Welcome wizzard

Dan Smith draciron at gmail.com
Tue May 29 06:44:18 UTC 2007

Playing MP3s, wma, wmv, flv files and such is not illegal. The reason I
understand that it cannot be packaged in Fedora while it is standard in
other distros is that if Fedora did so it would get Redhat sued for patent
royalties. Redhat is not going to pay money to give people free software. It
could not afford to do so, as such because Redhat is involved support for
such media formats is not included in the official distro.  It is easily
availible and the unofficial FAQ as well as FAQs on places like
Fedoragorums.org do point to where to download codecs, and set up your
machine for various plugins and how to play various media.

I wish nobody used wmv files. I hate that format. Oggs are superior by far
to Mp3s but people need to play those files to function. Obviously because
of potential litigation they could not be included in the distro but a link
to a website that did pertain to such files would be helpful and I suspect
would not make Redhat liable for any patents as it is independently

I didn't suggest that Fedora include anything in the distro to set this up.
Only a link to a website that would contain such information such as the
unofficial FAQ.  You could describe it as "Here you will find answers to
some questions not answered in this documentation. This FAQ has no
connection with the Fedora organization. Use at your own risk" and leave it
at that.

Most of what I spoke of has nothing to do with propriatory formats.
Automating the setup of NFS and SMB through firewalls for example. Or at
least making the documentation easy to find and up to date. Configuring
media players for free formats. How to burn a CD in Linux using popular
software (especially K3b which will give them quite a few options and an
interface close to windoze burners. I don't know many people that actually
burn CDs through windoze explorer or on the Linux side through Nautilaus.)
My ideas are geared toward new Linux users primarily and to a lessor extent
to making some things easier to find for vet Linux users. Setting up a web
site using LAMP is something that is commonly asked about for example. Using
SSH instead of ftp. How to talk to windoze machines using SSH/SCP, things
people do in other words.

Think about it. What was your first experience with Linux? Mine was after a
week of hassles I finally got it installed and working. The biggest
challenge was my CD was controlled by my sound card (a common configuration
in the mid 90s.). I eventually got it all sorted out. X was not auto started
yet. So here I was sitting  at a brand new prompt. Don't think it was even a
Bash shell thinking now what? While starting in X helps a great deal most
new users have the same problem. They sit there with a nice blinking prompt
saying now what? Many of Fedora's defaults are highly unfriendly to new
Linux users. They don't want to go to extreme effort to burn a CD.
Installing a burner app however is something they will be happy to do and
automating the process of installing at least KDE libs and installing K3b
would go a long way to solving that issue for new Linux users. The same
script could download any extras needed to burn CDs from Nautiles. There is
probably even a way to burn ISOs as images from Nautilis but not sure if
that comes in default support. The documentation from this group on burning
CDs never touches K3b. Never touches how to burn an ISO as a bootable CD.
Doesn't cover any of the potential problems such as removing a CD if
something goes wrong. Nor does it step them though how to get that software.
In my opinion the VERY first thing a user should see is how to update their
machine. Then how to add software using a Yum GUI. The default load is not
really functional for most users. Far too much software is left out.

The welcome wizard could be interactive in many areas in this way. By
letting them using just plain HTML download scripts to install software that
is needed. By pointing them to Yum GUIs. Sorry command line YUM is not going
to impress people. Even vets don't often use it because you almost have to
know the exact version of what you are looking for. I use the command line
to mass updates. The rest I do from Yum extender or Gnome Yum. We introduce
new LInux users to installing software like that and they will LOVE Linux.
No more downloading a zip file, extracting it, running and install program
and hoping that later if they don't like it they can uninstall as is the
Windoze experience in installing software. No more tarballs which often send
new Linux users screaming into the night or dependancy hell all to common
with rpms downloaded from sites. Yum takes care of the messy stuff and YUM
GuIs make it organized and very easy to find and download software. Yet by
default there is only the software updater which is good for getting Yum
extender but not much else. Not sure if Gnome Yum is even availible through
the updater.

I'm on a very different page from you guys apparently. The way I see it is
the reason almost everybody who tries Linux and leaves Linux is because they
simply don't know where to start and what software to use.  A welcome
wizards not going to have too much value to those of us that already know
Linux because we already know what we like, what we want, how we want our
machines set up. It is new users that would need this info and need it
badly. So giving them choices, showing them screenshots of what various
applications look like, links to detailed documentation if such exists would
go a long way to making many peoples first Linux experience a good one.
Being realistic but avoiding doing something that is could cause litigation
is a fine line but a worthy effort.

Me I love Fedora as a distro. I hate the defaults. I would NEVER work for
long on a system set up as a default Fedora install. No problem as Fedora
makes it easy to build my system like I want it built. What they do not do
is make it easy to learn how to do this. If all I knew was the software
updater tool and used a default Fedora install I would feel like I was using
half the machine a windoze box was. I would be constantly frustrated in how
hard it was or unable to find how to do many things. I would be unaware that
it was Fedora not Linux that did not support the use of certain file
formats. File sharing would be damn near impossible to do securely. Can't
count how many times I've seen users that made their home dir rwx to the
world. Anyway my point is I want to see Fedora continue to be the top distro
out there. I also want to see more people using Linux. I have my ways and
many of them are not for the average user. Some are because I've done it
this way or that way for years and for me it's just easier. For example
setting up networking by editing the files. I would NEVER send a new Linux
user into that mess. For me though it's just easier to do it that way than
try to figure out where the networking was in the GUI, then find all the
setting I want and battle Fedora defaults for things like net mask. So I try
to think through a new Linux users eyes rather than mine when I try to help
them get things set up the first time. Something I do very frequently and
people I introduce to Linux who ask me questions have a very high retention
rate. Very few go back to Windoze and many are full time Linux users in less
than 2 years.  That is because I point them to easy to use apps. Spend time
teaching them how Linux works, show them the benefits and NEVER let them
suffer through a default install. I am constantly frustrated when I try to
introduce people to Linux and they give me these horror tales of trying to
use default Linux installs (Mostly Fedora and Ubuntu lately, though a
sprinkling of Mandriva and SUSE). How they couldn't do this or that. I'd of
course be able to point them to an app that they'd like and every so often
I'd get some to retry Linux and they'd have a much better experience. Many
times they were so frustrated by their first effort they are now scared of
Linux. They feel technically challenged. Those were people interested enough
to try Linux but I feel like we slapped them in the face with our refusal to
provide good help. Remember we are the underdog here. We need to help people
get out from under MIcrosoft's thumb. Help them breath free for once. They
are not going to endure much.

They know windoze. They may not be happy but a known evil with most people
is always less scary than the unknown. So lets shed some light for them.
Show them the EASY way to do things. Not the "right" way as defined by old
school Nix. For exanple what is the most popular burner out there? K3b by
far!  So lets show them how to set it up and use it and point them to the
K3b documentation for advanced functionality. Lets show them how to download
and install flash player for common browsers. How to set up networking in
baby steps so that even non-techies can set up their network. Setting up
networking is actually easier in Linux than in windoze. If there are no
legal repercussions we might even include snapshots of windoze networking
configuration and the equivalent in Linux. Give them reference points.
Compare software and give them choices and options to explore.

Documentation is not just how to, it is also the first thing a new user
should encounter. Yet the current way of doing things a user has to seek it
out. They are not going to explore endlessly. They want to Rock N Roll right
out the door then explore to find more. So the welcome wizard is an awesome
way to open the door to the documentation. Point them in different
directions and increase the retention rate of new Linux users.

Anyway what's my ideas on the topic.

On 5/28/07, Karsten Wade <kwade at redhat.com> wrote:
> On Thu, 2007-05-24 at 01:34 -0700, Karsten Wade wrote:
> > What is not going to happen anytime soon, aiui, is a Fedora distributed
> > wizard/client that sits on the desktop and helps people find the way to
> > play their MP3 files.  No matter how many impassioned arguments are
> > made.  The laws are the laws until they are changed or expire.
> Ironically, this came out nearly totally wrong.
> In fact, we are definitely doing just as I describe:
> http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Releases/FeatureCodecBuddy
> What I meant was that we are not going to create a client or tool or
> anything that permits illegal stuff, or points to how to do illegal
> stuff.  The whole point of CodecBuddy is to provide legal solutions
> where they are available, and to at least explain when they are not
> available.
> - Karsten
> --
>    Karsten Wade, 108 Editor       ^     Fedora Documentation Project
> Sr. Developer Relations Mgr.     |  fedoraproject.org/wiki/DocsProject
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