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OSNews: Debunking Some Myths About Graphical Installers

Apr 16, 2003, 09:00 (43 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Paul Hankes Drielsma)

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"Browsing the OSNews forums, you can find many comparisons of the form 'OS A has an excellent text installer, but OS B has a mediocre GUI installer, therefore OS B is better, simpler, and easier to use.' Granted, I'm oversimplifying somewhat. And of course, in general they leave out the adjectives 'excellent' and 'mediocre,' so the comparison reduces to 'having a GUI installer means the OS is better and easier to install.' But there's the rub! Without describing the quality of the installer, you're only seeing half the picture: the point should be the excellence of OS A's install process, not the fact that OS B's install is graphical! That quality and functionality are more important than icons and eye candy should be the title of the first chapter of every introductory text on software design, which leads us to our first myth.

"Myth: A GUI install process implies a simple install
This is at best an oversimplification, and at worst completely wrong. Simplicity is multi-faceted, and it means more than merely having a GUI to guide the user through the process. If there is going to be a GUI, it had better be intuitive and well-designed. I would far rather have a well-documented, simple text install than a bad graphical install any day...!"

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