Friday, April 10, 2009

Christine Hansen on Earning the Next Generation of Linux End-Users

Earning Future End-Users Now
Dr. Christine L.E.V. Hansen, CEO of Le Ciel
Arguably the largest divide in Linux remains the divide between developers and end-users. Developer oriented forms of communicating, like mailing-lists and wikae, are often the sole sources of information about projects. The future of Linux relies on connecting the developers, and the corporations, with the end-users who may not know what Linux is. What this end-user will know, or will have heard, is: 'somewhere there is free software.' Their next question/search will be: 'where can I get it?'As a point of departure, I propose a web site in plain language which serves as an index of Linux projects. All projects: commercial, nonprofit, ones in process, big, small. Obviously, voluntary participation. All together in one, search-able place. Audience: users, developers, corporators. The technical level is not as important as the pragmatic and visionary level, which ought to be high. High collaboration factor.

What the World sees:
1) Too slow
2) No 'instant ignition'
3) Product/project redundencies
4) ---oops missed it ---

Christine provided a distinction between "pure" and "applied" developers - pure being much of the first wave, idealogical, focused on Linux for themselves; applied being more focused on projects, more aware of their end users, more often speaks both tech and a human language, may be outside of North America.

Next Step:  Step Up
Instant ignition, in their own language(s), solve the rediculous problem of redundant effort, introduce a multilingual Linux web presence, empower global Linii.  (is that a plural for Linuxes?)

Christine pointed out that Transparent Software often has an organic life that may help it to live much longer than many of the short term trends.






3 Comments:

At 8:07 PM, Blogger Sean said...

I chanced to run across your 'blog, for an entry you'd made about the browser ... truces? It came up in a google search, when I thought to look to see if there was any of much commentary about the differences between the belated Iceape, the current Iceweasel, and the ever-ongoing Firefox that all this has derived from.

As far as that goes, then: Hypothetically, if Firefox was released in a Debian package for the current, stable Debian release, I'd use it -- just to cut out some more middle-men between where I presume the original work is occurring, and where the results of that work get installed onto a computer that I'm in charge of.


as far as Ms. Hansen's statements, I would like to raise the rhetorical question: Does Linux need any more users?

I'm not saying as we would need to try to turn away any new users. I just don't see if we really need to actively seek any new users, either.

In my impression, the Linux kernel and the Debian OS, both. are in solidly stable states of development equilibrium. That's the OS and the Kernel I use -- end of story, along that line.

hile I know it's from no input from me, but I'm honestly kind of happy for how they are in a stable equilibrium.

I know, there are a lot more projects out there, whose project results I actively make use of. I don't see how I would need to add any more 10w40 to the engine, to make it work out like it already does.


The way I see it, people who are committed to actually make sense of Linux (like compared to "making sense of Windows", as if) these folks will naturally follow their intentions, and will gradually get more familiar with Linux. That's about as far I'm concerned about new users.

One thing I find reassuring about using a Linux distribution: We don't have to fret ourselves about how many users there are under Debian, Ubuntu, Knoppix, Slackware, or what have you.

These projects are not dependent on commercial schemes, for success. We don't have to pretend as if they were.

Now as for the question, how does anyone pay their bills while they're working on Apache HTTPD? I sure don't know, and it appears as that I really don't need to meddle about it, for it to work out.



Of all the things that may come out of this economic downturn -- once everyone would agree that it's turning back up again -- I hope it would be if we can learn to not be so damned spoiled, honestly (thinking of "Instant gratification" and other such nonsense).

When developers in the Linux space start looking for users, and trying to appease the popular whim, that's when we'll get more spoiled users -- users who aren't going to do what it takes, to fix their own systems problems, and who will nonetheless raise stinks for how it's just not working out, for 'em. I don't see how the community needs it.

The Linux community has a gravity of its own, and a stable equilibrium. While I can indeed appreciate the tone of a happy-happy feel-good sentiment, about expanding the Linux community, but I, for one, do not plan on trying to reconfigure the existing community, for how it truly is -- nor to engage in any efforts that could be acclaimed to be for such expansionist ideals ;)

I don't honestly see how Ms. Hansen could have addressed anything that's not already been taken care of -- e.g. in the convenient 'download' links ("Where can I get it?") and the massive amount of documentation under debian.org ("How do I use it?", but wait, she didn't mention that one).

Pardon me for my tongue in cheek, here.

Here's a stiff cup of coffee, raised in high cheer, to the Linux community, for it being exactly as it is.

 
At 8:00 AM, Blogger Bryan said...

Gerrit,
I'm not sure what you mean by:
> What the World sees:
> 1) Too slow
> 2) No 'instant ignition'
> 3) Product/project redundencies
> 4) ---oops missed it ---

Is there some context I'm missing?

I'm a relatively new Ubuntu user.
1) Most things are faster than I'm used to on Windows. At many levels.
2) Often, if I don't have a command I need, I get a prompt telling me how to download it immediately from the web.
3) Ok, at times I do have the question, what is the best option among open source options. But often if I go with the most popular, it works well.
4) I totally don't understand "oops missed it".

-- Bryan Jacobsn

 
At 8:49 AM, Blogger Gerrit said...

Hi Bryan,

The comments you pointed at were transcribed from Christine's slide (and the "oops, I missed it" meant that the slide slid by before I could read the last bullet). The first comment on "too slow" I believe referred to things like translations, rate of evolution of capability, etc. The comment about "instant ignition" referred to very fast start up times when booting the OS and getting all the way to end-user productivity.

Product/project redundencies I believe referred to the fact that even within a distro, there were often many ways to accomplish a task, each with strengths and weaknesses, and no focus between projects on finding a single strong solution that was unambiguous to the average users (e.g. like the MS Office suite is for those tasks on Windows today).

I think your reference to "commands" implies the old school thinking that you and I as long term Unix users expect - the typical international Microsoft user rarely gets to a command line and I don't know of any real equivalent for the GUI space.

I hope that helps. If you still have questions, I can point Christine at this entry and maybe she can help clarify as well.

 

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