Gentoo Archives: gentoo-installer

From: "Paul J. Wilson" <paulj.wilson@×××××.com>
To: gentoo-installer@l.g.o
Subject: Re: [gentoo-installer] educating users
Date: Mon, 19 Sep 2005 21:34:46
In Reply to: Re: [gentoo-installer] educating users by Michael Miller <>
The way I see it, the problem is not about the gentoo installer, but a 
problem of perceptions between the developers and the users. There is a 
further division between the "power users" and the "noobs".

It's easier said than done, but each side should step outside their own 
experience. To a developer, "easy" meains opening VI and drawing on their 
knowledge of hot keys and bash syntax. To the average user, "easy" means 
selecting options from a menu , or not selecting anything at all to have 
things turn out as intended.

Regular, everyday users tend not to have the time to spend on the finter 
points of linux and gentoo in particular. If the aim of the gentoo installer 
project is to make Gentoo more accessable to these types of users, then it's 
not unreasonable to expect these users to reach out somewhere for 
instruction. The fact that they DO reach out to the developers is an 
indication that 1. the answers are not obvious to them and 2. they are 
INTERESTED and willing to participate at some level. The fact that their 
interest, ability or level of participation does not match the same 
characteristics of the developers should not matter. Not everyone thinks 
alike. Not everyone has the same interests. Almost everyone wants to 

It's also obvious from the responses that some users do NOT find the 
handbook accessable. This can't be simply explained away by lack of 
intelligence. Again, what is obvious to some is not obvious to others, 
especially those who are not trained to think in technical terms. Brushing 
off the questions of every-day users as the work of "noobs" is a very easy 
and sloppy thing to do. 

There is a huge disconnect happening here. On the one hand, the Gentoo front 
matter seems to state that Gentoo is "all about choices" and goes on to 
strongly imply that the distribution can be all things to all users. There 
are a sub-set of users who 1. don't find the detail and fine-point 
instruction in the manual helpful 2. don't have the time to manually 
configure everything or 3. are not computer literate. It's obvious that 
there are large numbers of people who want to use gentoo but whose needs are 
not being met. I have the impression that the gentoo-installer project is an 
attempt to meet the needs of such users. 

I applaud the efforts of the installer devs and Gentoo at large. I use 
Gentoo on 5 machines, including this laptop. I think the installer is a 
great idea. 

I hope this honest and heartfelt criticism reaches you as intended: with 
respect and earnestness. I've been lurking on the mailing list a long time 
and I finally decided to throw in my two bits. 

Take Care


On 9/19/05, Michael Miller <1337mail@×××××.com> wrote:
> > I dislike the idea of a quiz to use the installer. As much as I hate to > admit it, I am a "newbie" to gentoo, to some degree. However, I did manage > to fairly easily install it by reading the handbook. It is pretty much just > following directions, being very time consuming(took me about 2-3 days to > get my first gentoo box up). I think personally, that a special guide should > be written for the installer detailing everything needed to be done. If you > are very insistant upon getting rid of the "newbies" in the IRC channel, and > insist on having some kind of quiz, I'd make a quiz to enter the IRC > channel. > 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 view, the > only thing seperating it from other distros save for portage. Many people > like to tweak every last bit of performance out 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), 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 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 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 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. > 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 :). > 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, 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! > Sorry for the long rant :), > Mike >


Subject Author
Re: [gentoo-installer] educating users Andrew Gaffney <agaffney@g.o>
Re: [gentoo-installer] educating users Zac Medico <zmedico@×××××.com>