Interpretation and learning from it

I just got up and Quassel presented the following to me:

<daskreech> apachelogger: as regards to your musing on what Kubuntu should be in terms of providing what is needed for the user. I just had a look at the Perfect Kubuntu Desktop 9.10 setup and the first steps are to replace nearly all the KDE apps

Honestly, I did not read the howto just until now, so thanks to daskreech for reminding me. There is indeed some things that need highlighting. Certainly not the application selection though.
The most important thing about this how to is the last line from the introduction:

I want to say first that this is not the only way of setting up such a system. There are many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!

This is a very reasonable statement. See, if the author were to present applications that are superior or missing, then he would need to justify such claims in one way or another, but what he does is present how his perfect Kubuntu system looks like, and he even says so.

Even if he did not mention this fact, it would be pretty obvious why we can not take this howto for any indication on whether the current application selection is wrong. And here is why:

F-Spot vs. Picasa, Opera vs. Firefox, Thunderbird vs. Evolution, KTorrent vs. Azureus/Vuze, Amarok vs. Banshee vs. Rhythmbox vs. XMMS. That last part is particularly interesting though. The “Sound & Video” section is filled with duplication, the better part of it really consists of players, so that might indeed be an indication that a power user is not happy with the quality and/or provided features of all multimedia applications at hand.

In addition to those duplications, that will most likely not affect an average user, you have a set of applicatons that are not likely to be used by the user at all. VirtualBox, Gimp and Scribus come to mind. All three of them would not be useful to the majority of users.

Which leads me to my final conclusion.
It is important that we interpret such articles properly. What makes a power user most different from an average user is, IMHO, the ability to actually install software that she finds most suited for her needs. The CD installation is targetted to provide a ready to go system, not to provide the all knowing, all doing, all fancy desktop. For the power user the CD installation should be something to build upon, and for the average user something to use.

What we can learn from this article is that we apparently fail at the former (partially at least). The author first really goes for synaptic, because mass installing packages is a PITA with kpackagekit it seems. So that is something we should really take a look at.

And while I was writing this. I started wondering. Kubuntu actually does have a DVD available for download, with a lot more languages and a lot more software. Yet I am not sure if the software gets installed by default (which would probably make sense, or at least provide an option for that at install time) and whether it is really properly advertised.
You mostly get redirected to the Kubuntu CD, granted it is our install media of choice, but I do not see why a power user should not be able to stumble upon a DVD which might be a more useful base for her.

To end this post I’d like to raise the question why such an howto is necessary. Is it that our documentation is not visible enough? Or maybe we do not guide people enough after first install?


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