Question of the Day: A Tiered Linux Distro for Newbies?
Jun 03, 2001, 21:30 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Aurelien Marchand)
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Hi all, I know many many people wrote, write and will write
about Linux on the desktop, and they will say everything between
the 2 extremes, that is, the desktop market is conquered by Linux
to Linux is conquered by the desktop market.
Now, after all, there are things to think about. When I first
used a computer (in the early 1990), I had a screen, a keyboard, a
joystick, no mouse and even less a CDrom. I typed every commands,
learned things step by step. Then I switched to something bigger,
learned new tricks and techniques, became familiar with the mouse
and eventually, when 1995 hit, I learned the subtilities of a GUI
on top of an OS...
The point being: I went step by step, making sure I was ready to
go next step.
Maybe Linux desktop is the same.
Instead of simply dropping a advanced and technical machine (as
GNU/Linux is)into the hands of any Joe Blow and say:'Now, read the
HOWTOs, ask your local Guru and enjoy!', maybe the way to go is to
first train the user step by step with a common system to measure
I propose the creation of a (yet another) distribution called:
First Foot Desktop Linux
Each level of expertise is characterized by a Toe (Tier of
expertise). There would be 5 Toes to reach, at least for the First
Foot Desktop Linux version. After those 5 Toes, the use could move
on to the Second Foot Desktop Linux.
Earning a Toe is done when the user feels comfortable enough to
- At 1 Toe, the user must be able to start an application by
finding it on the start/K/Gnome menus. The user should be comfy
enough to use a web browser, play a few games, type a document,
play a piece of music.
- At 2 Toes, the user must be able to install a program and
de-isntall a program both from a GUI tool and from the console. The
user must be able to start the Xwindows system, restart the machine
and turn it off from the console.
- At 3 Toes, the user should be able to re-install the system
with less automation on (let him/her select the
- At 4 Toes, the user should learn what most packages are. Which
are the most important packages, which ones can be removed safely
and a few admin tasks, like adding a user and knowing why it is
- at 5 Toes, the user should learn about admin tasks a bit more:
reconfiguring the printer, changing the system clock, creating
groups and assigning users to groups, re-installing the whole
system with no automation at all...
This way, each user can refer to others as being 1-toed, 2-toed,
etc.. The Tier of expertise required can be of good help to
evaluate the skills of a user and pushes toward a motivating
Obviously, this method is the mirrored image (thus inversed) to
the one most computer savvy did: from the command line only systems
to the mastering of the GUI. With this self-awarding method, the
user is pushed to learn more, thus giving him/her more confidence
in his/her skills in Linux and thus improvong the value of Linux
being a viable OS for the desktop.
Now, if anyone wishes to make such a distro, please feel free to
contact me. Although not a project coordinator, I can put together
a site for those interested in the project.
Note also that already-existing distribution could use this
system. I think especially of Mandrake (already extremely full of
automation for the install), but others can definetly use this
method (as long as they keep a consistant method of Toeing).
Notre OS vaincra! (Our OS will succeed!)