Friday, March 16, 2007

 

User friendly!

Some of my PC repair customers switch ("migrate" would be a better word) from MS-Windows to GNU+X+Linux.

The ones who have the hardest time are the MS-Windows "Power Users." People who never used a computer before, or who only used "AOL" or some minicomputer twenty years ago have a much easier time.

That's because the "Power Users" know computing from the visual cues presented by Microsoft's user interface. When those visual cues change even a little, they're lost and afraid.

That's one reason you should try several GNU+X+Linux distributions. You should at least see the most popular desktops: KDE, GNOME, XFCE, and maybe Fluxbox. You should try changing the mouse policy: you might, like me, find that focus-follows-mouse with no auto-raise is a lot easier to use and makes better use of your screen area than the policy (click-to-focus with autoraise) that MS-Windows and the original Mac OS forced on you. You might really like using a different virtual desktop for each task. You might like Konqueror or Nautilus better than Firefox or Internet Explorer. You might like KOffice better than Openoffice.org. It's too bad there's no GNOME Office.

Seeing the same tasks presented several different ways will give you an intuitive understanding that the user interface isn't the computer.

The MS-power users are confused and bewildered by all those choices. But you'll be learning to use the computer, not just the user interface, so you won't have that problem.

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