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Poseur eye for the Linux guy

Posted on Apr 14, 2005 by Chung-hong Chan

I am not a hacker, and never will be. I am totally a poseur in this area.
The reason for non-hacker is simple, I am not technically qualified to be a hacker. I cannot trip the deep of Unix or other GNU tools. I cannot write some useful code and quite impatient to read docs.
I am talking about real hacker, not the lamer who write trojan to break into your machine or cracker who use some smart way to get your user id and password.
I am a advocate of F/LOSS (Free/Libre Open sourced software). I support the world of F/LOSS by use the FL/OSS, test F/LOSS, report bugs and maybe translate the docs of F/LOSS.
I recently started an article in our wiki to discuss the reason for not using open source software and open standard.
Why I still use my Mac happily? Plus, whole lot of people still use their Windows 98 Boxes to do some serious work in office risk-takingly, even though it is aged, full of security holes and unsupported by Microsoft.
I started to figure out the reason for the IT people in a enterprise not using F/LOSS like Linux, kde, OO.o et al.
The key should be the open box experience. For ordinary people like me, I don't want to configure a lot to make a crucial function works. For example, it is a nightmare to switch on the chinese input engine in Kubuntu, which I installed in my office PC yesterday. Kubuntu is relatively new Linux Distro, so I got no document to follow. In my case, it required to configure the apt-get to work under the proxy server by modifying the config file, apt-get a lot of software and its library like xcin, chinput, scim...in packages (deb?). However, for Kubuntu, most of them are broken. Moreover, as the development team of Kubuntu lacks Asian, they don't know a thing called Skim and it is much easier to work with. As a result, I can't make any installation successful and I can read Chinese only in that kde box. Sorry for geek out.
However, you can input chinese right after you installed a fresh copy of Mac OSX. I really think that the reason for most people buy Mac OS X and even Windows, simply because of this open box experience. The folks from Cupertino and Redmond should had done a lot of marketing research to figure out what their users (mostly layman) need.
A slashdotted story detailed something similar. Kris stated in his commentary that

Linux is a powerful and versatile operating system, with many cool, addictive features and applications. Let's make sure that it doesn't take a new user two months to discover them.

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