freebsd - for the win
sterling at camdensoftware.com
Sun Jun 13 17:13:11 UTC 2010
On Jun 13 2010 09:24, Matthew Seaman wrote:
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> On 13/06/2010 01:49:39, Chad Perrin wrote:
> > What I *do* find to be of value, however, is improving the installation
> > process so that it is clearer what is going on at each step and improving
> > the efficiency of it without damaging its flexibility. I don't have any
> > problem with making it easier for a new user to understand and use, as
> > long as it doesn't interfere with the suitability for experts who don't
> > care about whooshing noises, 3D animations, "helpful" cartoon characters,
> > and the ability to use a mouse where it's not really needed. In fact, I
> > think the world would be a better place if more people used FreeBSD,
> > almost regardless of their levels of technical expertise -- as long as
> > the OS doesn't start catering to their demands for Clippy and spinning
> > logos that take three minutes to load.
> Exactly my thinking. Style vs substance -- all the style in the world
> won't help you one bit unless it's backed by real substance.
> Unfortunately far too few people are capable of seeing through the
> surface gloss of style to understand the substance beneath. Style also
> tends to be rather in the eye of the beholder -- one persons' "exciting
> and trendy" is another's "annoying and garish"; whereas substance is
> While most FreeBSD types may not have much use for glitz and glitter,
> still, FreeBSD does have it's own aesthetic. It's minimal, and spare
> and it says "We're not going to pretend that this isn't complicated or
> difficult. Effort brings reward." This is something I find incredibly
> attractive; even after more than 10 years it is still refreshing.
The beauty of FreeBSD (and the Unix philosophy in general) is that
simplicity is systemic. Things work together because they're aligned consistently
and without fluff.
I'm certainly in favor of anything that helps the newbie (I'm still a
newbie on a lot of fronts myself) without damaging that simple
The trap into which so-called "user-friendly" systems often fall is the
idea that we can help make things simpler for the user by just tacking on
some wizard or UI that will lead them through the process without making
them think about what they're doing. Those specialized, tacked on
"helpers" end up creating a nightmare of inconsistent time-wasters that
don't provide access to all available options and in the end just obscure
the problem rather than simplifying it.
A true help for the newbie is something that helps move them out of
that status -- something that provides the necessary steps, but also
educates the user on what exactly is being done and why. That opens a
larger world for future exploration.
Sterling (Chip) Camden
http://camdensoftware.com | http://chipstips.com | http://chipsquips.com
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