Abandon "Default Desktop"
awilliam at redhat.com
Tue Apr 28 21:11:13 UTC 2009
On Tue, 2009-04-28 at 16:48 +0100, Naheem Zaffar wrote:
> Forcing a choice at install time to uninformed users is plain bad
> usability. Allowing those that are informed to change the defaults is
> the right way.
Naheem nailed this one. The problem with forcing a choice is that, for a
certain group of people, the choice is nonsense: they have no idea what
they are being asked to choose, or what they should choose. Of course
they can pick at random and probably be happy with whatever they pick,
but there's still two costs in that case: we have to ask everyone "are
you running KDE or GNOME?" rather than assuming they're on GNOME unless
they say they're on KDE, and more importantly, being forced to make a
choice you don't understand makes you frustrated. The more such choices
we have in our flow, the more frustrated we're making people.
Of course, the choice also has value to other people. So - as these
things so often do - the question boils down to: who do we care about
more? People who don't know what the choice means, or people who do
know, and want it?
And again as is so often the case, the only way to answer that question
is if we really have a clear and solid definition of what we're trying
to be, for whom. Which we don't, really.
This is why this has turned into a directionless debate, as Adam Jackson
pointed out: the question is essentially impossible to answer in our
current situation. There is no way it can be clearly agreed which course
of action would be better.
I think the only useful thing to come out is that a screen which just
lets you pick your desktop is probably a good idea. All the other major
distributions with a genuinely multi-desktop installer do this. I'd say
we should implement it and make GNOME the default simply because that's
our current situation and, when unsure, one should always make the least
possible amount of change to achieve the immediate goal.
(My entirely un-serious suggestion is that the screen feature a dog
called Gordon, a cat called Kristen, and a snake called Xavier. You can
probably see what happens from there.)
To address the suggestion that the selection screen feature a short
explanation of the choices - try actually *writing* that explanation,
and fitting it into two lines, in a way that makes both the GNOME and
KDE people happy. Actually, unless you love to be frustrated, don't.
I've done this. It wasn't a fun week.
Fedora QA Community Monkey
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