you plan your activities around less usage of that program... GPFs pop up whenever this happens, so you stop making that happen.

    It should be both ways; take the Palm, in which you are taught how to communicate with the OS, but are still free to use the OS the way you want to. The OS should adapt to the user at least as much as the user to the OS.. That's uesr friendly, I think.

    I like your closing arguments though, and it is a win win situation because there will always be several distros of linux.

    The netPC distro, for example, that is user-agnostic, only one user at a time, no settings for security or privacy or safety besides the defaults, no server or multi-user functionality, all for dumb clients for non-brilliant people.

    The desktopPC, slightly more loose than the netPC distro, with ability for multiple user preferences, applications, and such. Still no server functionality, and security settings are at a minimum to prevent people from screwing with it; ownership of files, directories, etc...

    and then you have your conventional serverPC distro, much like Linux is now, and then the superPC distro, for Supercomputers, and even your beoPC distros...

  • Wahh. My post level got set to 1. What happened? It was 3 this morn!

    Anyhow, some issues:
    Why should a newbie care about compiling a kernel? Why should they *have* to deal with bash, csh, zsh, etc? Why should they deal with security? Why should they deal with services? Perhaps Linux isn't the best solution for these people, but the alternative is either MacOS or Windows.

    In a similar vein, if you aren't a mechanic but own a car, why should you care about the suspension arms? The drivetrain? The number of valves and nature of the cams of your engine? How the ignition and safety lock features work?

    It's nice for you to know some of these things, but you don't/shouldn't need to know any of these things to use your car.

    Similarly, you shouldn't need to deal with all the above in your OS in order to use your computer...

  • To the best of my understanding of your post, I have an objection:

    Misleading a newbie and making them further removed from their tools is like saying "We know finding a job is hard. Now you don't have to. Welfare for the common man."

    To a certain market, the non computer literate, the PC is not the tool, the OS is not the tool, but the apps they use atop their OS atop their PC is their tool. Office. Netscape. Email. Games. Etc. Their OS is as important to them as the color of the paper in their morning newspapers. Just like many could care less the cylinders, valves, bore, and litres their car engines carry, as long as their car can be used to take them where they are needed, and look good while doing so.

    Would you have us all understand our cars, our toasters, our TVs, our microwaves in a similar way to the way I or you may understand our PC?

    I don't care how my toaster works, as long as I can set the toast level. Or how my microwave works, as long as it cooks meat, chicken, heats pre-made dinners, and leftovers, and makes my popcorn.

  • I'm going to take a gamble and bet some comments will be up soon as to the elite and special nature of Linux, and how this is going to ruin everything...

    Or on how by dumbing down the OS this way, Linux will be no more and no better than Windows...

    Maybe a tiny fraction of Linux users feel this way. Thing is, they kind of look like they're made out of straw.

    Or how Linux is their OS, meant and built for hackers, and not meant for idiots, newbies, the clueless, or the Great Unwashed Masses...

    The idea that Linux is "meant and built for hackers" is, IMO, true, and it does have some important implications for this discussion.

    Not to mention the vagueness of your suggestions, they are not trivial to implement. Why? Because Linux was not designed to be this kind of system from the start.

    "Zero administration" is the holy grail of people who wish to bring their operating systems to the "great unwashed masses." Seek it if you wish.

    As it stands, Linux is extremely conducive to productive hacking. In this respect, it's been "a good thing but not perfect" for a very long time.
    If other people want to make it easy for me to do other things with it, or easy for other people to do other things with it as well, that's fine. Thanks. I needed that.
  • The command line is superior because of its power and flexibility. Take this simple example, you wish to change the name of all the files in a directory - adding a prefix.

    DOS ren *.* dit*.*
    Windows - do it individually

    Now which is easier, be honest or punish with your RSI.
    And that is DOS, imagine what you can do with the tools Linux/UNIX has.
  • As one who despised Windows 3 I am offended by your inference that I was unwilling to relearn/learn.

    I do not use Caldera, so I am less concerned with the fact that they changed their dist than the fact that it is heralded as an achievement. I am sorry but I watched as ease of use infected WINDOS, to the point of plug and play and the return of hieroglyphics.

    As long as the command line exists, not in the NT format, I am a happy camper. And I also have a problem with the presumption that most people are too lazy/stupid to use the command line.

  • The thing that I like about GUIs is that it is possible to give clues as to what the user can do, e.g. tooltips, underlined words that allow alt key shortcuts, etc. this allows for fast navigation--well, at least as fast as the increased resource strain allows. DOS, and therefore Windows, came from this line of thinking that things need to be navigable and fully usable with a keyboard--WP for DOS users didn't have a mouse to use, generally. I can press win, u, s, Enter to shut down the computer, and I found this out by _simply looking around_, not poring over manpages in my free time.

    One of the things I liked when IE4 came out was the address bar in the local navigation--I can type the damn thing in myself if I want to.

    One thing that the CLI could use to help out would be a line somewhere to show the arguments that need passing. the TI-89 has a basic help built in--maybe that could help as I wouldn't have to consult a manpage every time I wanted to do something but forgot something. on the other hand, this would annoy anybody that knows the commands like the back of their hand.

  • I will never forget the time I was on IRC recently, and was helping someone with PPP setup. He told me that the last time he had configured it in X, so he didn't know how to do it from the command line. It cracked me up.

    I actually had a similar experience. Although from the point-of-view of your friend.

    Prior to Linux, most of my experience was with Irix -- so I was used to doing things through the GUI. When I finally got around to installing Linux on my PC, I kept on trying to setup my net access through linuxconf, and assorted GUI equivalents -- I had absolutely no idea what pppd was, nor even that it existed, and could not figure out why it wouldn't work. I finally enlisted the help of a friend, whose first comment was to the order of, "Huh? You haven't even run 'man pppd' yet!"

    "Umm... no... what's pppd?"
    - Sean
  • 83 desktop icons!

    ...but then, I'm just weird...

    And that's in NT. Under X, I only have 29, and even those are accessed via GNOME drawers.

    (BTW: somewhat offtopic, but... does anyone know how to configure the GNOME panel / Enlightenment so that the drawers automagically slide out on top of any existing windows? It's always annoying opening the drawers, then having to rollup any existing windows so that I can get at the launchers that are obscured by said windows.)
    - Sean
  • Good waiters have command-line completion:
    "Let's see... fish, you said? Well we have..."

    Not analogous at all. Perhaps it would be if available commands were along the lines of 'file-copy', 'file-move', 'file-link-create', 'file-delete', 'directory-make', 'directory-remove' and so on...

    If this were the case, then a user could type 'file [tab]' and it would respond with a list of available file operations.

    This would be analogous to the restaurant-goer saying 'fish' and getting a list of different fish dishes (arg -- tongue-twister!) available.

    As it is, though, the user has to be able to type (for example), 'mk [tab]' to get a list including 'mkdir' and so on. What is there that indicates to the new user that 'mk' has anything to do with creating directories? (Ok... bad example -- mkdir exists in DOS also -- but you know what I mean).

    This is more analogous to the diner going into the restaurant and saying 'cala' to get a list of dishes that might include 'calamari'. Not terribly useful unless he/she already knew that calamari was available.

    If you look at it from the point of a new user who hasn't a clue what to do once confronted with a command-line, it is exactly like the diner going into a restaurant and being confronted with a waiter that expects them to 'know' what they want and what is on the menu and how much it costs, etc.

    Sure, sure, the new user can type 'man [command]'. Again, not terribly useful unless they already know what the command is. That's useful when you know a command and want to find out what it does, but not when you have a procedure in mind, but want to find out how to do it.

    Info is a great utility in this regard. How many newbies will instantly type 'info' to find out what commands are available? Obviously, only the ones who know about info. I didn't; not until I had been using Linux for a week or more. Granted, I already knew a lot of what commands were available (prior experience with Unix), but a lot of newbies won't.

    If you aren't going to hand the diner a menu, at least let them know where one can be found. Perhaps the first n times the user logs in, they should be presented with a message to the effect of, "Type 'info' for a list of available commands." or some such. Or maybe have a little 'help' bar always sitting on the top row of the CLI screen (even one that can be mouse-activated) that informs the user of 'man', 'info', 'startx' and a few others. (obviously, you should be able to easily turn this off via a conf file setting in /etc.)

    That simple change would be a vast improvement over the existing setup. If you aren't going to hand the customer a menu, at least point out where they can find a pile of them themselves. And it shouldn't be too far away!
    - Sean
  • And if you don't know where something is, there's always "locate"...

    sigh -- and how many newbies are gonna know of the existance of "locate"?

    Not arguing that the CLI is bad -- but it needs improvement for the newbie...
    - Sean
  • Agreed that there need to be more consumer oriented applications.

    The basic office stuff looks like a solved problem (maybe not finished, but solved), but then there's the entertainment/recreational/educational software niches to fill. When can I get a "Jumpstart First Grade" or "Sesame Street Numbers" equivalent so my kids can be using Linux?

    That they need to be free, though isn't true. Yes, it'd be nice if they were, but most consumers don't care about that (as evidenced by the success of non-free software).
  • You would be amazed at the number of people that would rather pull their own teeth (sans whiskey, even!) than face your #3.

  • by TedC ( 967 )
    They need to be better than the Windows shit and they need to be free.

    Are you talking about free speech here, or free beer? It's not clear from the context.


  • I'd bet that the vast majority of reporters (including the one who wrote the article) believe that Windows 95 predates Linux.

    It does, in a way.

    Contrary to what MS would like people to believe, there's still MS-DOS code left in Windows 95. Not a lot, maybe, but it's waaay down deep.


  • Make it the buyer's choice: Penguin Premium Pilsner or Penguin Light (Tastes Great, Less Disk Space).

    I would prefer a nice, dark Linux Lager myself. :-)


  • Why is everyone saying that Linux has to offer MSOffice in order to be competitive against Microsoft? Are these reporters so dense that they can't see the irony in what they write?

    The writing is on the wall, proprietary formats won't survive the millenium.
  • It was a 1 when it made me snicker. Let's see which way it goes.
  • I have no idea how my car works, yet I drive it every day.

    Why should people have to know how their computers work just to write email, browse the web, etc?

    The big benefit of a real Consumer Linux is that its probably way more stable than doing the same level of tasks on a Windows box, and its much easier for your techie friend to quickly fix something (or even remotely!) than wading through a bunch of dialog boxes under windows.

    Perhaps a consumer Linux should work kind of like the way Kai's Power Tools does? Exposes more functionality to users that explore all the tools available?

    Reward the curious users, and give the others the benefit of a crash-free desktop experience.

    Turning the task of learning Linux into a kind of discovery process seems a lot better than just dumping a CLI on someone and saying, "Here you go! Feel the power yet?".

  • by Matrix ( 290 ) on Tuesday April 13, 1999 @04:09PM (#1936193) Homepage
    My opinion on a "user-friendly" Linux is always in a state of flux. Right now, Linux is NOT as newbie-friendly as Windows it. KDE is the best thing we have going for us there, but even with KDE, useability is just not quite that of Windows. Such being the case, simplifying the install is not necessarily in everyone's best interest. So a newbie installs Linux just fine, but doesn't know what this "root" thing is. Perhaps there is something that (for the time being) requires the use of the CLI. You can just hear the newbies saying "bash? What the heck is this?" as they stare blankly at an xterm. I fully believe that KDE will fill most of the gaps for newbies, but it's just not 100% there yet.

    But there are also some things that newbies may never get if they don't take the time to learn. The kernel (invariably spelled kernal by them) is a mystery. What does compile mean? Why should I change my kernel? What IS a kernel? Let's not also forget that Linux is a networking OS. There are lots of services running (normally) and what if one is exploitable? Sure, your distribution may release a new package or such, but a newbie doesn't know what Bugtraq is, or doesn't even know that he is running an exploitable service. He goes onto IRC and before you know it, he's been rooted (Or 0wned if you try to sound "kewl"). Of course, this is Linux's fault, not his, and this would never have happened in Windows! Don't tell me newbies (for the most part) don't think like this.

    I think it would be great if Linux got more popularity, but we need to realize that it is NOT Windows. I think if someone wants to run Linux, they need to take the time to learn things about it. If you want an idiot-proof (well, fairly idiot-proof) OS use MacOS or Windows. But if you have a NEED for what Linux offers (Server usage, and otherwise) or if you're curious and actually have the initiative to READ and LEARN, then I think using Linux is a good idea. You really do learn lots of great things while using Linux, as long as you don't expect it to do everything for you.

    OK, so my post rambles and doesn't have any clear point ... Just some of my opinions.. :)
  • by gavinhall ( 33 ) on Tuesday April 13, 1999 @03:52PM (#1936194)
    Posted by Mike@ABC:

    Have to say, you hit the nail on the head. Would that others would learn from your insights...!
  • by gavinhall ( 33 ) on Tuesday April 13, 1999 @02:02PM (#1936195)
    Posted by Mike@ABC:

    Sure, there's not a lot of demand for newbie Linux distributions, but you can bet RedHat is kicking itself for not doing it first. Eventually, Linux will find its way to the consumer space, and Caldera will be ready, willing and able. Heck, there are already consumer-folk out there wondering about Linux.

    It's a gamble, but it's a very good one.
  • by IntlHarvester ( 11985 ) on Tuesday April 13, 1999 @03:21PM (#1936196) Journal

    If you folks think that RedHat's install is some paradigm of ease, you shouldn't be participating in this discussion.

    The partition editor only works sometimes, and furthermore, it's pretty non-obvious to the newbie what to do (create a / partition).

    LILO is a major problem with all Linux systems. Yea, sure it works, sometimes, in certain conditions. (I've had it spontainously change my partition type codes on FAT partitions.) Look at the NT Boot loader, it just works. Don't believe me on this one -- search DejaNews for "LILO AND LI" and see what you get.

    The RedHat install is not at all clear on what network services you're installing, and provides no descriptive information and no ablitity to alter the configuration during the install.

    Once RedHat is installed, you are presented with a confusing Control Panel full of really ugly icons. By futzing around with this you can perhaps find certain options you're looking for, but it's usually extremely non-obvious. RedHat also provide the linuxconf program, but the thing just seems too klutzy to trust. It's also real slow and has many drawing bugs.

    Well, that's the rant. Just wanted to point out that there's a way to go.
  • by An onymous Coward ( 20578 ) on Tuesday April 13, 1999 @03:17PM (#1936197) Homepage
    Good for Caldera. I'm glad it's them doing it. In my opinion Caldera's always represented the business side of Linux better than the other distributions. Plus they've showed some balls taking MS's ass to court. That's the kind of company that should be representing the business angle. Funny but I thought it'd be Corel doing this before anyone else.

    Personally I don't think Linux is hard to setup. It's no harder than installing dos on a blank disk and setting up your gui of choice.

    When I was first getting into Linux I was blown away by Caldera's desktop that came w/ the retail OpenLinux. I never bought it since I didn't have the cash but it looked impressive. I wound up downloading slack 3.3 via a 14.4 dialup and using wmaker.

    I don't see anything wrong w/ OpenLinux for Linux workstations. It's not like anyone's being forced to use it so nobody has a right to complain about it. I know alot of people are going to piss and moan about this but think about how great it'll be having developers jump on the bandwagon with the users. Plus the need for linux techs will be more in demand. The world needs a clueless-friendly, stable OS for a change.

    Bundling PQMagic might not have been the best choice though. I think Wabi might have been a better one. Anyway if Linux starts to get lame, there's always BSD.
  • by Enucite ( 10192 ) on Tuesday April 13, 1999 @02:53PM (#1936198)
    I know a lot of people believe that something like this will make Linux worse and not better.

    However, it isn't true.

    Just because someone is selling something that makes it easier for people to use Linux, it doesn't
    mean that it's going to make Linux "Just as bad as Windows."

    The CLI and steep learning curve isn't what makes Linux good. What makes it good is the Openess and
    the great programmers behind it.

    The one thing that has been SEVERELY over-looked IS
    the user-friendliness.

    The only thing that making something easier to use is going to do is let more people use the operating
    system without having to know as much in advance. I know those of us who have already done it the
    hard way may feel cheated because the new users don't have to go thru everything we did... but so

    And another thing... Making something more user-friendly DOES NOT mean that it is going to be less
    powerful. Those of you who think that have a lot to learn about software design. Basically it all
    comes down to the masculinity argument. Many people feel that their balls are bigger because
    they can memorize a man page about a particular piece of software.

    Yes, I have felt the same way sometimes. However, I would much rather have the option of a quick GUI
    with a couple checkboxes instead of having to open an Xterm, reading a man page, and memorizing the
    sequence of options I have to enter. Don't get me wrong, I like the speed that you CAN do stuff with
    the CLI once you do remember the commands. I just understand how many new users can feel.

    Another thing that has been overlooked that could easily be implemented in many X-based programs is
    something like an "Advanced Options..." option. Show the simple stuff, then if they want to, show
    everything. Even though their programs do suck, M$ has got this UI thing down. Not many people
    complain about the UI in M$ programs. (Except maybe for that little paperclip guy...) Which
    brings me to something else... Help systems. Let me just say this:

    The man system in Linux is awesome. The GUI based help sux.

    IMO, Linux users *should* be happy about new users coming in, even if they have been dumbed-down by a
    Micro$oft OS.

    More users mean:
    More programs
    More drivers
    More support period.

    Sorry for getting a little bit off-topic (kinda) in that. It's just something that has been bothering me about many Linux users.

    They think that if something comes in that makes Linux easier to use, it's going to ruin the Linux

    C'mon people, it's ok.
    Let 'em in, even if they can't work a CLI.


    /me puts on his asbestos suit in preparation of the flames.
  • I'm going to take a gamble and bet some comments will be up soon as to the elite and special nature of Linux, and how this is going to ruin everything...

    Or on how by dumbing down the OS this way, Linux will be no more and no better than Windows...

    Or how Linux is their OS, meant and built for hackers, and not meant for idiots, newbies, the clueless, or the Great Unwashed Masses...

    Please, I just gave all three, so don't feel you need to add any more.

    That out of the way, I feel this is a good thing, but not perfect. Consumer space is important, especially if you feel that M$ doesn't deserve it and that Apple repeatedly makes routine screwups in the arena. Linux needs enough support to garner first class citizenship from consumer hardware manufacturers; USB drivers and support, AGP and 3d acceleration, perhipherals like TV tuners, scanners, sound cards, and most importantly, consumer space Applications.

    User Friendly Linux, regardless of distro or brand name, needs to have an easier setup than M$s. Fill in a bunch of checkboxes and defaults in one dialogue, and allow install without further user interaction. Automatic repair, in case the user screws up or something goes wrong... Refer to some sort of image, and restore from CD or something. Automatic update of safety image as user adds or removes components and hardware. Default security and protection, without the user worrying about patches and updates and holes... Like Netscape's or M$'s autoupdate, check routinely for patches and such, and if possible, download and ask for user permission to install, detailing the changes and allowing for selective removal and uninstall...

    Am I missing anything?


The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky