[PC-BSD Testing] PC-BSD 8.1 RC1 - thoughts and ideas

Arthur Koziol A-Koziol at neiu.edu
Wed Jul 7 07:01:54 PDT 2010

On 07/07/2010 4:25 AM, Johann Kois wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> On 07.07.2010 02:20, Mike Bybee wrote:
>> On Tue, Jul 6, 2010 at 4:19 PM, Johann Kois<jkois at freebsd.org
>> <mailto:jkois at freebsd.org>>  wrote:
>>      -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
>>      Hash: SHA1
>>      On 07.07.2010 01:02, finid at linuxbsdos.com
>>      <mailto:finid at linuxbsdos.com>  wrote:
>>      >>>
>>      >>  I actually like the development tab and use it regularly - I'd
>>      vote to
>>      >>  keep it. Realistically very few actual 'end users' use PC-BSD,
>>      but a lot
>>      >  of devs do.
>>      >
>>      >  Mike, those "end users" are actually waiting, desperately waiting for
>>      >  PC-BSD to become a lot more end user-friendly, so that they can
>>      use it.
>>      >
>>      >  --
>>      >  Fini D.
>>      >   ___________________________
>>      Hm, you want to clarify what makes the system so "totally unusable" at
>>      the moment?  So that "the end-users" cannot use it?
>>      jkois
>>      - --
>>       Johann Kois
>>       jkois(at)FreeBSD.org
>>       FreeBSD Documentation Project
>>       FreeBSD German Documentation Project - https://doc.bsdgroup.de
>> If you mean that seriously, I can provide notes from my most recent
>> pilot project. If you're being facetious, then I would recommend you go
>> find a random business person and ask them to use PC-BSD for 2 weeks.
> I am always serious.  No time for joking around on mailinglists.  But if
> such a statement as above is made (and "cannot use a system" for me
> equals "is not usable, therefore unusable") I just want to know what
> exactly the encountered problems are.
> But that is not the real point here.  I agree there are several issues
> regarding the usage of PC-BSD which will/can create problems especially
> for end-users (by that I mean newer/less experienced users).
> But:
> - - Are all these problems documented somewhere?  And I am not talking
> about a post on a mailinglist here, because it is pretty easy to miss
> such reports within all the posts on the list.  Maybe they are all
> reported on http://trac.pcbsd.org as feature requests/problem reports?
> - - If they are all documented/reported.  Is there enough manpower to
> investigate/implement all these changes?  Does the PC-BSD Project even
> have the possibility to change/fix all of them?  I think we know the
> answer to that questions (unfortunately) ...
> - - What is/should be the ultimate goal of PC-BSD?  Making experiencing
> "BSD on the desktop" easier?  Or make it the "perfect desktop
> experience"?  In reality it is probably the first one, but what many
> people would like to see is the second one (again mostly a problem of
> available manpower/ressources).
<two cents>

I've been reading the posts and didn't want to chime in until now 
because the common theme
I'm seeing running through some of the messages can be translated to: 
BSD to Windows users
is alien because stuff is not where they're used to seeing it. And being 
a 20+ years Windoze guy,
I can understand. It's not so much that this or that doesn't work, it's 
more so that the typical Windows
user, given PC-BSD (or Linux), is coming from a very ingrained and 
conditioned purview and their
first thought is "Where's Word? Where's IE? Where's the setting to 
change my wallpaper and screen
saver? How do I do ___?" And so on, and so forth. For us computer folks 
and power users, we can
make do with alternatives to the typical stuff that's out there even if 
there's a curve to learning it.
Hey, I've played with everything From Plan9 OS to QNX, nothing scares 
me. *NIX is not Windows and
you can't ever *make* it like Windows no matter how much we like or hate 
Windows. I oft wonder if the
biggest Achilles heel to wider *NIX adoption is certain communities' 
partisan aversion to making it act
  or look like Windows. After all, haven't you noticed how Vista and, 
especially, Win 7's GUI looks almost
*EXACTLY* like KDE 4.x's GUI? Apparently, it hasn't stopped Microsoft 
from cloning KDE's looks.
Sorry Gnome! :-D   I digress.

Working for a big university here in Chicago, I see this phenomena when 
we hire student workers to
work in our computer labs. Our "hiring station" is a Mac and we expect 
any student we hire to at least
*know* how to use a Mac. 99% of the time I hear..."Uh, can I use a PC to 
do this test?" That's because
most of the kids coming in grew up on Windoze. If familiarity breeds 
contempt, unfamiliarity must surely
breed confusion.

I think of it this way, Windows users (and quite a few *NIX folks) make 
fun of Mac users because Mac OS
is so "dumbed down" and Mac users aren't exactly the brightest bulbs on 
the Christmas tree. It's this
easy to use, any-idiot-can-figure-it-out, OS, right? I guess so. I have 
a Mac right next to my office PC
and I am adept enough to get around it. But the fact of the matter is, I 
am *that* statistic of user who
grew up on Windows because it's what was dropped in my lap wherever I 
had a job and what I had
to use to get my job done. My segue is this: Why is it that the same 
Windows people (regular and power
users) who make fun of Mac folks for being dumb, fumble and crumble like 
a house of cards when you
drop a *NIX distro in front of them? It's like the reaction of one of 
those fainting goats.

So, I know these gripes of Windows users when I've shown them PC-BSD. 
It's so ingrained in their
head that what they see on the screen *must* be some new kind of skin 
you slapped on Windows
but damn you where did you hide all the apps I'm *used* to seeing? I 
piloted PC-BSD 8 with my wife
at home and within 5 minutes she was cursing me out. To her defense, 
she'd be more comfortable
on Mac if you catch my drift. Maybe in Bizarro World, everyone uses 
PC-BSD and Windows is the
foreign OS. :-)

So, to sum it up, it's not BSD, PC-BSD, or Linux's fault. It's not a 
usability problem. It's probably
not a lack of applications problem. I think it's that there's a glass 
barrier that exists and that the
population in general has been spoon fed and conditioned to use one 
thing or that there's one
way of doing something. Change doesn't come with a lot of bumps in the 
road and resistance
in one form or another. What we can do as enthusiasts of the brand 
(should I copyright that
phrase?) is to work at making it past the barrier and do what we can to 
introduce it to people
so it can get wider adoption.

</two cents>


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