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Old 12-14-2008, 06:03 PM   #46
jmhet42
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Typical user


Almost anyone reading this page is, by definition, not a "typical user". While we're talking about which disto is easier to install, or if it's worth the time to configure things without gui tools, etc.,
most computer users have never installed *any* OS, including Windows.

What percentage of non-FLOSS computer users even know what a partition is?
 
Old 12-14-2008, 11:08 PM   #47
ErV
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmhet42 View Post
Almost anyone reading this page is, by definition, not a "typical user".
Define "typical user", because I think that "typical user" is a myth frequently used for defense of windows OS. Detailed official list of things "typical user" can and can't do would be nice, because no one ever provided that list.
It would be nice to have feedback from people that actually have zero experience with computers, instead of using assumptions. Because normally fans of operating systems/distributions use those "zero experience" people to defend their point of view, but no one cares to check what exactly is "easy" for those people, so all discussions about "distro being easy to install" quickly become purely theoretical. Where are statistical numbers? Where is huge research studying computer abilities of newbies using a group of 10000 volunteers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmhet42 View Post
While we're talking about which disto is easier to install,
"easy" is a relative term. It is quite easy to run into serious problems with any kind of installer. When comparing distributions it would be nice to use things that can be measured instead of standard useless "gui vs cli", "easy or not easy" (and similar) rubbish.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmhet42 View Post
most computer users have never installed *any* OS, including Windows.

What percentage of non-FLOSS computer users even know what a partition is?
People can use anything as long as it is configured and already installed. And they don't have to install it by themselves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmhet42 View Post
What percentage of non-FLOSS computer users even know what a partition is?
Actually, all people that had to use partitioning software and ever looked at disk management section of device manager on windows.

--EDIT---
I'm sick of fairy-tales about "typical users", and arguments (about things being easy or not) that aren't backed up by numbers. I hope there one day will be distribution that will follow iterative development scheme used by good commercial software, so all "typical user" crap will finally go away. "iterative development scheme" means:
1) create a product.
2) from the target audience, take number of volunteers.
3) test product on volunteers, gather feedback.
4) analyze feedback
5) using analysis results, modify product.
6) go to #2.
7) repeat forever.
Games developed by valve software allows to get picture of that process using "developer commentaries" mode built into game. I'd recommend to check it.
IMO, both slackware and ubuntu are not using this scheme.

Last edited by ErV; 12-14-2008 at 11:24 PM.
 
Old 12-15-2008, 04:33 AM   #48
jjthomas
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A few years ago some statistician defined a typical family as one father, one mother, a dog and..... are you ready???
2.5 kids!

There really is no one size fits all in computers.
I use XP for transfering my analog recordings to a digital format. The hardware I use will run on XP only.

I use Vista for my DAW, the software I use will only run Vista. It does run on XP, but no support.

I am building a Slackware 12.2 computer that will run VOCP and Asterisk; as well as be a web server and mail server, and a firewall. Not sure if I can get all that work work.... but I will find out.

My fourth computer runs CentOS x86_64, it is a dedicated file server.

My fifth computer runs Win9X, WFWG and Win NT. It is used as a synthizer, and converting analog audio to a digital format.

Each of my computers does different task. The OS was selected for the task the computer does. It would be silly to use Win NT as a Web Server in a DMZ. And it would be silly to try to do any serious multi-track audio editing on my slackware computer.

For me I'm a typical user, if the groups involves slack'in DJ'ing, Audio Engineering, hacking, drumming, playing the guitar left handed, and have five computers.... if so the above is my typical setup.

I have used Ubuntu... Something glitched and I went back to Slackware. Don't remember the glitch...

I like Slackware because it is simple and I understand it. I struggle with Slack because it doesn't have 20,000 packages that I can install via slapt-get.

-JJ
 
Old 12-15-2008, 05:29 AM   #49
brianL
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I would define an "average" or "typical" computer user as someone who:
* buys a computer with a preinstalled OS, usually Windows, and has no awareness or interest in any alternative OS.
* uses that computer for occasional web searches, email, word-processing, etc.
All the people I know fall into that category. That is, those that have computers. They're all normal, some highly intelligent, people who have other interests and concerns to occupy their time.
 
Old 12-15-2008, 06:55 AM   #50
salemboot
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Typical users:

My parents run Slackware. I've tried on two occaions to install something else but I stop myself.
Actually the distribution I try to change to stops me. Most these live-cd distributions require
passing different boot-time parameters to even load on the one machine they own. Forget that.

They don't have internet. So this limits me to two real distributions.

Slackware and Debian, because they ship with easily accessible dvd releases containing all the source and binaries I need.

The parents are an hour away so I can't just run back home to download more junk for them.

What agravates me the most about slackware sometimes is that it is a generic distribution. I had to basically write my own scripts the handle brightness controls and then I had to make an rc file for the volume keys to work. I don't even remember how to do that anymore as I basically use 'dd' to image my partition and place it on an external harddrive for safe keeping.

Debian and others have had these scripts for a couple of years. They are basically generic.

Wireless is a pain in the ass under slackware.
I dropped in a 2.6.27 kernel and basically never got a good version of madwifi to work with it. So with Slack I'm stuck with 2.6.24 heavily modified. KNetworkmanager is stock on a kde distribution these days but not in Slackware.
I suppose its good they have wicd in the extras on 12.2 Slack but that's not even in the main install.

So it's good my parents don't have internet just yet. When they do I'll have to switch their distribution.

Check out the testing.txt file under the testing folder on the new slackware 12.2

ftp://ftp.slackware.com/pub/slackwar...ing/README.TXT

" Any suggestions about what you'd be willing to pay for a disc in an
envelope release would also be appreciated. "

Now they are talking about a kde 4.2 rolled version. But honestly no thanks guys I'll roll my own version.

Flame on.
 
Old 12-15-2008, 08:35 AM   #51
ErV
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjthomas View Post
A few years ago some statistician defined a typical family as one father, one mother, a dog and..... are you ready???
2.5 kids!
Doesn't typical family have 1/2 cats, at least? And this gives no info about computer skills.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brianL View Post
I would define an "average" or "typical" computer user as someone who:
* buys a computer with a preinstalled OS, usually Windows, and has no awareness or interest in any alternative OS.
* uses that computer for occasional web searches, email, word-processing, etc.
All the people I know fall into that category. That is, those that have computers. They're all normal, some highly intelligent, people who have other interests and concerns to occupy their time.
That gives absolutely no info about computer skills. Honestly I'd like to see some somewhat official document that defines user skill requirements for using computer. I don't think that this document really exists, but it would be nice if someone created it, because without strict definition of what typical user can do with computer, threads like this one always turn into flamewar.

Also I think that huge chunk of software should be shipped with "minimal user skill requirements", in addition to standard "minimal system requirements".
 
Old 12-15-2008, 08:49 AM   #52
brianL
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Quote:
* uses that computer for occasional web searches, email, word-processing, etc.
That should be plain enough. They possess an adequate level of skill to perform those tasks. Google for whatever information they want, write and send an email, write a letter or article using a word-processor, etc.
 
Old 12-15-2008, 02:57 PM   #53
Woodsman
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Quote:
Define "typical user"
As I wrote above, I defined that term in my other thread.

Quote:
I think that "typical user" is a myth frequently used for defense of windows OS.
I've been around desktop computers daily for more than 26 years. As a technical writer for much of that time, and technical trainer part of that time teaching computer usage. I have watched other people use computers. Most people haven't a clue. They learn only what they need to learn for their job. Nothing more. Throw new software at them and they freeze like the proverbial deer in the headlights.

I've met many people who do not know a single keyboard shortcut because they learned to do everything with a mouse. I have watched most people, not some people --- most people, place the cursor in a dialog box text box with the mouse, type text, then stop, place the cursor in the next text box with the mouse, and repeat this process every hour, every day. They never learn to use the Tab key to move to the next text box. They never learn to press the Enter key and always grab the mouse to select the OK button. They do not know that the Esc key will select the Cancel button. I have watched many touch-typists who smoke a keyboard but with every copy, cut and paste stop to grab a mouse rather than learn extended selection and Ctrl-X, Ctrl-C, and Ctrl-V.

There is no myth. The typical user exists.

Quote:
I'm sick of fairy-tales about "typical users", and arguments (about things being easy or not) that aren't backed up by numbers.
I have no quantitative numbers from any research to provide you. Only my own observation in a business environment. Yet I agree the day is long overdue for the phrase "typical user" to disappear.

The problem is not people, but the technology. For almost three decades I have refused to refer to software as user-friendly. Most software is user-hostile. Free/libre software seems especially prone to this problem because the nature of the environment is to scratch one's own itch and not necessarily the itch of others. Usability is not a top priority.

I live in a rural area. Three of my immediate neighbors do not own computers and never used them. They never will either. I guarantee that none of these people could use a computer out of the box with no training. Pipe dream. They are pretty sharp folks too. The problem is the technology, not the people. Ubuntu, Slackware, and Windows would be a usability nightmare for any of these neighbors.
 
Old 12-15-2008, 03:44 PM   #54
ErV
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianL View Post
That should be plain enough. They possess an adequate level of skill to perform those tasks. Google for whatever information they want, write and send an email, write a letter or article using a word-processor, etc.
Nope, that isn't plain enough.
Searching might mean simply entering phrases, or person might know about advanced operators and ways to filter search. Many people I met never heard about even such simple thing as searching for exact phrase with google, and I'm not talking about removing words from search and operators.
Using email might mean simply pressing buttons in the order you were told, or reading and understanding email headers.
Using word processor might mean using computer as typewriter, or ability to use built-in help. There is a huge difference between person that can type text and a person that might be able to do table formatting and find out by himself/herself how to sort table by the column.
See? It isn't plain enough, because it tells nothing about computer skills & knowledge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodsman View Post
As I wrote above, I defined that term in my other thread.
"Define" wasn't addressed to you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodsman View Post
There is no myth. The typical user exists.
Maybe I'm being a jerk, but I'd still like to see the long and very detailed list of what typical user can and can't do, and it would be nice if that list was certified by some serious entity as a world-wide standard or something similar. This is because "typical user" is often used as last line of defense in flamewars and there is no precise definition of what he/she can and can't do. After a while this becomes really annoying. Warning: I'm not asking for anyone to type all about typical users, because it won't be an official definition I was talking about. Honestly, sometimes I think that computers should have some systems of diplomas or documents that could be used to detect person's knowledge & skills. It could help a lot.

Last edited by ErV; 12-15-2008 at 03:46 PM.
 
Old 12-15-2008, 03:54 PM   #55
dugan
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In the context usually used here, a "typical user" is one whose skill level is between "able to comfortably use Ubuntu" and "able to comfortably use Slackware".
 
Old 12-15-2008, 03:57 PM   #56
ErV
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dugan View Post
In the context usually used here, a "typical user" is one whose skill level is between "able to comfortably use Ubuntu" and "able to comfortably use Slackware".
How exactly use ubuntu/slackware? Is typical user able to resolve installation error when he is thrown into shell during install process with no error messages printed to screen?

Also, for configured system with GUI this is identical level.
My parents were working with slackware desktop with the same success as with ubuntu desktop. Not much differences - point and click stuff only.
 
Old 12-15-2008, 04:36 PM   #57
brianL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ErV View Post
Nope, that isn't plain enough.
Searching might mean simply entering phrases
That's the level I meant.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ErV View Post
Using email might mean simply pressing buttons in the order you were told
Simply typing a message & hitting send.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ErV View Post
Using word processor might mean using computer as typewriter, or ability to use built-in help
Yes. Typing, simple formatting, and using help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErV View Post
Maybe I'm being a jerk
No comment.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ErV View Post
but I'd still like to see the long and very detailed list of what typical user can and can't do, and it would be nice if that list was certified by some serious entity as a world-wide standard or something similar. This is because "typical user" is often used as last line of defense in flamewars and there is no precise definition of what he/she can and can't do. After a while this becomes really annoying. Warning: I'm not asking for anyone to type all about typical users, because it won't be an official definition I was talking about. Honestly, sometimes I think that computers should have some systems of diplomas or documents that could be used to detect person's knowledge & skills. It could help a lot.
What you're asking for would take a sort of market survey, with multiple choice questions. Those "average" users, with the basic skill level, can deepen their knowledge and gain some sort of certificate, for example, the ECDL (European Computer Driving License). But a lot of them aren't bothered.
 
Old 12-15-2008, 06:49 PM   #58
jmhet42
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Talking Too much caffeine?

Sorry, ErV, got no marketing survey for you. Try this:

Do you drive a car? Can you tear down the motor and re-build it? Can you change out the differential? Would you want to?

Do you know what kind of carburetor you have? Do you care?

Or do you just want the thing to get you where you want to go with as little hassle as possible?

You might be a "typical driver".

My comment about "easy to use, gui config, etc." was merely an example of the kinds of discussions that might be found here. I made no arguments for or against anything. Nor did I say that a typical user was incapable of learning what a partition is.

Most don't know because they have never had a need to know, and didn't care what was "under the hood."

AND...defending Microsoft??? Where did that come from? But I'll try; I like their mice.

Really.

Last edited by jmhet42; 12-15-2008 at 09:57 PM.
 
Old 12-15-2008, 09:53 PM   #59
STARHARVEST
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You'd better find a girl than started flamable topics imho. slackware can't be compared with bubuntu at all. bubuntu is a crap as is. without root password at the beginning and "I cant use ATI with ubuntu" in the end.
 
Old 12-16-2008, 01:08 AM   #60
ErV
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmhet42 View Post
Do you drive a car? Can you tear down the motor and re-build it? Can you change out the differential? Would you want to?

Do you know what kind of carburetor you have? Do you care?

Or do you just want the thing to get you where you want to go with as little hassle as possible?

You might be a "typical driver".
This really depends on area. In my area being able to fix your car by yourself is normal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmhet42 View Post
AND...defending Microsoft??? Where did that come from? But I'll try; I like their mice.
I wasn't talking about you. Argument about "typical user" is frequently used by people trying to defend windows os.
 
  


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