Installation - More user friendly

Thompson, Jimi JimiT at
Mon Mar 8 11:40:20 PST 2004

Does the folks of FreeBSD has any plans to make installation more user
friendly for the newbie or the non-tech minded user for example like Red Hat
or Mandrake Linux installation? The point for technology is to make people
lives easier right?

Before the flames start, let me state that I am a HUGE FreeBSD fan.  I use
it at home.  I use it at work.  We are migrating away from RedHat (since
it's no longer open source) to FreeBSD. I also own a Mac with OS X.  

I think that the point here is to coax the "average" Windows user, who has
an innate fear of the command line, to use FreeBSD.  The problem is that we
can discuss this as a technical issue until Satan hands out snow shoes, but
it won't change the fact that this is a HUMAN issue.  While I agree that an
OS without a GUI is by far TECHNICALLY superior, it is NOT the superior in
the minds of most end users.  It's a terror inducing, awe-striking behemoth.

Most non-technical people like GUI's because they neither want to know nor
should they need to know the gazillion command line entries and options.
That's the kind of thing that makes us "the pros" at what we do.  PC's
didn't become popular for home use until the advent of the GUI.  Apple,
despite many technical decisions that I can't agree with, are still with us
because of the wonderful user interface.  Windows, all bashing aside, is not
the most desirable operating system for a variety of TECHNICAL reasons, but
it still maintains it market share.  Why?  Because it offers two things 1)
the comfort factor that comes with familiarity and 2) the "wizards" to
accomplish fairly complex tasks by making selections in a GUI.  This alone
should point out that the user interface is NOT a technical issue.

I think that the ultimate flaw in much of the logic I see here is in
assuming that we, being the programmers, system administrators, hackers,
etc., that we all are on list, know what end users want.  We soooooo are NOT
the average end user.  I think I can safely say that we left being end users
ourselves behind so long ago that we've forgotten what it's like. Think
about what your Mother (or at least mine :)) would want to use.  Actually
having to go to the command line, when you've been trained by decades of M$
products that this a very bad thing to do, and type stuff in terrifies her.
She's always certain that she's going to make a mistake and blow things up.

2 cents,


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