Just watched LTT’s third video where Linus and Luke try to run Linux as a daily driver on their home systems. The third video was the more “daily driver” part of the challange, containing what could be perceived as “daily tasks” using the Linux desktop.
I think that they in some way helped to point out a couple of small problems here and there, and I in some ways agree with Linus in regards to how Dolphin is a bit janked, though Linus sure took his sweet time and they both over-complicated a couple of tasks, but I wanted to adress how the video ended.
They had to underline the video by pointing out the backlash they had received and about how they perceived certain Linux desktop discussion threads online. The word used was: gatekeeping. One thing I kind of get a bit tired of is the sense of elitism found around linux user spaces, mostly because it hurts the original goal: to spread libre, free software.
When I reminisce over IRC logs of years past and certain “conversations” I’ve had on on Matrix.org and think about how perhaps the introduction of the
code of conduct hoisted upon GitHub users was probably for the best. Reading certain support threads online makes me think that certain venues might be actively scaring away users from wanting to use libre software, and that scares me.
For me, I hope that we can create positive, welcoming communities, where we help people - or if we can’t help people, at least be able to give them some helpful hints, tips or proper directions on how they can reach their goal and solve their problems. It is after all part and parcel of making open source software better, as feedback is technically a form of quality assurance.
Elitism gets us nowhere, and even though I frequently use the CLI, I don’t really like how people are pushing it was a necessity as a justification for lacking functionality or “jank” user experiences in certain software that probably would benefit from actively getting feedback about certain issues.
Of course there’s a problem with fragmentation of communication channels, how to source proper documentation (the Arch wiki aside) or outdated community websites, etc. There’s a lot of hoops newcomers have to jump through to get acclimated - if they don’t just nope out and decide to try at a later date, or scrap the idea of using libre systems altogether.
For me the issue is clear: I want people to use Linux desktops because they are based in FLOSS principles. But that alone won’t usher in the mythical “year of the Linux desktop”. There are clear barriers to entry in the form of irritations, confusion and even toxic behaviour that prevents newcomers from settling in, on top of the classic hardware support issue that has given unfair advantages to proprietary operating systems like Windows.
I think we need to look at how we interface with communities and channels, with how we introduce and facilitate failtesting and troubleshooting, as well as creating places where UX problems can be discussed without getting “use the terminal” thrown in your face.
What do you guys think? Is learning the terminal really that vitally important, or should we be able to facilitate discussion, promotion and encouragement of usability improvements? Are communities really not that toxic, but it’s just a matter of having some fundamental understanding before you go into such a place? Let me know what you think.