The Forgotten "F": A Tale of Fedora's Foundations

Máirín Duffy duffy at
Tue Apr 22 12:55:26 UTC 2014

Hi folks,

> On 04/22/2014 07:40 AM, "Jóhann B. Guðmundsson" wrote:
>> Is it safe to assume that research is backup by public usability
>> tests?

On 04/22/2014 07:55 AM, Stephen Gallagher wrote:
> When I invoke Máirín, I usually find it safe to make that assumption,
> but I'll let her speak for herself on the matter.

We did tests at Red Hat's office in Boston for RHEL 7. Those tests were 
with experienced system administrators looking to install server 
targets. They were not looking to install workstations, and as they 
stated their typical install process is automated and involves 
kickstart; they do not perform attended installs frequently at all. The 
summary of results from that test are available here: 
  (posted to

I'm fairly certain based on experience (if you want to question *that*, 
we can talk about that in more depth too) that this class of users:

- Do not care about the license conditions. They trust that Red Hat has 
handled that appropriately for them.

- Probably do have a preference for command line vs polished apps, but 
do not care about this when installing a server. (Generally the 
experienced admins favor command line whereas junior admins or admins 
that also work on Windows machines prefer polished apps)

- Do care about full functionality vs. small size / speed. They make 
this selection interactively using the software selection / comps screen 
in the new anaconda; for day-to-day this is controlled via the selection 
of particular kickstarts or recipes in their automated provisioning systems.

We also did tests at last year. My OPW intern Stephanie 
Manuel designed the test with me and Jiri Eischmann, Jaroslav Reznik, 
and Filip Kosik among others, did an excellent job running the tests 
on-site. I have the videos but I do not have release forms for the 
testers who took that test, so I don't think I can post them - but it is 
a lot of data and I'm not sure how useful it would be to post or where I 
could post it. These users for the most part had a technical background, 
but were more workstation-oriented in installation although they only 
interacted with the installer itself. Filip provided the data and the 
analysis of the results on that test:

All of the results from the tests were collated into one long issue list 

Some of the choices Przemek suggested don't make sense depending on the 
context. E.g., full functionality vs. small size / speed I think has a 
different meaning depending on whether you have a workstation target 
(which, either way, will include X) or a server target (which might not 
necessarily include X.) Same with command line vs polished apps.

Everything in our repos is free, so putting the choice in the installer 
seems off to me. Our policy (which is complex and obviously driven by 
things stronger than the UX) generally leaves it to users post-install 
to add encumbered software. I don't actually see the advantage to the 
user in changing that. PackageKit's UI used to have filters I think some 
were based on license. Maybe the GNOME software devs would be interested 
in having some kind of selection for the type of software offered to 
you. Similarly to how some Android app stores work - e.g. show me only 
free apps, or you can show me paid apps too.

So to back this up, a lot - what install target are we talking about, 
exactly? And what type of users are we talking about? My guidance as an 
IXD would be completely different depending on these things.


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