[svlug] Gates on Linux, Browsers, Open Source whatever

William Black wjblack at yahoo.com
Mon Apr 19 12:32:22 PDT 1999

I agree 100% that this is the case, but that isn't the point I was
trying to make.  The argument wasn't that Linux is good/bad for
environment X, but that we can't forget the class of users we're
dealing with in many situations.  Any system (as in system of doing
things, not an individual computer) can be well-configured or poorly
configured for a given situation (site, users, etc.), but you can't
forget to take into consideration the thinking patterns of your users
and their expectations.

If you mention the task of "typing up a memo," many users will think
"Word."  Others might think "WordPerfect," "Outlook," "Netscape," or a
myriad of other programs.  The trick in these cases is to get the user
to think a little outside of the box and accept a better solution.  It
took thousands of trained Microsoft salesfolk (VARs, etc.) to get folks
to be willing to migrate from WordPerfect to Word (with a little help
from WPC blunders and some MS skullduggery).  All we have is ourselves,
but that's a lot if we plan and implement properly.

This translates into two simple ideas:  1) As SAs, we need to
constantly be selling our ideas to both managers and to users.  2) We
need to remember our experience as ordinary users and apply it to the
issues we run into while prototyping systems.  Not to toot my own horn,
but I have these skills from 1) selling computers retail for most of
1995 and 2) from working at a helpdesk for most of 1996, then
supporting helpdesk techs for most of 1997.  If you're an SA and you're
missing one of these attributes, you're probably not providing the
level of support that your users need.

My $0.02.  Flame on!

--- Arthur Thomas <athomas at globalcenter.net> wrote:
> I'd like to point out that while signing in for a
> meeting @ Sun Microsystems,
> I noticed the front desk people were using Ultra5's
> and CDE. Granted, I'm
> sure they only used it for email and the intranet
> but still, I see a place
> for Unix, and more specifically linux at the front
> desk, replacing winbloze.
> If they have font questions, they'll ask them no
> matter what OS is running.
> Arthur
> > I don't think he meant installing fonts.  I think
> he meant something
> > more like the following:
> > 
> > "OK, I have this title at the top of this paper
> I'm writing.  Now I
> > want to make it bigger and slanty.  How do I do
> that."
> > 
> > Let us never forget what class of folk we're
> talking about, here.

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