... for total Linux beginners, with the focus on Mint [since it's *by far* the easiest distro to come to grips with, as I'm sure we'd all agree!].
Starting from the fundamentals and moving on from there: downloading the iso, getting it onto a CD/DVD/USB, booting the live distro and having a good play around, installation [including dual-booting since, let's admit it, Wine still ain't anywhere near user-friendly yet!], setting up the few necessities that Mint doesn't already sort out on its own, finding one's way around, installing programs, theming/sexing-up the desktop [not that Julia really needs it -- fwoah!], finding alternatives to Windows stuff, taking part in the community and properly harnessing its resources, all that sort of thing. Essentially, making it as clear, simple and friendly as possible to get started from square-one and enjoy doing it.
Obviously, I'd also want to be providing a simple but solid idea of what FLOSS is about, why it's awesome and worth the extra effort to investigate, without being too scary or preachy or MS-negative about it. Being clear about both the advantages *and* the limitations of Linux and helping to avoid the common abandonment that comes from new users being overwhelmed by it all. Friendly, inclusive language and simple instructions. Baby-steps, y'know?
We all know there are plenty of resources available to the intermediate-to-advanced user -- scattered all over the 'net for the keen hunter who knows what they're looking for [GIYF!, etc] -- but for the average Joe who just wants a system that works, without too much fuss, the Linux world can still be a pretty intimidating place. Knowing where to look is half the problem. Understanding what you find is the other half.
Ubuntu, even with its attempts at friendliness and its wealth of documentation, remains a head-scratcher to the true beginner [I know; I've been there]. Even Mint, as blessedly user-friendly and generally foolproof as it is, could still do with a beginner's course, particularly if it's going to be the distro that truly gets the non-geek/regular-user world's attention [which it really, really COULD!]. The Mint site, the Forums here, they do great work -- but they still assume *some* Linux experience, or at least some kinda geeky knowledge and perseverance, from the user.
I'd like to make an attempt to address that; to make it brainlessly easy to get that brain working; to provide that missing link, that happy medium between total ignorance and ninja knowledge. And yes, that's going to mean avoiding the CLI as much as possible and relying far more on the GUI, but thankfully for the beginner [particularly with Mint!] that's getting easier to do. And even when it *does* come to needing some CLI action [like for, say, getting your wireless to work, or tricky printers or, Gawd-help-us-all, graphics cards], there's still room for making the processes easier to understand. Cutting down on the jargon, for instance, or at least explaining what it all means and making it easier to wrap one's head around.
I guess part of the problem is that most of the documentation right now written by geeks, and geeks tend to write for other geeks. Lots of assumed knowledge, even in the so-called "friendly" instructions. Right now, I'm in a position where I'm floating halfway between noob and geek -- an amateur, or to be kinder to myself, an "enthusiast" -- which doesn't seem a bad place to maybe act as a bridge between the two. I've been looking for a creative project for a while now, something to get stuck into in my free time ... and I think this might be it. It might take me a while [in fact, bet on it!] but hopefully, at least by the end of the year if not sooner, I should have something that could hold a beginner's hand through the process and get them well on their way to software freedom.
What do you reckon, folks?