Linux for Dummies

I’ve just found a link to an article asking for Linux newbies to comment on what they think needs to be done to improve Linux at Slashdot.org. They’ve created a Wiki to allow them to record anyone’s comments and suggestions.

Unfortunately, they are only taking comments on 5 categories: Email, Letter and Printing, Surfing the Web, Firewall and Installation. Well, that’s pretty pointless and, anyone who has visited the site, knows it’s far too complicated and sub-divided to let people leave any useful comments.

All they want is a big-ass forum, with one topic: How could Linux be improved for newbies?

Now, I’ve dabbled with Linux, my development machine runs RH9, but I am a) not confident enough with it to move it onto my main machine, b) I haven’t got enough time to learn it and c) setting it up like my win machine isn’t a 5 second (or minute, or day, or possibly week) job. I think I qualify as a newbie, so here’s my recommendations:

  1. Simplify the install process. I want 3 options for the entire process, not 30 options just for choosing my mouse! Everything else should be automatic.
  2. Pick a default desktop, don’t give me the option, do it. I can learn how to change it later should that grab me, or I be a haxor, but otherwise, I don’t want to choose from 5.
  3. Just what is the different between a WM and a desktop environment?
  4. Software installs. RPM is the best you’ve got? I want one click, everything included installs, not ones that whine about dependencies.
  5. Software uninstalls. I want a central remove program list that lets me remove all the software by selecting and okaying, not trawling through directories to delete individual files.
  6. Hardware, I want the sucker to work with just a driver install, not only after I’ve recompiled the kernal.
  7. Too much. There’s far too much software and functionality that the average person doesn’t want or need. Make these be options to have, not stuff that’s installed from the word go. Basically, strip out everything I don’t need and give me a simple, bare-bones install.

That’s what Linux needs to be successful for the home user. So, I ask the Linux community to get on it because right now Linux has the best chance it’s ever had. Windows is an empire waiting to fall.

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