Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (3434 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] Re: openSUSE Boxed Editions
  • From: Stefan Hundhammer <sh@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2008 13:54:04 +0100
  • Message-id: <>
On Wednesday 06 February 2008 20:51, Aaron Kulkis wrote:
They need to be presented to the new user at first boot up.

Well, no. Not only no, but "hell no!". ;-)

Put the crack pipe down.

Try to discuss like a grown-up person. Thank you.

So when do you propose to inform people who are NEW
to SuSE (especially those who have just switched
from Windows).... 5 months after installation????

This may be annoying for you, the experienced user,
but it's not about's about the INEXPERIENCED
USER who is *lost*... doesn't know what the "man"
command is, has never heard of "info" either, and
seriously needs something BLATANTLY IN HIS FACE to
show him where to go to find answers.

Any you want to show him all that in one pop-up during installation? That's an
ambitious objective. I certainly like our manuals, but they are not a
substitute for some willingness to learn.

Did your car come with a manual trying to teach you how to drive?

To the newbie, that's not annoying, it's FRIENDLY.

No, it's not. I've been working on that installation stuff for years. I've
come across all kinds of users. We did all kinds of tests with newbies, even
with computer illiterates, and of course also with what we consider "average"

When you are new to an OS, the first obstacle you have to come across is to
get it installed so you can start experimenting. This is why the installation
experience is so important. The more complicated we make this for the user,
the more potential for trouble we create. So we try to make it simple, to
figure out stuff automatically whenever we can, to make useful suggestions,
not to ask questions the user cannot really answer. Yet at the same time, we
always try to keep the door open for more advanced users - we
provide "expert" and "details" buttons and dialogs wherever possible. So that
installation workflow is really a very delicate balance.

This is not to say the installation is already perfect, much less perfect for
everyone. It's a permanently ongoing effort to improve it. (OTOH those who
know what it was like in the pre-6.3 days know that Linux installations have
come a long way.)

Yes, we would also prefer everybody to have the printed manuals. And to read
them, preferably BEFORE the installation. But for economic necessities this
no longer seems to be possible. That's bad. But even worse would be to not
have a consumer and/or community distro at all any more (and I know some
people around here who put in a lot of their heart blood to prevent just
that). So the compromise was to make the printed manuals thinner and save on
production cost. Yet, the content is still there - just no longer completely
in printed form.

Is a PDF an adequate substitute for a printed manual? Well, certainly not for
me. And as this discussion shows, also not for many others.

Would it improve the situation to tell the user where those PDFs are? Would
that really make so many more users read them? And if so, when would they
read them?

Imagine the situation. You just got new software installed. It's new, you are
eager to try it out. You heard so much about it, now you want to see it for
real. You install it. You log in. You try to make sense of everything -
everything is new to you.

Is that the situation where you open a PDF reader to read the manuals?
Or don't you rather start clicking to see with your own eyes what's happening?

I can only speak for myself, but whenever I am in that kind of situation, I am
barely patient enough to read a one-page "quick start" guide. I experiment.

- License agreement at installation start. Yuck. But the lawyers demand

Because the law does.

Not quite. There is no law saying "you must present a license agreement". But
there are lawyers who convince you that you might lose a lawsuit if you

Anyway, this point is moot - we simply have to do it.

I certainly do NOT want to waste *MY* time going through the
software selections (which usually takes me about 2 hours)
only to find out AFTER the installation that there are
detectable errors on the installation media.

So you don't check MD5SUMs when you burned a downloaded ISO?

- Time zone selection. Interesting for users who happen to

> install in Thai language on their way to Vladivostok, but
> just annoying for all those people whose location we can
> easily deduce from the language they selected. German,

Czech, Swedish - time zone unique (unless they are on that

> train to Vladivostok, too). English is harder, agreed.
> Some other languages, too. But for most languages there
> is little question.

So when I was doing an English language installation while
in Iraq, I'm just screwed, eh.

You didn't read thoroughly. For English, of course we'd always have to ask.
But not for those many languages where the result is clear. And it's not as
if you couldn't change it if the automatic didn't guess right; it's only one
mouse click away in the installation proposal dialog.

Time zone selection takes minimal amount of time, and
yes, it SHOULD be done at the beginning. Any other time
is even less appropriate.

English-language users are in a tremendous number
of time zones - 6 or 7 in North America alone.

See above.

> - YaST control center. Yes, it's been a while, but we were
> made to force-press that thing upon the poor user at the end
> of the installation, too. It was broken for a long time, yet
> nobody complained. Must be quite some crowd out there using
> that thing. ;-)

I've noticed problems since 10.0.
And instead of fixing it, you guys seem more interested
in changing the appearance.

Instead of fixing a buggy presentation of a program at an entirely
inappropriate time?

And it's not about changing the appearance what we are about to do. Read the
Wiki pages. It's about making it _usable_ again after it has lost its
usefulness with the appearance of more and more modules over all the years.

Misplaced priority, if you ask me.

Rather, misinformed discussion partner. ;-)

- SuSE greeter. Do we still have it? Well, I guess so - when
> you don't recycle an existing home directory. It also used to
> have no window title bar etc. so you really had to hunt that
> icon down to get rid of it. Gah, gimme a break.

/home should be on a separate partition by default, (and by
default NOT re-formatted) so that /home is recycled

IIRC that's how it has been for the last couple of releases. But then, I am
not 100% sure since I rarely change my partitioning when I reinstall - I
simply select mount points.

> - KDE tip windows on startup on every program. WTF?! When
> I open a "konsole" (the KDE xterm) I don't want to be
> bothered with that stuff. I want to issue some commands,
> and probably not just for fun. Get that thing out of my face.

Then click "do not show me again" or whatever it is, and
stop whining. That's what I did, and you can, too.

You missed the point. This is another example of surprising the user with
something completely unrelated and throwing him out of his path. Too many
pop-ups are a way of reducing the user's overall attention to those that are
really important.

Stefan Hundhammer <sh@xxxxxxx> Penguin by conviction.
YaST2 Development
SUSE LINUX Products GmbH, GF: Markus Rex, HRB 16746 (AG Nürnberg)
Nürnberg, Germany
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