I see the installation of Freenet and the configuration of Freenet to be an area that needs serious attention.

First, I use Freenet on a Mac, but Mac OS X is not shown anymore as a compatible OS on the Freenet web site download page. It used to be there, but not anymore. I know to use the Linux download and instructions, but the only reason I know that is because the web site used to state this. A new user will likely not realize this.

Second, the install process needs to be easier. Yes, installing Freenet is as simple as copying over a handful of files, but a single-click install program is very nice. The Mac .pkg format is simple and effective, and it allows scripts to be included and run during the installation process.

Third, configuring Freenet is a major pain. Right now, in order to copy over my few custom .conf file settings, I have to first fake out Freenet into thinking that it is running for the first time so it creates a new .conf file with default settings. Then I bring up both the new .conf file and the old one in a text editor, and go through each setting, line by line, an copy over my custom settings into then new .conf file.

If each new update of Freenet would be able to read in the last version's .conf file, add new options to it, that would be a good start.

An even better improvement would be a nice GUI tool to edit and maintain all of Freenet's configuration options.

Fourth, starting and stopping Freenet is a pain. I have to bring up the Terminal, and type in a command line to start and stop Freenet. This is extremely un-Mac-like and you will loose 99% of your potential users when they see that they HAVE to use the command line to get Freenet to run. A simple double-clickable icon is what people want.

All of these could easily be done on the Mac with an Applescript Studio type application. I've seen people write a really good GUI front-end to command line programs in a matter of days with Applescript Studio.

Linux would also benefit from all of the above improvements.

The first impression of Freenet is the install and configuration process. Right now this process gives a new user a distinctly negative impression of Freenet. This impression just gets worse when they run it for the first time and can't load any sites. But that's a whole other discussion...


Message: 5
Date: Fri, 31 Oct 2003 12:37:27 +0000
From: Ian Clarke <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Subject: [freenet-support] Usability improvement ideas
To: Discussion of development issues <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>,
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed

As the developers work hard to improve the core operation of Freenet, it
can be easy to forget about the more superficial, but equally important
aspects of Freenet, namely installation procedures, and usability for

For those intimately familiar with Freenet's operation it can be
difficult to look at Freenet's operation from the perspective of someone
new to the software, and often something that seems minor and trivial to
a core developer, might have a significant impact on a new user's view
of the software.

So, this email is an invitation to anyone that has constructive
criticism or suggestion's for how Freenet's "first impression" can be
enhanced.  Topics include installation, FProxy, even the website's layout.

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