Linux Mint Polls and Questions

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thetank
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Linux Mint Polls and Questions

Post by thetank »

check this out... i hope the results from this can benefit the Linux Mint community.

http://www.misterpoll.com/polls/456805
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optimize me
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Re: Linux Mint Polls and Questions

Post by optimize me »

It's easy to sit back and say what should and should not be defaults in Mint.

I'm curious to know if the person who created that poll is an actual Mint developer - someone who can put these results into action - or just a casual user.
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Re: Linux Mint Polls and Questions

Post by rich_roast »

I don't see much harm in surveys like this one but don't know about how useful they are. This one, for a start, is a bit unclear in places and does seem biased towards certain things:
  • I don't know which messenger is the most popular. Are we trying to prove some point here? The text mode one I was looking for is not available on this list. Also, where's Jabber?
  • In all my years of using Linux I have never once used that particular three fingered salute; alt+ctrl+backspace yes but I never even knew that alt+ctrl+del does anything. Oh, just tried it now, it brings up the log out/shut down menu, I guess that's to be expected, it can probably be reconfigured somewhere to bring up System Monitor instead. The real question here is "configured to do what"?
  • I keep on hearing about the possibility of installing system restore/time machine facilities in Linux and, besides the ability to enter "recovery mode" at boot and fix things from the command line, and dpkg/apt's ability to reinstall and reconfigure things sometimes, and the ability to make a copy of the current state of the system using AptonCD and do automatic backups using various applications, I wish someone would tell me what is meant by this. I really don't know. I have never seen anything remotely like Windows XP's notorious "System Restore Points" on a Linux box.
  • "Settings, themes, and system should be on a menu together with one entry in the menu instead of bulk confusion." I'm actually not certain as to what is meant by this. There is a control panel-esque option, I think (control centre) under System, the preferences/admin menus are long but not very confusing, at least not over here. I suppose what I'm getting at is that "bulk confusion" is clearly pejorative in tone, where in fact I for one prefer the menu items to loading an entire centralized "control centre" to change a keyboard shortcut, for example.
  • "Should Linux Mint use simple naming scheme for software ergo Lindows" I've never used Lindows and never will. Please at least explain what is meant here, or add a "don't know" button. Oh, ergo is Latin for "therefore". "e.g." or "à la" might be more appropriate here.
The bias this survey displays tends to betray someone who is or someone who is thinking from the point of view of a migrant from Windows (no bad thing), who has tried Lindows, and who misses certain features / the arrangement of those OS's they had become accustomed to, and who would prefer, as a guess, Opera, Amarok (perhaps), Deluge, Evolution (?), and VLC to be default installs. There is no mention of office, art, games (i.e., should a selection of time-wasters be installed by default as in many OSs and distros?), network security (should the firewall be enabled by default / is it worth having ClamAV or similar as a default install), IRC, studio apps (video/music edition)... the eventual list would have to be huge, which returns to the original question of what the utility in surveys like this really is.

At university students were handed surveys like this from time to time, much to everyone's annoyance, as the knowledge shared by everybody, including students having to reply to them, was that they don't necessarily know what is good for them, and what these surveys prove is very little given their anonymity and bluntness. It would be fairly easy for a respondent to fill most of the boxes here with CLI apps, Lynx for web browser, mail for mail client, aplay to handle audio, ctorrent for filesharing, ffmpeg for encoding, tnftp for FTP. This would be a reasonable enough selection of software for someone wanting to install Mint for its graphical interface when they want it, but who plans to mainly use the command line because that's what they're used to and happy with, for example (well, that's pushing it pretty far - they'd be better with another distro entirely like LFS - but bear with it); that does not necessarily mean these would be good choices for the whole community.

No choice is going to be good for the whole community. That's the whole point of installing a base system and then modifying it. As it comes, Mint is evidently designed for a general user who will be happy with the software that comes and is ready to go straightaway for most everyday tasks, and who might later on decide to download and install Deluge or try Opera or whatever. It is different in that respect from Arch, which comes with very little installed by default and leaves the choice up to the user - what this requires of the user is some idea of what they want to install, of course, perhaps being new to the range of applications available to Linux they might never have heard of pidgin, for example.

There is also a pretty clear design principle in Mint's selection - Mozilla Firefox is the web browser (since most people using Mint will have used it before), so it makes sense to have Mozilla Thunderbird as mailer; GNOME apps are integrated with the GNOME desktop (I'm assuming the KDE and other CEs take a similar approach), hence Gnome MPlayer, Rhythmbox; OOo for its Microsoft document filters; Pidgin as messenger because it handles pretty much every protocol around (even webcam but admittedly only on certain protocols), XChat because it's, well, good. The point being that the applications currently installed by default are chosen for how well they integrate into Mint, how useful they are, space available on the disk image, what people are used to, avoidance of patent / copyright encumbrance, etc., and not necessarily by assumptions about what users want.

The desire to improve Mint is great but default packages are only a small part of the equation, and a part that needs to be reasoned with the developers - not only on the basis of "I prefer foo" but also addressing how well the suggested package would integrate with the rest of the environment, which new features it would bring and at what cost (missing features, more dependencies), how important it is (I would like to see gwibber as a default install but would never think it ought to be - just because I happen to like microblogs doesn't mean the next user does), exactly how much of a big deal it is to install package foo if it's not default, and so on.

Parts of this particular survey also seem to encourage answers which are contrary to Mint's express goal of not copying the design of other OS's; alt+ctrl+del, control centre and system restore points come to mind. The functionality of such things is not to be undermined, it's just that to this respondent the questions seemed to imply pretty clearly "like in Windows". Instead of ctrl + alt + del, for example, one could ask "should a hotkey be set to access system monitor", "should system monitor be integrated with logout / shutdown functions", "should there be a 'kill' button", that sort of thing. Is there a better way of achieving common goals than those implemented elsewhere? Could they be adopted? For example, I have my own ideas about arranging system setting options systemically, i.e. as a tree. I'm beginning to learn how to code for this and other reasons.

This post comes off too critical, so I'd like to end by saying that I don't see the harm in this survey and have responded to it myself, honestly and not with the CLI answer-set example above. I'd be interested to see the results. But the basis of any concrete decisions regarding the package list or feature set it should probably not become, at least not on its own merit.
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Re: Linux Mint Polls and Questions

Post by thetank »

I am by no means or relation as a developer. I am however trying to provide help to suggestions I've read in comments
# rhY Says:
October 15th, 2009 at 4:51 pm

What are the new default apps? Did you switch to VLC, or Deluge, or Songbird? These are all better apps than the default ones in 7!

Congrats on all your success! Keep up the good work!!!!
of the latest Linux Mint Blog post. http://www.linuxmint.com/blog/?p=1071

Ctrl + Alt + Del is offcourse from Microsoft Windows. I have installed enough distro's to understand that when a noob or even myself finds themeselves with a frozen desktop would like to be able to kill the process instead of using Ctrl+Alt+Backspace, and having to log back into my desktop of choice. This has been in Ubuntu's How to's for a few years as well as the old automatix scrtpt which many have liked and disliked.
optimize me wrote:It's easy to sit back and say what should and should not be defaults in Mint.

I'm curious to know if the person who created that poll is an actual Mint developer - someone who can put these results into action - or just a casual user.
Is there a problem with being a "casual user" ? Who else is Linux Mint targeted to?
I don't know which messenger is the most popular. Are we trying to prove some point here? The text mode one I was looking for is not available on this list. Also, where's Jabber?
I never implied that I am famiar with all messenger's and protocals. I will be sure to update the poll to have Jabber included. I have read statistics that in different countries what certain Instant Messenger's are the most popular. I have been using pidgin since before it was called as such. I would prefer to use messenger and see it installed by default since they have better support for the messenger they're compatible with.
In all my years of using Linux I have never once used that particular three fingered salute; alt+ctrl+backspace yes but I never even knew that alt+ctrl+del does anything. Oh, just tried it now, it brings up the log out/shut down menu, I guess that's to be expected, it can probably be reconfigured somewhere to bring up System Monitor instead. The real question here is "configured to do what"?
I am referring to it being configured to bring up system monitor as you have said. Sorry for the confusion.
I keep on hearing about the possibility of installing system restore/time machine facilities in Linux and, besides the ability to enter "recovery mode" at boot and fix things from the command line, and dpkg/apt's ability to reinstall and reconfigure things sometimes, and the ability to make a copy of the current state of the system using AptonCD and do automatic backups using various applications, I wish someone would tell me what is meant by this. I really don't know. I have never seen anything remotely like Windows XP's notorious "System Restore Points" on a Linux box.
I applaud your experience. My friend is however not as experienced, nor other users I'm sure, but to each their own. I know that users whom don't even use Linux Mint are unsure about "system restore". Here is the link for sysres http://linux.softpedia.com/get/System/S ... 1254.shtml
"Settings, themes, and system should be on a menu together with one entry in the menu instead of bulk confusion." I'm actually not certain as to what is meant by this. There is a control panel-esque option, I think (control centre) under System, the preferences/admin menus are long but not very confusing, at least not over here. I suppose what I'm getting at is that "bulk confusion" is clearly pejorative in tone, where in fact I for one prefer the menu items to loading an entire centralized "control centre" to change a keyboard shortcut, for example.
You are right. I don't like this one bit. As it may not be confusing to a seasoned user, it is way to much for noob, and I can see all the problems they might get themselves into messing with these software. Still that could just be my paranoia. But yes, I just don't like seeing all of this in my menu. I'm using an xfce install, so maybe this isn't what you may see on a Gnome Linux Mint install. I will edit this since clearly it is biased.
"Should Linux Mint use simple naming scheme for software ergo Lindows" I've never used Lindows and never will. Please at least explain what is meant here, or add a "don't know" button. Oh, ergo is Latin for "therefore". "e.g." or "à la" might be more appropriate here.
Well Lindows(linspire) is part of Xandros now, and I'm sure when they finally make a release that it will probably tempt you to try. I could be wrong. The naming scheme is to provide a novice with simple choices in menu catergories. So instead of firefox, it would read "web browser".
At university students were handed surveys like this from time to time, much to everyone's annoyance, as the knowledge shared by everybody, including students having to reply to them, was that they don't necessarily know what is good for them, and what these surveys prove is very little given their anonymity and bluntness. It would be fairly easy for a respondent to fill most of the boxes here with CLI apps, Lynx for web browser, mail for mail client, aplay to handle audio, ctorrent for filesharing, ffmpeg for encoding, tnftp for FTP. This would be a reasonable enough selection of software for someone wanting to install Mint for its graphical interface when they want it, but who plans to mainly use the command line because that's what they're used to and happy with, for example (well, that's pushing it pretty far - they'd be better with another distro entirely like LFS - but bear with it); that does not necessarily mean these would be good choices for the whole community.
I came to the same conclusion. I have already planned to release a poll for older computers, where cli software would not bog down the system.
There is also a pretty clear design principle in Mint's selection - Mozilla Firefox is the web browser (since most people using Mint will have used it before), so it makes sense to have Mozilla Thunderbird as mailer; GNOME apps are integrated with the GNOME desktop (I'm assuming the KDE and other CEs take a similar approach), hence Gnome MPlayer, Rhythmbox; OOo for its Microsoft document filters; Pidgin as messenger because it handles pretty much every protocol around (even webcam but admittedly only on certain protocols), XChat because it's, well, good. The point being that the applications currently installed by default are chosen for how well they integrate into Mint, how useful they are, space available on the disk image, what people are used to, avoidance of patent / copyright encumbrance, etc., and not necessarily by assumptions about what users want.
How would you determine what people are used to with out statistics? It makes no sense to me that you or anyone else would use a software that isn't complete, and to support this you claim that it's better to be compatible with other software and incomplete then an software that has better support for specific features to a more specialized service.

Assumptions? How would a poll make assumptions? The reason I made the poll is for users or developers or even monkeys to have the chance to promote software that is better than what is already available. I understand how centric gnome and kde supporters can be and would rather not flame either or. But for the sake of better integration vs better software, I'll use the better software. It ends up in the long run being ported to one or the other. Look at Exaile and Amarok. Nuff said.
I really am upset at the replies. The forum is titled as "suggestions and new ideas". Why I would get such a negative reply is beyond me. I didn't spend my time trying to lobby some kind of comrady between the Linux Mint userbase. I would love for someone to make a suggestion to the default questions rather than bash my poll. Does anybody think that I like wasting my time? I didn't want to make you waste your time so don't make me. Not that it matters, the poll is gone. As am I.
Last edited by thetank on Wed Oct 21, 2009 12:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Linux Mint Polls and Questions

Post by DrHu »

Ctrl Alt del has been available in Linux for a long time..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Control-Alt-Delete#Linux
  • In Linux, this keystroke combination is recognised by the keyboard device driver in the kernel. In the absence of more specific instructions, which will usually only be during system initialisation, the kernel directly initiates a soft reboot in response. More commonly, the kernel will send a signal to the init process, which will perform an administrator-configured task, such as running a script, or displaying an "end current session" box in KDE.
--I sometimes use it if I am in a hurry, and don't want to mouse click to logout/shutdown

I looked at the poll, but didn't respond, since I think those types of anonymous polls are pretty meaningless; and I did notice the OP applications preferences/bias in that survey, but this is nothing different than most of these types of straw polls, they are both unscientific and strongly biased
-- even on news stations like CNN, which seems to have a fondness for exit style polls, respond to the choices given, VOTE now!

I was thinking I should have suggested create a poll in these forums to the OP, but I was too tired, way too tired..
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Re: Linux Mint Polls and Questions

Post by DrHu »

thetank wrote:Well Lindows(linspire) is part of Xandros now, and I'm sure when they finally make a release that it will probably tempt you to try. I could be wrong. The naming scheme is to provide a novice with simple choices in menu catergories. So instead of firefox, it would read "web browser".
So instead of firefox, it would read "web browser".
Are you talking about the survey now, even there it doesn't make sense, since no-one will use the term browser (or web browser) when they understand it to be Firefox, Opera, Netscape.., IE, Safari etc ?

The only business reason that Xandros bought out Linspire (the name after law suite for Lindows) was to get their CNR application (a web based ? universal installer)
http://www.cnr.com
--they have essentially abandoned freespire, don't even show up on the Freespire forums, and never intended to replace Xandros with Linspire; why would they, they are in the same market..

Oops almost forgot about this one, you mentioned windows restore points (aka snapshots)
http://blog.arvixe.com/restore-backups- ... nd-cpanel/
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Re: Linux Mint Polls and Questions

Post by optimize me »

DrHu wrote:Oops almost forgot about this one, you mentioned windows restore points (aka snapshots)
Fred's got a nice how-to and a script he wrote for doing restore points like that with Mint. I haven't tried it but I've been meaning to.
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Re: Linux Mint Polls and Questions

Post by mcash454 »

richroast - Thanks for the great, thoughtful response. I saw this original post, and perused the survey before there were any responses in the thread. I came up with many of the same thoughts you articulated, but just ended up kind of shaking my head and walking away because I predicted that this would turn into an unprofessional, passionate argument about how "*insert favorite* program is best! That other program is awful!"

But you put together a great response and might help this become an insightful thread....

Thanks!
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