"Your editor had the good fortune to be able to attend the first
LinuxCon Brazil event, held in São Paulo. There were a
number of interesting talks to be seen, presented by speakers from
Brazil and far beyond. This article will cover three in particular
which were interesting as a result of the very different views they
gave on how Linux users work with their systems.
"Jane Silber is the (relatively) new CEO at Canonical; she went
to Brazil to deliver a keynote on the "consumerization of IT" and,
in particular, its implications on open source. What she was really
there to talk about, of course, was the interesting stuff that is
being done with the Ubuntu distribution. Linux serves the needs of
expert users very well, but, according to Jane, the future of Linux
is very much in the hands of "consumers," so we need to shift our
focus toward that user base. There are a number of things being
done in the Ubuntu context to make that happen.
"At the top of the list is "fit and finish," which she described
as "the sprinkling of fresh parsley" that makes the whole meal seem
complete. There have been incredible advances in this area, she
says, but our software still has a lot of rough edges to it.
Consumer-type users can usually figure things out, but it does not
build confidence in the software. To make things better, Canonical
is sponsoring a lot of usability research and working with upstream
projects to improve their usability. Results are posted on
design.canonical.com. Projects like 100 papercuts have also helped
to improve the usability of free software."
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