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environment variable is your friend

Josh Pollak <pardsbane at> writes:
| > It seems to me that the fact that a noob can survive two years with
| > Linux and still be a noob is a testament to how far along Linux has
| > come.
| Devil's Advocate: Is it better to have something that *appears* so easy to
| use that you have complete confidence in it immediately (Windows), or
| something that is so intimidating that after 2 years you still lack the
| confidence to think of yourself as anything but a newbie?
| Not debating whether people who think they are knowledgeable in something
| really are -- just in relative comfort/confidence levels.  If somebody
| used Windows for 2 years and still called himself a noob, would it be a
| good thing?

Well, I know a number of people who have used Windows since  it  came
out,  and  freely  admit that they don't really uderstand much of its
workings at all.  They are constantly baffled and frustrated by it.

Their fear of unix/linux is that they know how difficult Windows  is,
and  the  marketing/media  hype keep telling them that it's easy.  If
this atrocity is easy, they think, what must those  other  system  be
like? Add to this the general perception that anything different must
be hard, and you have a recipe for absolutely refusing to  even  look
at any alternatives.

The fact that the unix crowd is generally honest about how  difficult
their  system  can  be  just adds to people's fears, since they can't
distinguish honest discussions of difficulties from dishonest  claims
about ease of use.

OTOH, I've also seen a number of Windows users  (including  my  wife)
who  got  their hands on a Mac, and within an hour were ready to junk
their Windows box.

I'd conclude that, to get more "market share",  the  linux  crowd  is
making  a  big  mistake in trying to emulate Windows.  That will just
give us a UI that is as awful as Windows.  If  we  emulate  the  Mac,
though,  we  stand  a chance of getting the same "Wow, this is nice!"
reaction that you see in so many first-time Mac users.

Not that there aren't problems with the Mac UI, of course. Most of us
with  years of X-Windows experience can rattle off a long list of the
Mac's UI deficiencies.  But it's so  much  better  (from  a  novice's
viewpoint)  than anything that MS produces, that it really stands out
to users who can be persuaded to give it a try.

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