On Friday 04 March 2011 12:25, Andrew C wrote:
It isn't merely "not n00b friendly". It's n00b-hostile. Many such users,
probably most of them, literally think command prompts are error messages,
that they did something wrong to be presented with a featureless black
rectangle that does nothing when you click it.
You can say they just need education, but the thought processes involved in
choosing something from a menu of options versus actively deciding what to
type into an otherwise blank window are completely different, actually
using different parts of the brain. I prefer the command line for most
administrative tasks, but I haven't been either a n00b or a normal user
since about 1983, and I'd guess few if any on this list are. Even then, I
remember wishing for a couple of months that I'd gotten more console games
instead of a computer, because the learning curve was a bitch.
I've set up family members with Linux (Mandrake/Mandriva, and then Ubuntu)
without them ever running a terminal app or typing anything but emails. I
carefully chose which hardware I recommended to them based on how well it
played with Linux, and made sure they were no more than two clicks away
from anything they wanted to do. I stopped bothering with doing that
several years ago, not because of the command line, but because my family
lives hours away from me, and whenever they'd seek help from closer
relatives because they didn't realize I could ssh into their systems and do
what they needed done remotely, they'd end up with a pirated XP install and
the next thing they'd be asking me was "Do I have a virus?"
Advocating Linux audio to new, non-technical users (not people who
live with you and therefore can get the benefit of your constant
tweaking to fake a seamless experience, but people whose machines are
outside of your control) isn't served by assertions like "it's not worse,
it's just different". What would help would be flawless hardware
detection, automatic system configuration, and everything needed to make
music already running in the background when the user decides to get to
work by making a selection from a menu or clicking an icon on the desktop.
Even then, getting their computers to boot from a USB key or CD/DVD will
likely involve more technical ability than most of them possess. I'm more
optimistic about people buying Android phones than about the chances of
getting them to run Linux on anything else. Many people involved in Linux
audio seem to think it's a feature to have a separate low-latency kernel,
or that the user has to launch an audio server and manually set up
connections before running most audio applications. Far be it from me to
argue with that... or to ever recommend such a setup to someone who just
wants to record some professional-sounding music.
Given all that, making statements like "the command line isn't n00b
friendly" amount to little more than a state of denial, and it's not
helpful. Not only has the user interface world moved on, but it moved on
about 25 years ago.
And this applies to creative users and multimedia applications about ten
times more than it does to general computing tasks.
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