Auteur Sujet: User abuse  (Lu 5045 fois)

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djohnston

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User abuse
« le: 28 janvier 2013 à 01:01:34 »
It is the subject of an article posted on the Open For Business website. While I agree with some of it, I don't agree with all of it. In particular, I agree that:

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Very few Open Source project managers understand the concept of stability of a product and fixing the good features already included. Once users incorporate software into their work routine, they don't want significant changes. They aren't computer technicians. They cannot be techies if they are to accomplish anything else. It's enough work just getting used to computers as part of the routine; computers cannot become the whole routine. Wholesale replacement needs to be far better than the previous stuff with no substantial difference in how it works. Users don't care what constitutes techie habits. They want technology harnessed to their habits. They'll compromise some, but frequent wholesale changes are not compromise, they are user abuse.

I found this part humorous:

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Open Source insiders don't understand that we'd like to use our computers, not have sex with them.

What do you think? Do you agree with what the author says?


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Re : User abuse
« Réponse #1 le: 28 janvier 2013 à 01:18:44 »
Hi,
I agree with that part but not with the rest of the page. I have read a bit more than when I answered to you previously, and I have noticed  that he has pointed to some of the programs which obviously are or were at a time the bad choices. I think even us, the first members of the LinuxVillage, would not advice any choice, any program, any specific distro and desktop without knowing what we are providing, having experience with it, in a way allowing us to help the users we will advice : this is likely to reduce the choice and therefore make it easier for final users who wouldn't know where to start.

There is a topic on which I am really not sure what to say is related to office suites. I am almost sure the actual Libreoffice versions must be really good ones, but I can only say "almost" because I am not a secretary, I don't know office suites more than typing a letter for my own use once a while, without any deep knowledge on how to do that in a sophisticated way, or even doing complex things with a calc sheet. So is he right about open source office suites versus ms office suites or is he wrong ? (apart from the fact free software suites are retro compatible, and ms office are not... )



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djohnston

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Re : Re : User abuse
« Réponse #2 le: 28 janvier 2013 à 07:22:45 »
I am almost sure the actual Libreoffice versions must be really good ones, ...

In fact, they are. Many pundits cry that other office suites are not up to the "quality" of MS Office suite. Let's just look at one long standing problem with Excel. The page I'm linking to is a workaround solution for working with dates prior to 1900. He begins with this statement:

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Excel stores recent dates as a date serial number, which allows us to sort those dates and perform date arithmetic. Unfortunately, Excel's serial number begins on January 1, 1900; and negative serial numbers aren't recognized.

That's not the only problem. You see, 1900 was not a leap year, but the Excel program treats it as one. No other spreadsheet programs I am aware of have this glaring error. Just do a search for "Excel 1900 leap year" and you'll get many, many matches.

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Re : User abuse
« Réponse #3 le: 28 janvier 2013 à 13:52:21 »
I had never heard of that. What do you do with years in spreadsheets ? And what happens in other office suites with real leap years ?  :-[

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Re : User abuse
« Réponse #4 le: 29 janvier 2013 à 00:00:55 »
An interesting article, although I think that in the end the writer threw the baby out with the bath water - even I would take Ubuntu over Windows!! Open/Libre Office is pretty much up to speed and works well in the real world, and there are plenty of other examples of open-source that do a better job than their closed-source counterparts.  However he did manage to hit a couple of big nails on the head. 

I wear two hats when I do Linux.  The first is as a hobbyist, a tinkerer, a hacker.  I like to get under the bonnet, fiddle about, build systems, play with artwork, try out different things.  My other hat is as a computer user, and as a user I want my system to be rock solid, stable and not messed about with.  I like continuity, reliability and I tend to be conservative in my software choices.

Enough has been written about the cavalier attitudes of some developers - the KDE4, Gnome3, consolecrud and sudo debacles are well known.  In the real world these projects would go bust or be redeveloped at the behest of the users.  Do it or lose market share and go broke.  Mind you, some companies like Google and Facebook have been known to treat their user base with utter contempt, probably based on the fact that they know the user doesn't have much choice in the matter.  Interestingly within Linux the Openbox scene doesn't seem to suffer from this syndrome - maybe that's due to a strong female presence in the upper echelons, although that's no guarantee of ethics either.   

However, I can see where the writer is coming from - I am a great believer in the adage "If it isn't broken, don't fix it".  I am also a firm believer in accepting at times that something can't actually be improved - sometimes something just works so well that it doesn't need to be fiddled with.  I know this must be particularly galling for developers, but that is one of the points this article is making.  Is the product out there for the sake of the developer, or for the user?

If the product is out there for the user then the needs and wishes of the user have to be taken into account.  In the real world computer users do a select number of things, using specific software that they have become used to, and almost automating tasks through repetition.  I do research, upkeep three websites, do a weekly article for our local newspaper, do some graphic production, and build computer systems.  I don't like my system unduly messed about with by bored and pushy developers.  I don't want to keep relearning how things work.  I don't want to have to keep changing the way I do things because somebody has decided there is a "better" way.  The bottom line is that the computer is just a tool and I need it to be predictable, and I need the development base to be non-intrusive.

In the end though Open Source has to be the choice of thinking people.  There are plenty of examples on both sides of less than friendly behaviour to the end user, but at least in the Open Source world you can participate.  That may not suit the "typical" computer user that the article talks about, but then you have to decide whether you want to be part of the herd or to follow what you think is right.  Neither is a particularly easy road - and neither is limited to computer systems either.  There are many other things in life that require simliar decisions.
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Re : User abuse
« Réponse #5 le: 29 janvier 2013 à 01:46:44 »
And computers, especially Personal Computers is a field where are needed advanced techs, advanced users, middle advanced, so that end users have people who they can count with to help them go through this mountain of information and possibilities.

And whether or not we like it, we once a while need to adapt to new ways of doing some of the things we were used to (I'll turn the knife in the wound: consolekit, gimp, systemd...)

btw, I wanted to suggest you try to make also a Village Openbox version with Debian stable : why not ? After all, this is the version which will be less likely to break until the next stable will be out ?

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Re : User abuse
« Réponse #6 le: 29 janvier 2013 à 03:45:05 »
Citation de: melodie
And whether or not we like it, we once a while need to adapt to new ways of doing some of the things we were used to (I'll turn the knife in the wound: consolekit, gimp, systemd...)
Ouch - stop it with that pointy thing  :o 

I use Gimp a lot, and it became a victim of the classic example of "improvements" - the save/export debacle was unnecessary and the text tool is now a complete pain.  The developers figured they were right - end of story.  Quite hostile in fact.  All a pointed example of putting users over a barrel - "don't like, go use something else" - like what?  Console crud was just a disaster and died.  Systemd is about trying to fix a whole pile of "improvements" - I have no issue with that.  Change for the sake of change though, in any field,  is annoying mindless behaviour.

Regarding Village_OB as a Stable release, that can be very easily accomplished.  Wheezy is now in freeze and technically Village_OB is stable.  Once the decree is issued by Debian we simply change the sources.list to Stable.  We can also keep a version as Testing - in fact we can also have a SID version as well!  Just a case of changing the sources.list. 
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djohnston

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Re : Re : User abuse
« Réponse #7 le: 29 janvier 2013 à 04:44:53 »
I don't like my system unduly messed about with by bored and pushy developers.  I don't want to keep relearning how things work.  I don't want to have to keep changing the way I do things because somebody has decided there is a "better" way.  The bottom line is that the computer is just a tool and I need it to be predictable, and I need the development base to be non-intrusive.

Exactly. That's why I posted the link to this article. The writer trashes open source, but makes the valid point that people don't want what already works for them changed. KDE lost a lot of users, (including me), when version 4 came out. In my case, it wasn't just because the interface changed, or the configurations changed. I would have to deal with that even if I changed to a different desktop environment. Rather, it was because nearly all of the productivity tools that already existed no longer worked. It took the developers several years to bring KDE4 back up to the usability level that KDE3 already was. At least, that's what I am told. Not using KDE4, I'll have to take others' word for it.

As far as keeping developers busy just for the sake of it, a short example from personal experience. When I wrote computer output microfilm programs, the company had Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) as one of its clients. Once every quarter, they sent their reports on magnetic tape to be microfiched. Every single quarter, the report layout for every single report had been changed. So, four times a year, the camera operators received stacks of magnetic tapes from DCCCD to be microfiched. And every time, the produced microfiche had to be trashed, each program for each report rewritten, each program's output tested and a second production run made. This cost our microfilm company a small amount of money in the cost of film and chemicals for film processing. It cost our microfilm company a lot of money in lost man hours.

As members of our company's sales force came and went, no one sales person took the responsibility to nip the problem in the bud. One particular salesman stayed with our microfilm company and took possession of the DCCCD account. The first time the problem repeated itself, he came to me and asked me why it was happening. After receiving the explanation, he spent two hours of his time in a meeting with the DCCCD IT department heads explaining the problem. To his credit, he had the courage to tell them they would be charged, in the future, $250 extra per quarter for each report that had been changed from the previous quarter. Even if we received advance notice the reports had been changed.

The output format of their quarterly reports never changed again, and the account became much more porfitable to our microfilm company than it had ever been. The college had been assigning the reports to their COBOL students as part of their curriculum. Since no student ever worked on the same report more than once, each print report format had never been the same from quarter to quarter. It was done in the name of giving fledgling programmers something to do.

Just one small example of time, money and productivity lost as a result of programming changes. I am sure there are many, many others.
« Modifié: 15 février 2013 à 03:31:29 par djohnston »

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Re : User abuse
« Réponse #8 le: 29 janvier 2013 à 04:53:00 »
There is one change in the new Gimp which I don't dislike, is the menu which allows to replace directly an image after it was modified. It is in the menu "File". The export thing for sure I don't find it very convenient either. And it bothers me when Gimp asks if I want to save the work, because I don't want it to save to it's own format each time I do something with an image. I wonder if there would not be an option to configure it differently ? I have not even looked...

Systemd : I try to get used to it but I am not convinced either that it is needed at all. (Even if some say it makes the system faster, I was finding it fast enough already... )

About Debian generally : I have tried to use it as a main distribution several times along the years since 2004, and could never get used to it. I was finding Stable having programs too old, testing being unstable when it was a brand new testing, sid too unstable and not even more recent applications when it comes to using the most recent stable applications. If fact I don't find a distribution which comes close to Archlinux regarding this. (And let's not talk about the recent paste, and not use that pointy thing again ;) )

There is also one thing which I find strange in Debian testing, is the way the package manager acts when we make it not install recommends, and then change for using them. I was expecting it to install the very depends needed, while installing recommends as default is set to false, but at times it didn't. I had to be very careful with that, and this is a behavior I didn't notice in Ubuntu LTS. Also Ubuntu has the community packages at "ppa" which Debian does not have, and which often allows having packages much more recent than the ones available in the repositories (ie : VLC 2.xx was available for the last LTS : 10.04, in a ppa repos, which was nice because then it was possible to watch a webm audio-video format).

Debian benefits of a large community and is provided for many architectures, this is why very often it is nice to be able to use it, and also it is possible to have help when needed, and very efficient too. However I would not provide it for beginners or any non tech users... even though there is Synaptic and many gui tools.

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Re : User abuse
« Réponse #9 le: 29 janvier 2013 à 05:48:04 »
I think the "problem" with old programs in Debian is a bit overrated.  We have Crunchbang Squeeze on my wife's computer running Chromium 6 and Gimp 2.4 or 2.6, plus OpenOffice from back then.  It's still all working as reliably as the day it was installed.  Currently I'm running Chromium 22 on my system, and I'll be darned if I can tell the difference between it and my wife's.  It's one of the reasons I walked away from Firefox (not the only one) - every time you turn around there is another update or new version!  We also have GoogleEarth and Inkscape from back then, and again there are no issues.  Sometimes the conservative approach delays or offsets the pain you can get from bleeding edge development.  I really wish I could go back to Gimp 2.6 - it simply worked better!

I don't enable "--no-install-recommends" by default.  Just sometimes you need the full lot of recommends.  Of course I don't use Synaptic so I don't have an issue with a little bit of extra typing when needed.  This allows me to compare what the potential install might include, and then I can decide what I want.  Besides, at some point your system should reach a point of contentment, with everything set up - installing items from then on should only be occasional! 

Like PPAs for Ubuntu there are private repos for Debian packages.  Spacefm and Remastersys spring to mind.  They are just as secure as PPAs with sign in keys and the like. 

Debian as a distro is not the greatest - its strength lies in the base it supplies to others who want to build on it.  Crunchbang is a classic example of Debian done well, and I would definitely use Mint LMDE over Ubuntu.



   
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djohnston

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Re : User abuse
« Réponse #10 le: 29 janvier 2013 à 05:59:42 »
Yeah, I'd definitely choose Debian, the mothership, over *buntu. Just one more word about Debian: backports.


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Re : Re : User abuse
« Réponse #11 le: 29 janvier 2013 à 16:05:35 »
Yeah, I'd definitely choose Debian, the mothership, over *buntu. Just one more word about Debian: backports.

Ok, please explain backports to me?

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djohnston

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Re : Re : Re : User abuse
« Réponse #12 le: 29 janvier 2013 à 19:12:19 »
Ok, please explain backports to me?

Introduction

You are running Debian stable, because you prefer the Debian stable tree. It runs great, there is just one problem: the software is a little bit outdated compared to other distributions. This is where backports come in.

Backports are recompiled packages from testing (mostly) and unstable (in a few cases only, e.g. security updates) in a stable environment so that they will run without new libraries (whenever it is possible) on a Debian stable distribution


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Re : User abuse
« Réponse #13 le: 29 janvier 2013 à 21:35:50 »
Thank you for explaining. Therefore Backports is not either the solution I would like to have, it is also outdated in many cases.

I assure you, install an Archlinux, set it up the way you like or even with several ways you like, and you tell me the difference. And the Ubuntu ppa place is not close to AUR, because each "ppa" needs an action to be added to the package manager ring, but at least it allows getting the latest from many of the applications most liked.

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djohnston

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Re : Re : User abuse
« Réponse #14 le: 29 janvier 2013 à 21:41:28 »
I assure you, install an Archlinux, set it up the way you like or even with several ways you like, and you tell me the difference.

I don't know the difference ... Yet. A question for you. How do you remaster an Arch installation?