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View Full Version : Is Ubuntu/Gnome user friendly enough?



Cyraxzz
August 31st, 2006, 03:42 AM
Since that's what the avrage user always complains about, the desktop environment not being simple enough.

aysiu
August 31st, 2006, 03:49 AM
Rarely have I seen an average user complaining about Ubuntu.

fuscia
August 31st, 2006, 03:57 AM
no.

mrgnash
August 31st, 2006, 03:57 AM
Part of me thinks that it's too user-friendly. As the last xserver crisis demonstrated. a lot of users are sticking to the desktop environment and not bothering to learn how to use the CLI.

djsroknrol
August 31st, 2006, 04:55 AM
I think it is...but everyone has their own learning curve with it...

peabody
August 31st, 2006, 04:58 AM
I voted Unsure because I think it depends on the users needs. Certain things are very easy, others are not so much and may require resorting to the command line.

chaosgeisterchen
August 31st, 2006, 06:01 AM
It is userfriendly enough. GNOME can fully compete with Windows XP, KDE has too many options but is also easy to learn.

DoktorSeven
August 31st, 2006, 06:15 AM
For new users to install and set up from scratch? No, but neither is Windows. (Difference is, of course, most users don't have to bother setting up Windows, since it's already there with their computer, and even restores are done with a "restore disk" that sets everything back up as it should be.)

For any user to use a properly set up system? Yep.

bukwirm
August 31st, 2006, 06:23 AM
I also think it is too user-friendly, for me at least - but that's why I'm using Fluxbox.

saracen
August 31st, 2006, 06:26 AM
I think it's getting there, it's getting really close. But there are still a couple of things that the average user would not be able to do after getting Ubuntu and installing it themselves. There are probably many things that they wouldn't be able to do on windows, but the issue there is that most windows boxes come pre-installed and pre-configured, so the user doesn't really have to do anything after he picks up his new PC or laptop. Ubuntu unfortunately doesn't have that leverage, at least not yet.

One of the things that your average user wouldn't be able to do after installing ubuntu is configuring his Xorg settings. This is quite a pain sometimes, even for an experienced user. This is definitely something that the devs need to attend to for Edgy +1, which is going to be competing with Vista. Another thing that is still not polished is wireless configuration with WPA out of the box - it still takes some power-user tweaking. So does connecting to VPN's.

One other thing that's really important is syncing mobile devices with Ubuntu. Mobile devices are key to the future of any OS since they are truly becoming ubiquitous and they need to work seamlessly with other devices that we have. Right now it is virtually impossible to sync your mobile contacts, calendar, etc with Ubuntu. One thing that is quite easy though is using bluetooth to send and receive files. I just installed gnome-bluetooth and then run "Bluetooth File Sharing" from the Accessories menu and voila, I was able to send and receive files to my cell phone.

So overall, i'd have to say no. It has come a phenomenally long way, but there is more to go and that's great because if there wasn't, we'd have nothing to look forward to ;)

DoctorMO
August 31st, 2006, 07:44 AM
saracen if you have some good ideas for a nice XOrg app you could design it even if you can't program. you must understand the XOrg configuration first though which is a little complex.

I think most programs that edit the xorg.conf do so automaticly.

pyros
August 31st, 2006, 07:58 AM
Difference is, of course, most users don't have to bother setting up Windows, since it's already there with their computer, and even restores are done with a "restore disk" that sets everything back up as it should be.

Speaking as someone who has worked tech support for the home users of a major US computer company, I can honestly call foul on that remark. The restore disks (at least for us) just install windows. and the install is no easier than the boxed retail version of windows; I think it is harder than ubuntu's. If windows doesn't have built-in support for your hardware (read: almost any computer made after 2001) you get to try and figure it out with little to no help from windows in discovering whats inside the magic "cpu", or tower if you want to be correct in your terminology. In that respect, ubuntu is much easier to install. But there are things... gnome things... that still need serious "continuity" work for me to think ubuntu is freindly enough. Forget "dumbing down" the interface, make cut and paste work well with others; make undo and redo and keyboard shorcuts behave consistently. Then wory about the complexity of the gui.

jacksaff
August 31st, 2006, 08:13 AM
I don't think it's user friendly at all.
I often think gnome devs confuse user-friendly and simple. A user friendly interface should have all it's options in logical and easy to find locations and have tool tips and the like (the option to turn off the tool tips would be in a logical, easy to find place). Gnome seems to just hide the options.
Nearly every windows user I've introduced to linux prefers kde for this reason. Kde may have a horrible and cluttered interface but at least you can actually find the checkbox you want, eventually. Gnome seems to have an attitude that if you don't already know how to do something then you shouldn't be doing it anyway.
I find it easier to do stuff with xfce. It may be a lot less powerful than gnome, but since I can rarely figure out much more than the basics in gnome anyway the result is xfce is more powerful to me.

Hg80
August 31st, 2006, 08:17 AM
far supieror to anything Microsoft has to offer
That is all

bluenova
August 31st, 2006, 08:59 AM
I think Gnome is far easier to learn than KDE and MS Windows shell for an end user. I used to teach people how to use their computer (with Windows) and if you are not used to the system it there really is quite a lot to learn, same goes for KDE. But Gnome is vey simple (perhaps a little too simple). The people I have introduced to it have managed to get on with it straight away. The same cannot be said for KDE and Windows shell.

Donnut
August 31st, 2006, 11:28 AM
I too think it is very user friendly, I have my own slow learning curve, but the one-click .deb installer? Great for linux I'd say...

PriceChild
August 31st, 2006, 11:38 AM
To the person mentioning that it prevents people using the CLI....

How about having a shortcut to the terminal on the desktop, and a little readme next to it with some starting points?

Can't hurt, for example with the "Examples" folder now found in home, this could happen.

Pricey

Johnathon
August 31st, 2006, 11:43 AM
You wouldnt say Ubuntu was user friendly after you'd had to explain to someone how to install and use Automatix so that they could listen to their MP3 collection, install all the other programs, ceodecs, that they want.

Twice. And when it fails, fall over to easy ubuntu. (Personally prefer automatix - far more programs).

All I really want to scream, is why, oh why, does Ubuntu not support this stuff out of the box. I understand the proprietry software debate, but if you are aiming at bog standard Windows users, you do not want to have to take them through shell commands, etc to install flash or java.
Especially when they are 3000+ miles / -5 hours timezone away from you.

Synaptic may be nice, but can you install win32codecs from it?
Not easily at least. Voted No.

Edit: These are people who have never touched CLI in their life, and preferably don't want to. They are Ubuntu's main target - if you can get them, you can destroy microsofts hold, and bug #1 in the database.

Edit Edit:
The fact that they are using Ubuntu atm is quite an achivement in its own right! Although the GUI install helped!

Carrots171
August 31st, 2006, 12:34 PM
Ubuntu/Gnome and Windows are about the same in terms of usability. People just think Ubuntu is harder because:

1. You usually have to install Ubuntu from scratch, since it isn't pre-loaded on most computers like Windows is.
2. Because it's different. People are used to Windows and not Ubuntu. They think Ubuntu is harder because they have to learn new ways of doing things.


You wouldnt say Ubuntu was user friendly after you'd had to explain to someone how to install and use Automatix so that they could listen to their MP3 collection, install all the other programs, ceodecs, that they want.

Twice. And when it fails, fall over to easy ubuntu. (Personally prefer automatix - far more programs).

Synaptic may be nice, but can you install win32codecs from it?

You don't need Automatix for the basics (codecs, MP3's, DVD's, plugins). Easy Ubuntu can do all of that. I don't use the "many more programs" that Automatix installs, and even if you do need them, they're pretty easy to install using Synaptic. And the Ubutnu developers are working on something included with Ubuntu (I think a meta-package) that installs that same things that Automatix and Easy Ubuntu do. It's supposed to be installable from the software catalog, so it doesn't involve the command line at all. P.S. I think that the reason why you can't easily install Win32codecs from Synaptic is because they are illegal. The whole reason why codecs such as win32codecs aren't included in the first place is because of the legal issues.

Reshin
August 31st, 2006, 12:46 PM
I think that the reason why you can't easily install Win32codecs from Synaptic is because they are illegal. The whole reason why codecs such as win32codecs aren't included in the first place is because of the legal issues.

Correct. BTW, how does this work? Wouldn't this same apply to mp3- and dvd-support? MP3 is available (almost) directly from synaptic and dvd-support can be achieved by downloading a dvd-library and executing that script from it. Both have equal legal issues with win32codec, IIRC so why is it the only one not included?

Johnathon
August 31st, 2006, 08:30 PM
Win32codecs are illegal in the US... I'm not sure about anywhere else.

Another reason I don't tell people to use Easy Ubuntu, is it has a habit of failing, and not failing nicely. Automatix has failed in the past for me, but was easily recoverable with user-friendly error messages (in the time it did fail).
Easy Ubuntu crashed, and was a right old pain in the neck to get working again...

Mr Blogs from down the road (or 3000 + miles away) isn't going to know how to deal with that, considering they have NEVER touched a CLI. Talking them through installing the thing is bad enough... let alone trying to talk them through repairing. This of course, would be where a nice remote support mechanism would be handy... (I.E. like windoze's. But better.)

Dinerty
August 31st, 2006, 09:18 PM
I personally think Ubuntu and gnome are very user friendly, if it had not of been for Ubuntu I'm not sure whether I would of tried a Linux distro.

The layout of gnome and the usability of Ubuntu make it a great combination indeed

richard.stallman
February 21st, 2008, 07:55 PM
I think it is...but everyone has their own learning curve with it...
agreed.

the person who posted defintely has not used KDE. it's horribly complicated. believe me!!

notwen
February 21st, 2008, 07:58 PM
Gnome is fairly straight-forward. If the user can surpass the fact that the 'Start Menu' is no longer present than he/she will be fine. It took my mother and father around 2 months before they got comfortable w/ using Ubuntu/Gnome. They're still running a very nice Edgy install to this day w/ zero complaints. =]

p_quarles
February 21st, 2008, 07:58 PM
agreed.

the person who posted defintely has not used KDE. it's horribly complicated. believe me!!
Yes, KDE is complicated. So is GNOME. I use neither.

Necromantically revived thread moved to Recurring Discussions.

Rome.konig
February 21st, 2008, 08:03 PM
if you use neither then what do you use?? In my humble opinion i believe that gnome is very easy to use, and ubuntu support is non-stop.

p_quarles
February 21st, 2008, 08:04 PM
if you use neither then what do you use?? In my humble opinion i believe that gnome is very easy to use, and ubuntu support is non-stop.
Fluxbox.

In fairness, though, I use many KDE applications, just not the window manager.

bruce89
February 22nd, 2008, 01:00 AM
Yes, KDE is complicated. So is GNOME.

I've never heard that one before.

p_quarles
February 22nd, 2008, 01:33 AM
I've never heard that one before.
Simple front-end, a back-end that's just as complicated as any other DE.

yabbadabbadont
February 22nd, 2008, 02:02 AM
No, it won't be simple enough until it wipes your behind and blows your nose for you...

(at least that is the impression that I get from most noobs :twisted:)


P.S. Fluxbox for the win! (actually, that goes in a different recurring discussion thread...)

SomeGuyDude
February 22nd, 2008, 02:29 AM
It's what converted me, so I'd say yes. It is. It's not overwhelming a la KDE (I am NOT knocking KDE, just pointing out that for a new Linux user it offers a LOT of stuff all at once), nor so sparse they'll feel like they don't have anything at their fingertips like Flux or whatever.

I 100% believe Ubuntu to be easy enough for any competent computer user to use, and at the same time I don't think any distro should try and be "idiot proof" entirely.

aysiu
February 22nd, 2008, 05:37 PM
Even though my order of preference right now is IceWM > Gnome > KDE, I really don't understand how people think KDE is overwhelming or complicated. If anything is overwhelming and complicated, it's the configuration options for Compiz! And yet I hear oft-repeated in these forums that KDE is complicated; rarely does anyone complain about Compiz being complicated.

sicofante
February 23rd, 2008, 01:05 AM
rarely does anyone complain about Compiz being complicated.
Then let me do it: I do complain about Compiz being too complicated and that's because the same lack of design KDE suffers from. There are too many options because there's not enough leadership to take that effort from the user or, what's worse, because the leaders believe every option is equally useful.

However, Compiz is relatively young and I can expect it'll make design decisions as it grows older and less geek oriented. That can't be said about KDE.

EDIT: I understand you're talking about the advanced setup. Basic Compiz is as easy as could be.