Posted by: 2stepsback | October 29, 2007

Open Letter to all Linux Distros – screencasting

Hello, hackers and packers.

IMO, promoting Linux needs these things to be done, among many others, in no particular order:
1. Asking people to read the licenses and notices.
2. Sitting them through a few basic operations till they are confident of how to “write a document” and “send an email” and “print a report”.
3. Spotting talented and enthusiastic *potential* Linux and FLOSS lovers.
4. Saving data to a USB device or burning a DVD. Sometimes, you have to give *your* blank DVD for *their* backup, or else you are a cost and a *trouble* for them. As it is, you are probably a “waste of time” for them as well. They know nothing about how the Bullshit-Savoring-Arsenal wants to come looking for their arses and purses anytime and would have done it long back, if it were not for GNU/Linux.

They don’t know that they use PCs with pirated junk *only* becaue GNU/Linux and FLOSS exists.
NO other reason exists for not being pulled up for “piracy” today.

Ignorance is *bills*, lots of them.

However, the guys who like this new beautiful toy want to make an instant demo of their new-found piece of philosopher’s stone.
They want to make a video, with audio, of how to do this and how to do that in Linux, and either give that video to their friends or sell that video online or offline.

Often, they first try out LiveCDs. LiveCDs rock.
DSL rocks.
Slax charms.
(Don’t forget to make a guest/non-root user FIRST and log in with that id).
Geexbox is sheer delight.
Knoppix leaves you with one of these thoughts in your mind:
“Why did I not hear about Knoppix all this while?”
“What do I do to install this on my PC?”
“Can I backup my Windows data and move to Linux from this CD itself*?”

And for every good-looking Linux distro:

  • “How do I tell my friends how to use these programs?”
  • “I have a thisPod/thatClod. So, how do I make an mp3 ogg out of this so that I can pass on this video to my friends?”
  • “I want my voice to be the one documenting this latest feature of Linux first! I want to make history.”
  • “I want to spread awareness about Linux and FLOSS.”
  • “I have something to add to this!”
  • “I have something useful to say about Linux/FLOSS/”
  • “I found a bug and I want to ensure that no one else wastes a day on that bug like I did.”
  • “I want to make a cute little video to impress my friends, by posting it to YouTube. But, I dont have a camera to record my screen.”
  • “I want to add a clip for Linux Radio.”
  • “I want to document this workflow for office or personal uses for later review and to submit it to my office knowledgebase. So that I can get a raise for BPR.”
  • “I want to show colleagues and everyone else in my office how so-and-so document or printing thing is done from Linux.”
  • “I wanna be rich an famous! l33t h4x0r rulz! I wanna set up my Linux tute shop for my city and my language.”
  • “I want to get public mindshare because I want to further my image as a big leader later on in life. I want publicity and goodwill for that.”
  • “I want to make it easy for my friends and family to use Linux.”
  • “Wow! Woooow! Hey, gimme Linux, now! Throw that scumbag shit out of the window!”

All these people want a one-click screen-capture program which does NOT take screenshots, but which allows them too make screen RECORDINGS to sell or share.

  • It should NOT be a menu item.
  • It should NOT be “a trivial command line program”.
  • It SHOULD BE exactly ONE BUTTON on the DESKTOP and the recording should begin WITHOUT WARNING.

Umm…. ok, maybe with ONE message box with OK/Cancel or Yes/No.
Google “usability Yes/No Ok/Cancel”.
My opinion is this:

Yes/No means this:
I am asking you this because it is something important you are about to do. Are you SURE you want to proceed? Y’know, like, you can screw up your system if you do this. So, wanna do this? Yes or No?

OK/Cancel means this:
“OK. Let’s go ahead.
or, Cancel, try this later on.”

Maybe the message text is:
[1] Please keep the recording short. Since the CD runs from RAM only, it might get slow or hang if you have less than 256MB (less than 1 min should be ok).
[2] If your system hangs, Press Ctrl+ Alt+Del to restart the system. No damage can occur, because this CD does not touch you rharddisk or data.
[3] If this too does not work, press the Reset button, and NOT the Power button.

At least [1].
Better [1] + [2].
To become a pain, but keep the user well informed, [1]+[2]+[3].

This button should be a prominent icon on the desktop, preferably to the right side so that it clearly stands out from the others.

Don’t _evaluate_ the feasibility of this feature. Just ****ing add it!
It _will_ work much better than people going around town explaining things to others.

The sick part is that the 95% market share is so bad a stranglehold that you, as a Linux salesperson, have to spoil the user *even more* than they spoil the user already.
It sucks. But it works. And that’s what matters.



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