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Date:      Thu, 9 Aug 2007 13:44:11 -0500
From:      Erik Osterholm <>
To:        Rolf G Nielsen <>
Subject:   Re: Convince me, please! - too much about "GUI"
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <> <> <> <200708091459.l79ExbIU016932@smtpclu-5.eunet.yu> <> <> <>

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On Thu, Aug 09, 2007 at 08:20:13PM +0200, Rolf G Nielsen wrote:
> >My ten year old niece has been brainwashed by the GUI quagmire. She saw
> >my FreeBSD 6-STABLE console on my amd64 3000+ and wanted to know why i
> >was using such an "old" computer. She had the visual aspect of the user
> >interface ingrained as a measure of the capabilities of the machine.
> >Granted, it could be only because she's ten, but I think we'd find a lot
> >of people think that something has to have more blinky lights and chrome
> >to be better or faster.
> I seriously doubt that it's only because she's ten. A friend of mine
> (who's 37) defines user-friendliness based on the number of tasks he can
> complete through a GUI. I used to think like that too, but not any
> longer. I first tried FreeBSD in 1998, but I couldn't get anything
> running. I just had no idea how, and I was expecting a nice
> "user-friendly" GUI, like Windoze, but without the constant crashes.


> Where most Windoze users find Windoze user-friendly, I find it
> user-hostile, because it hides the simplest things under tons of graphics.
> For some applications, like image manipulation, a good GUI is a must (at
> least that's my point of view), but good doesn't mean complex. And a GUI
> is certainly not needed for running a computer.
> My friend, whom I mentioned above, says my computer looks like a green
> screen from 1970's movies. I once tried to guide him over the phone
> through downloading a file using Windoze's built-in cli FTP client. He
> didn't even know that such a procedure was possible; he had the idea,
> that downloading a file required a graphical progress bar. After the
> file was downloaded (a GUI FTP client), he said it was the most horrible
> thing he'd ever done, and had comments about this being the 21st
> century. So, I doubt your niece's comment was just about her being a child.
> --
> Sincerly,
> Rolf Nielsen

User-friendliness is obviously subjective.  Some people consider a
system to be user-friendly if it doesn't require reading documentation
to start using it.  Some people consider a system to be user-friendly
if there is a simply, efficient interface.  It's rare to find software
where both of these are true.

In business, you simply can't forget the learning curve.  Learning how
to efficiently use Unix may not be the best use of epmployee time,
since most of them know how to use Windows already.  This is
especially true with high-turnover rates--how much time do you want to
spend training someone who will just jump ship for a better paying job
in 2 years?

Personally, I'm with you.  I'm much more efficient on the
command-line, but that's only because I've spent a not-insignificant
portion of my life using it.  I saw the benefits long ago, and even
though there was a learning curve (imagine having to actually read
documentation rather than going in blindly and clicking!), I feel that
it was worth it.


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