Friday, February 5, 2010

Does Linux spank its users hard?

This note is a collection of my replies to the comments I got for my previous post, Userfriendliness is a myth.

My point is Ubuntu 9.10 is almost up to the level of Windows. And still "Linux is terminal" image is left untouched. I thought "User-friendliness" has become an exaggerated concept used against FOSS and specifically Linux. And "is it similar to Microsoft stuff?" kind of questions are not so rare. The issue I see is the enlargement of the user-friendliness issues of Open Source software among the young ppl. And I guess, we should give strong resistance to this thought.

I remember once our OOP lecturer Mr.Sanjaya.K asked "Why Linux is not so popular?", and at that time my answer was "It's not so user-friendly", which he refused as a valid answer, and mentioned the user-friendliness factor may be lacking, but the reality is the advertisement and the proper marketing of Windows and the first mover advantage. It is also said that Ubuntu tries to mimic Windows.

My argument was not against proper implementation of user-friendliness. I strongly felt the need to avoid scaring others about open-source software. Who said you have to join nuts-and-bolts when using Ubuntu? It runs almost like Windows.

When Abiword was first built in 1999, Ms.Word was taken as the model. Their idea was to produce an open source equivalent to Ms.Word, and they almost succeeded. IMO, Ms.Word continued to grow as a giant grabbing all the unnecessary (for a common use) features into it, and as a user I feel Abiword is more user-friendly at the moment (well, It may be a biased opinion ;)), though it lacks the later features of Ms.Word. On the other hand, building Abiword may be difficult, but not using it. So just download the installer, install, and use it. Done! :) I agree, my argument is based on Ubuntu and Abiword, and my views are extremely biased.. ;) And many open source applications do lack the usability factors.

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