Re: Boot Logo Questions....

Niclas Anderberg (
Thu, 14 May 1998 13:40:41 +0200

-----Original Message-----
From: <>
To: <>
Date: 14. maj 1998 12:05
Subject: Re: Boot Logo Questions....


>One of the reasons I like Linux so much better than Win* and most other
>operating systems, is the fact that it doesn't try desperately to hide
>and/or abbreviate error messages all the time. It was written by and
>for the technically inclined, people who aren't scared of knowing what
>IRQ their network card is using.

You are so right about the original goal of Linux. But since the other
alternatives to Win has left the building (OS/2 is no real alternative in my
opinion, sorry to say.. much better os than win), the people *need* a new
alternative. Linux will never attract the total newbies due to the
complexity of UNIX, but the midlevel users should be a new target.

>This is why Linux was built, this is why so many extremely technically
>competent people are using it extensively.
>Perhaps this *is* harmful for the acceptance of Linux among the unwashed
>masses, perhaps Linux should adopt Win* habit of reporting error
>messages like "Your network doesn't work" or, for that matter, "Unknown
>error". I don't think so. I think exposure to the technical verbosity
>of Linux makes it - not simple, but at least straightforward - for users
>to increase their knowledge and technical understanding.

Windows isn't really *that* bad at errorreporting. MacOS on the other hand
is a disaster. For instance when i got the error "The tricky little MacTCP
is behaving strangely on it's own". But i agree i like the Linux
straightforward design plus the open sourcecode so i *know* that i can fix
whatever is wrong on my own.

Problem is, do you really want to configure *everything* manually?
Personally i like autoprobes, and then i check the settings so that it
agrees with me. The point is, i still want to be able to fix and get
reporting of errors the way it is now, but I am sure that one can design the
OS + applications so that one can choose the complexity of errorreporting
and usage. A good example is the new desktops for Linux, where we get
graphical user interfaces for everything, but if we don't want to use them,
we are (thanks god) free to use the command line. I.e. the user can choose
the complexity of the usage of his system.

>I've seen this happen - people who got tired of certain other OSes
>faults, installed Linux, and revelled in learning the ins and outs of
>the system. People without a deep technical background.

I haven't, they always complain to me to fix their problems :(. Besides if
you run a stable kernel, you are not likely to have any severe problems.

>I think that the more you try to hide complexity, the less people will
>try to understand that complexity, and of course, the more tempting it
>will be to sacrifice order, structure and cleanliness in design, in
>order to make things even neater and prettier on the surface.

I sometimes think of a computer as a car. Some people wants to tinker with
everything in the engine etc. but most ppl just want to drive. One must be
able to use Linux without snooping the kernel and reading hundreds of
manpages, otherwise Linux has no future with mid-level users.

>I think the "world domination - fast" slogan is misplaced, or at least
>misinterpreted (implying universal and exclusive usage). The user
>community with strong technical skills is in my opinion one of the major
>strengths of Linux. It would be okay if Linux was adopted by the
>millions who use other OSes on their desktops, but I doubt it would make
>a great contribution to the OS quality or functionality.

I agree on the part with technical ppl being the asset of Linux, but i still
think one at least should have the option of using Linux without knowing all
the internals.

/Niclas Anderberg
Studying Computer Science and Technology at LTH in Lund

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