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To: gentoo-installer@g.o
From: Chris Gianelloni <wolf31o2@g.o>
Subject: Re: educating users
Date: Mon, 19 Sep 2005 17:16:42 -0400
On Mon, 2005-09-19 at 16:41 -0400, Michael Miller wrote:
> Not to rant on, but my stance on gentoo, albeit against many of the
> developers, is that it is a fast operating system. That is, in my

Gentoo, under most circumstances, is not any faster than any other
distribution.  In fact, in most cases, other distributions are faster
due to their heavy use of prelink.

>  view, the only thing seperating it from other distros save for
> portage. Many people like to tweak every last bit of performance out

I'm sorry to hear that you missed out on the most important part of
Gentoo, and that is empowering you to use your system as you like and
configure it how you wish.

>  of gentoo, which is great! However, I think gentoo should indeed be
> more user friendly. Don't get me wrong-I CAN install gentoo, and edit
> configuration files, but it is very time consuming, and not time
> efficent for me. I wish gentoo was very easy to install(like redhat),

That isn't the reason for this project, nor will it ever be.  Gentoo
will never be easy to install simply because we don't make decisions for
you.  This means there will *always* be a huge installation guide and
lots of options to chose from.  Sure, we could take away all decisions
and make it a simple "Next, Next, Next, Finish" installer like Red Hat
or Windows, but that would kill Gentoo's primary advantage.

>  and included an easy to use configuration tweaker where you could
> EASILY change your cflags for basic optimizations for specific
> processors(you could select p4, amd64, etc etc). You would of course

Well, considering the only CFLAGS option you ever really need to change
is -march, I don't see the issue.  See, us developers don't recommend
anything further than "-O2 -march=${subarch} -pipe" for any
installation.  Funny enough, that is what the stages default to, anyway.
Amazing how that works, isn't it?  *grin*

Also, a configuration tool is beyond the scope of the installer project,
at least currently.  This project is for the design of a rapid
deployment tool for Gentoo.

>  be able to manually edit it as well. The thing that I find so
> daunting about linux, as compared to windows, is the fact that you
> have to know what almost every single file does. Wanna change your
> sound card? You have to know where /etc/alsa is. It is these kinds of

You know that many consider this to be one of the primary reasons *for*
using Linux, right?  I'd rather know what every file on my system does
than have 2GB of crap in "System32" that I'm not allowed to touch or
look at for fear of it completely hosing up my system.

>  things that frustrate me. Don't get me wrong, I know MANY, if not all
> but me on this mailing list, are opposed to catering to end users who
> don't want to have to memorize a 40 page guide to know how to install
> gentoo in their head, but I think it would be a good idea to have
> gentoo easy to configure. I'm not saying someone who doesn't know how

Well, we probably cater to "end users" more than most distributions,
through our excellent documentation.  Nobody expects you to remember it
all.  That's why we put the documentation on all of our release media.
We also have it available online in several forms.  We even translate it
into a bunch of languages, for non-English speakers.

The main thing to understand is that Linux is complex, as is any
operating system.  A computer is not a simple device like a TV or VCR.
Instead it is a complex system of interconnected parts.  You cannot
treat it like an appliance and expect to get good results from it.  This
is why we have such a dearth of information available at your disposal.

>  to install Windows will know how to setup and run a gentoo
> installation, but I think it should be easier to run then it currently
> is.

There's no skill involved in installing Windows, nor Gentoo.  If you can
click "Next" then you can install Windows.  If you can read and follow
directions, then you can install Gentoo.  It requires no real critical
thinking to follow instructions.  ;]

> On another side note I things that the thing that is blocking linux
> from the end user are application installation, and driver
> installation. Come up with an easy way to do both of these, and i'll
> never use win32 again :).

emerge $program?

genkernel all?

How much easier can it be?  I mean, we already beat the snot out of
Windows for usability.  Want Mozilla Firefox?  Type "emerge
mozilla-firefox" and wait.  If you wanted to do the same thing under
Windows, you would need to open a web browser, surf to
www.mozilla.org/firefox, grab a zip file of firefox, unzip it (hoping
you have an application to do so), run setup.exe, click "Next" 50
bazillion times, then click on "Finish".  This is a massive number of
steps to do a simple task, yet people claim that Linux is too hard to
use.

How about adding drivers?  Well, if you use genkernel, then you'll have
every driver pre-configured and ready to go on your system, minus one or
two minor things (yeah, graphics drivers suck).  If you follow the
Handbook and install coldplug, then you'll have 0 configuration to do.

> Again, I want to reidorate, I realize that the main focus of gentoo is
> to cater to so called "power users" who know everything about Linux,

No.  The main focus of Gentoo is to *empower* *all* users to do what
they want with Linux.  This can be anyone from a person who has never
touched Linux to a 30-year Unix veteran.  You aren't required to really
know what you're doing to use Gentoo.  You're just required to read and
comprehend.

>  and tweak everything in it. I just wish that I could have a tweakable
> operating system without reading 40 pages each time I installed it!

Feel free to write one.

One thing I always find humorous is the comparisons with Windows and
Linux where everyone claims Windows is easier.  It isn't.  In most cases
you have to do at *least* twice as much work to get something done.  The
main issue is that you're already *used* to doing all of that work, so
it doesn't *seem* like you're doing so much work.  Take my Firefox
example above and you'll understand what I mean.

Anyway, this is *way* off-topic for this list, so I'll shut up now.  ;]

-- 
Chris Gianelloni
Release Engineering - Strategic Lead
Games - Developer
Gentoo Linux
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Replies:
Re: educating users
-- Donnie Berkholz
References:
educating users
-- Andrew Gaffney
Re: educating users
-- Zac Medico
Re: educating users
-- Ɓukasz Damentko
Re: educating users
-- Nick Dimiduk
Re: educating users
-- Bryan Quigley
Re: educating users
-- Chris Gianelloni
Re: educating users
-- Paul J. Wilson
Re: educating users
-- Michael Miller
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Updated Jun 17, 2009

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