Alistair Davidson lord_inh at
Wed Jul 25 12:20:59 UTC 2001

John Peter Tapsell wrote:
> On Wed, 25 Jul 2001, you wrote:
> > > On Tue, 24 Jul 2001, John wrote:
> > >
> > > I feel the UI should _not_ be as independent from the OS structure as possible.
> > > I've taken UI classes etc, and heard these argument, but they are after maxing
> > > usability.
> > > We should be after raising the users awareness of how things work, and
> > > understanding it.
> > > I want the UI to be tied to the OS structure as much as possible.
> > > I don't want too much abstraction in the UI - this is what leads to clueless
> > > users.
> >
> > No, that doesn't follow.  A good UI will make it easy - by itself it will
> > do no more, no less.  Users will only remain ignorant of the
> > workings if (a) they don't care about them, or (b) the workings have
> > been obfuscated.  Avoiding (b) is one of free software's main goals.
> > But (a) is a personal choice that we shouldn't attempt to control.
> > Computer science, quoth Dijkstra, is about computers in the way
> > astronomy is about telescopes.
> But again your users are just users - and I totally agree if that is the case.
> What I'm trying to say is that we should force the users into being more
> technical then users, and having to have some understanding of the underlying
> workings.
> Do you agree/disagree that if use the base assumption we want more technical
> users, then we can't abstract the UI too much, and we have to make the UI
> closely related to the inner workings?

I would say that, while the UI should try to show the inner workings of
the OS as far as as it can, this should not be odne in a way that
comprimises usability. Usability first, technical accuracy second.

Last time I checked, for example, the physical compoenents of my hard
drive weren't structured as a heirarchy. However, the file system (on
this box, FAT32 :( ), is heirachical. I find that it's a lot easier to
use that way.
> I agree with everyones points about abstracting etc for lusers, but we
> shouldn't aim to cater for them, instead aim for the more techinical user - the
> ones that will be interested in knowing how to fix simple problems by
> themselves, and not be afraid to use a terminal.

Nobody was talking about hiding the terminal or anything. Even the Sun
report just suggested rneaming it to "command prompt" or somesuch.
Nothing prevents us from catering for the non-technical user ("luser"- I
don't like that term in this context, it's condescending) AND the
technical user AND the hacker, all at the same time.

Rick's World:

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