> > > Many people's only familiarity with computers in general will be from a > Windows centric perspective. Somehow there is a tendency to believe that > inserting a CD, booting, and then proceeding to click "OK" in a dialog box a > few dozen times makes them some kind of expert when they successfully get > Windows installed. > > Coming from a Windows centric environment myself I initially found that > there was a great deal of material to be learned, and RTFM was the way to do > it. I've noticed people who come from university computer science programs > have a much better foundation upon which to build. Most computer users do > not fit this category, myself included. > > While this deficiency can be overcome with self study, I am also aware that > not everyone who reads documentation necessarily understands the material. > If too much background education is missing the documentation just resembles > gobbeldy-gook and is ignored, with the fall back position of "click OK a few > dozen times and the OS will take care of it for me" expected to pick up the > slack. > > I would not be where I am today in my understanding and use of FreeBSD if > not for the excellent documentation and surrounding community. I feel I owe > my success in utilizing FreeBSD to the people who took the time to write > this stuff down for people like me to use. It is with a great measure of > gratitude to these people I owe my success. > > > [snip] > > -Mike >
In light of this, I would really enjoy seeing a "Ubuntu" like movement in the FreeBSD corner. What I mean is that it would be nice for my mother to install and use FreeBSD. I am not saying that a Windows user should be able to feel right at home on a box running FreeBSD, but a computer user should. The problem herein, i am afraid, lies not with FreeBSD(or any other BSD flavour), nor with it's community, but with the computer user. Most computer users see an operating system(and the application they run most) as part of a computer. How many people say "My computer is broken" when µ$ Office doesn't start anymore. They don't care about which kernel they run, or which browser they use, they care about typing e-mail, chatting and watching youtube video's. (However sad it makes me that most people use less then 10% of the features/programs/potential/computing-power the computer came with, they do make sure we pay less for our components.) Even though I'd feel less "cool" or "nerdy" (which is basically the same thing ;-) ) if I'd run(or USE) the same OS as my 76 year old grandfather, it would be nice for him to be able to buy a computer for $20 less because it runs FreeBSD. To achieve this, there are two things that should be made easier: 1. Installing a basic desktop system(next to any currently installed OS) 2. Keeping the base system and ports up to date. And when I mean "easier" I mean it should be done without bothering the user unless you about to "rm -rf /" as root, so to say. Since most people never reinstall their computer, making it easier to install a basic desktop system won't help my 76 year old grandpa, but it will make it easier for unsatisfied Windows users to try FreeBSD. Besides, in making it easy to install a basic desktop system, comes the hardest part of any *nix like system: defining a basic desktop and collecting the basic/standard applications. It's hard just to pick either one Gnome, KDE or XFCE (or iceWM ;-) ) let alone mail-clients, internet browsers, IM, etc. etc. One of the advantages of using a descent operating system is the freedom of choice. However most users don't care! I am more then happy to tel anyone which e-mail client not to use (Lotus notes, outlook express, anyone else's neck hears standing up?), but I don't want to tell people they HAVE to use Thunderbird(I do tell them they SHOULD but that's different) or evolution etc. The problem is, most people don't want to make this choice either. And the circle of life continues. So basically, to make sure people will be using freeBSD (or any *nix operating system) it needs to be easy to install (So that PC-manufacturers will ship their pc's with it), a nicely filled standard desktop environment with lot's of youtube/chat/word process capabilities and "I won't bother you with it but i'm updating" functionality. Just some thoughts.. I'll get back to work now... ...
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