[oclug] Looking for aquarium screen saver
wisq-oclug at wisq.net
Tue Apr 5 11:59:56 EDT 2005
On Tue, Apr 05, 2005 at 09:01:00AM -0400, miden wrote:
> >Most paying commercial installations use Linux for server
> >applications, gateway/firewall applications and routing
> Yes - a battle that has been won. So maintain supremacy there while
> looking to other potential areas of dominance.
A minor distinction: I wouldn't say this has been won; simply that we
control a large chunk of the battlefield, our momentum suggests we
will control more later, but we still have to be very wary of raiders
> >Eye candy, graphics in general, and user interfaces that
> >rely on console graphical interfaces cause exponential bloat growth,
> >decrease speed and generally make configuration and maintenance more
> >complicated and less reliable.
> Complete agreement here. Complete. Still, if we want Linux to advance
> into a wider market, it is a factor that will have to be taken into
> account. And the level of programming skills found in the Linux
> community might just overcome this factor.
If someone doesn't have the skills or willingness to help improve
usability code, but does have both with regards to making great
looking screensavers (or other eye-candy), then by all means, that's
the best way they can contribute.
I certainly don't think that eye-candy should detract from other areas
of OS improvement. IIRC, several OSes have fallen off the market (or
in the case of Mac, been marginalised) because they looked great but
lacked in other areas. And Windows succeeded despite looking butt-
ugly (by comparison) until recently. Now it's just marketroid ugly. ;)
> >Linux owns an ever-increasing chunk of the server marketplace, but has
> >not made an appreciable dent in the desktop marketplace.
> I believe this is because design and fashion as marketing tools have
> been rather neglected.
On the contrary -- Linux as the media 'OS fashion of the decade' has
undoubtedly helped it in the server market. That just hasn't been
extended to the desktop yet. But I still believe clean and efficient
interfaces (and good software to get the jobs done) will do that
better than eye-candy.
> Unfortunately, many of the users and potential users do not have those
> skills. The 'if you don't like it, fix it' response simply results in
> their turning to (or remaining with) some other product.
If they find a legitimate bug in a piece of software, they can report
it, and someone skilled will fix it. 'Lack of screensaver <n>' is not a
bug; it's a wishlist item at best.
If someone refuses to switch, or switches back, because they can't get
the exact screensaver they want, that's their business. Maybe someday
they'll be able to make the transition properly, but I don't see why
the community should have to jump through hoops to placate a fickle
user's need for spurious eye-candy.
This is self-fulfilling, too. Once more people use Linux, the eye
candy will come naturally. The whole reason Windows has so many
screensavers available is because a certain small percentage of the
userbase are going to make eye-candy in whatever environment they
> >Since I earn my living from installing and maintaining server
> >applications, I value stability and reliability over appealing to
> >desktop users (who are as a rule unwilling to pay).
> Unwilling to pay? Microsoft and Mac might disagree. They probably
> hope that you keep on believing that.
In my experience, users will only pay for tangible things. They buy
the computer (and pay the tax for the pre-installed OS), and they buy
the office suite, but most generally won't (knowingly) pay to have
someone install software -- or worse, *maintain* it.
Hence, with regards to Bill earning his living, yeah, he's far better
off sticking to the server crowd. ;)
> >The great thing about open source is that everyone is free to
> >tailor their installations to meet their own needs.
> The ordinary non-tailoring crowd likes 'off-the-rack'. Industries
> are built on that.
Yeah, and the ordinary non-tailoring crowd run open wireless APs that
let anyone sap their bandwidth or poke their unfirewalled machines;
who don't adjust their mail client security settings to prevent
running bogus attachments; who don't install virus scanners and keep
them up to date; who don't apply security patches; etc.
This plug-in-and-go mentality is not something we should be
encouraging. We shouldn't intentionally make it *hard* to configure,
of course -- it needs to be as simple as possible (while keeping the
user informed). Ordinary users should not have to edit config files
by hand. And anything that *can* be safely defaulted should be.
But the concept that *everything* should operate on default settings
alone (the 'appliance' mentality) is a total mistake, IMO.
> >Do I personally give a
> >bad rap to eye candy? I do not think so - it has it´s place.
> 'it has it's place' is such a nice, gentle way of downplaying the
> importance of the factor being discussed :-)
Well, I guess I've made it clear by now that my opinion is similar to
Bill's, and that "it has its place" isn't downplaying what is
(IMO) already a relatively unimportant part of Linux.
> Tight, reliable... and beautiful and fashionably 'kewl' - I think Linux
> has the potential to deliver it all.
It does. But we need to focus on the more functional and efficient
stuff first, I believe. There is beauty in efficiency, even if it's
not visual. The visual beauty will come naturally later.
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