Hi Tom,

Tom wrote:

While yes in theory everything should work and
you have a completely accessible system from the getgo, the getting there is
not easy in the slightest for a blind user, the learning curve is quite
frankly pretty horrendous and unless this changes then the situation of
people not wanting to use it and considering it just another thing that the
nerds and geeks like to play with is going to remain the same.

My reply:

I don't know what information you are basing your opinion on but it
isn't correct. The modern Linux operating system like Ubuntu, Vinux,
whatever is very user friendly from the Gnome desktop environment. In
fact, a modern Linux operating system is as easy to use as Windows if
you are using it via the graphical user interface. I think the main
source of confusion here, the reason people think Linux is so hard to
use, is the Linux shell environment. There are plenty of Linux users
like Michael who love the Linux shell and constantly brag about what
they can do in the shell, about how they can type this or that
command, and bingo they have a superior experience to that of Windows.
While that might be true a lot of Windows users are going to listen to
that and think to themselves they aren't going to want to learn a
bunch of shell commands, type everything into a console, just to run
the entire operating system. What people like Michael seam to miss is
through bragging about how cool the Linux shell is they often forget
maybe somebody new to Linux might not just want to jump into that kind
of environment and will want to use a graphical user interface. There
are a couple of really good ones for Linux called Gnome and KDE that
are extremely popular with sighted users for that reason.

Since Gnome is the most accessible desktop for Linux right now lets
talk about it a bit. The interface is very much like the Windows
desktop. You have a main panel, kind of like the taskbar at the bottom
of the screen, a desktop like Windows, and you have an application
menu that resembles the Windows start menu. There are dozens of
graphical Windows-like applications for Linux such as gedit that is
like Windows Notepad, there is Open Office that is a lot like
Microsoft Office before they switched to the menu ribbons, there is
Mozilla Firefox for web browsing, there is Evolution which is like
Microsoft Outlook, there is the Calculator which is like the Windows
Calculator program, and there is a media player called Totem which is
like Windows Media Player. So when you come down to it if you install
Linux and you have setup to start directly into x-windows with the
Gnome desktop a person coming from Windows to Linux will not have a
very big learning curve at all. It is not this horrendous learning
curve you are talking about.

Unfortunately, as I said before, Linux users often tend to put the
cart before the horse so to speak. Instead of bragging about how easy
Gnome is, that they can run apps just like Windows, they tend to run
off on a tangent and talk about the shell or some other advanced
aspect of Linux a newby isn't ready for. I've been on Linux mailing
lists were a few die-hard users go on and on about how if they don't
get the source code for a program they don't want it etc. They go on
and on how they can modify everything, recompile everything, and they
tend to talk right over the heads of Mr. and Mrs. Smith who only wants
to use the operating system for basic day to day tasks. They aren't
out to build the OS from scratch, script this or that, or anything
like that. Some of these Linux geeks really need to come back down to
earth for a minute and talk about the operating system in terms that
the average Joe or Jane can understand and will be actually interested
in. It is as though some of these Linux geeks have lost touch with the
fact maybe not everybody wants to use this or that advance feature
they are bragging about.

For instances, in the prior e-mail Micahel was talking about how many
tasks he can perform fromt he shell like getting a list of mp3s in his
music directory and have it save to a text file. That's fine and
dandy, but even though I'm a Linux user myself I generally do not see
a need to do that. In fact, 99% of my time is in Gnome using Firefox,
as I am right now, using Gedit which is better than the text editors
like Nano, listening to audio books in Totem Movie Player, and things
like that. About the only time I use the shell is to play text
adventure games because Speakup is better than Orca when it comes to
that sort of thing, and when I'm compiling programs since the GNU
development tools are commandline programs. What turns me off with
some of the Linux geeks out there is because I use Gnome I've had a
few die-hard Linux users come out and call me names because I choose
not to use the shell. Those are the kind of Linux geeks who give Linux
a bad name because they only want to talk about what they like about
Linux rather than what someone else might like. Why does it really
matter to them weather a person likes using Gnome for the graphical
user interface or the shell?

Cheers!

---
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