Re: official support for more scripting languages in gnome needed

    Dominic> Microsoft have managed.

Not over the same timeframe as Linux.  How long has Linux been around,
seven, eight years?  I doubt you'd be happy using a 1988-era version of

    Dominic> Keep the core as lean as possible, then let users decide what
    Dominic> programs they will want to use, then everyone will be happier.

    >> That, unfortunately, works against the notion of making Linux more
    >> widely accessible to the unwashed masses.  They will generally want
    >> one-click installations (oops, did I just violate some Amazon
    >> copyright?)...

    Dominic> What research have you done to be in a position to say that?
    Dominic> You can't make sweeping generalisations like that unless you
    Dominic> can support it with some evidence.  I for one would far prefer
    Dominic> to spend an hour installing packages that I want to stop my
    Dominic> machine being filled with 600Mb of software I'm never going to
    Dominic> use.

I make no claims of anything but anecdotal evidence, but I have plenty of
anecdotes.  I manage all the user support for the following:

    * Musi-Cal and Mojam websites
    * One fairly active Mailman-based mailing list of parents at the school
      one of my sons attends

I've been running Musi-Cal for over six years.  I've been running the
mailing list for about 15 months.  Probably 99% of the people in both user
populations would be considered novices by anybody reading this message.
Here are some actual examples of how they think of the systems you and I
take for granted:

    * because they subscribe/unsubscribe from the mailing list using a web
      page, they think the mailing list is variously, a website, a chat
      room, or a bulletin board system.  This model often persists long
      after they've been subscribed to the mailing list for several months
      and have been getting messages in their mailbox.

    * No matter how often people are reminded that they can edit the items
      they've submitted to Musi-Cal's database, and ignoring the fact there
      is an "edit the items you submitted" link on the Musi-Cal front page,
      many of them continue to send me email messages asking me to make
      changes to their events.

    * I've been married to the same woman for almost 20 years and I've been
      a computer geek that entire time, there to help her any time she needs
      it (bless her heart that she's put up with me for so long).  We've had
      a Mac of one sort or another since our first SE purchased when they
      first came out.  I still have to help her save a web page from
      Netscape and load it into AppleWorks.

These are the sorts of people who will dominate the Linux community if it is
ever to be successful on the desktop on a scale similar to Windows.  You
(collectively, not you, Dom) have to realize that you are *not* the
mainstream.  The requirements we place on our systems are so far outside of
the mainstream as to be insignificant in the long-run.  We are to the
mainstream as LILO is to Linux - nothing more than the bootstrap system -
useful to get things running, but utterly inconsequential once the system

    >> Finally, I just popped on over to  It's kinda tough to
    >> get terribly worried about Linux or Windows installation size when
    >> you can buy a Seagate Barracuda 20GB Ultra ATA hard drive for
    >> $114.95...  That 700Mb you're worried about only takes up 3% of such
    >> a disk.

    Dominic> That's not an excuse for rediculous default installs by any
    Dominic> stretch of the imagination.  Not everyone can justify $115.

No, but most of the people in RedHat's and Debian's future audience can
justify $115 today.

Skip Montanaro (skip pobox com)

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