HI Thomas and all.

Oh yes I am familiar with gnome and am currently working on getting a spare
box up and running with vinux at the moment.  The learning curve I was
referring to mainly has to do with trying to get the system up and going and
maintaining it which one can do at least somewhat easily with something like
vinux or even ubuntu.  It seems that it's not quite as easy to get the
latest versions of ubuntu to start talking as it used to be for instance but
at least it is possible which it isn't of course with windows nor do I
expect it to be any time soon.  As you mentioned in an earlier post you do
have to jump through quite a few hoops to get what I would call a
functioning system even after the main install from what I understand, for
instance you have to get and install all of the video and audio codecs you
want, you have to get and install some sort of front end to make skype
accessible, you have to get and install another one to make open office
accessible and so forth.  The big problem with all this of course at least
for a new user is you don't find all this out very easily or right away, you
have to go join forums, read blogs etc. to find this stuff out, or at least
that has been my experience.  So yes it is free but you're going to do a
heck of a lot of work and research to get it the way you want to which your
hypothetical mr. and mrs. Smith are simply not going to do.

Speaking for myself I am kind of in the middle as far as users go, I am not
really a programmer at this point but am a pretty serious user other than
that, I was pretty familiar with the bash and tcsh shells back in the day
when being on the net meant logging into a unix box somewhere.  So while I
too will probably spend much of my time in the graphical interface because
that's what I've used for the last 15 years or so and there are things I
like about it like copy and paste that I have not found an easy way to do
that through the shell, I am sure I will get back into the shell side of
things too.  

Well I'm sure we're starting to bore people to death with this, I've taken
this conversation off-list with Michael because I am personally interested
in what he has to say and I think I can learn a lot from him but this is
getting quite a bit away from gaming so I thought it was better to take it
elsewhere, but anyone who wants to feel free to contact me offlist if you
feel like discussing this further.

Game on.

Tom
-----Original Message-----
From: gamers-boun...@audyssey.org [mailto:gamers-boun...@audyssey.org] On
Behalf Of Thomas Ward
Sent: Friday, February 18, 2011 12:09 PM
To: Gamers Discussion list
Subject: Re: [Audyssey] Consoles (was Re: my frustration with theblindgaming
comunity.)


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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