Overheard: Word of the Day

Apr 29 2008   6:41PM GMT

Overheard: Hardy Heron flunks the girlfriend test

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

hardy_heron2.jpg Linux won’t truly be ready for the desktop until someone computer illiterate can sit down at a the computer and with little effort do what they want to do.

Content Consumer, The Great Ubuntu-Girlfriend Experiment

The Linux on the Desktop debate continues. Lots of buzz this week about this guy who had his girlfriend try out Ubuntu‘s latest release, Hardy Heron. (Love the codenames!)

It seems the guy (Content Consumer) had his girlfriend perform 12 tasks — ordinary things like watching a video on YouTube or changing the mouse speed. Nothing fancy.

And guess what? She had trouble. His conclusion?

Conclusion
The main issue with the desktop experience is that the geeky programmers and designers assume too much from the average user. They assume the user knows about the way in which programs are installed, or how the file system is set out. The average user will not go out of their way to google for help or even read the associated documentation that comes with Ubuntu and its default software. The little information pop-ups and guided wizards are critical to explaining how the user can accomplish the basic tasks they most probably are trying to do.

For those of you who’ve never even seen Linux on a desktop, Shawn Powers from Linux Journal gives you a high-level look-see. And here are the release notes from Wayne Richardson in plain English.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/sK_o-skFAoI" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

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