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Linux 2003
Conference and Tutorials
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Thurs 31st July - Sun 3rd August 2003
Edinburgh, Scotland

Ian Naylor - University of Sunderland

Developing Linux for the Common Woman (and her husband)

Paper (PDF)

Moving from proprietary software to Open Source is a cause of fear and trepidation for many users.

There is such a strong technical base in the GNU/Linux and BSD user base that making the move from proprietary to Open Source is almost taken for granted. Or, potentially even more damaging, seen as a challenge to be overcome where the average user sees a terrifying ordeal to be faced.

Companies spend huge amounts of time and money managing change (and resistance to it) amongst their employees to new working practices and methods. Yet, on the home desktop, the fear of change is often ignored or even forgotten. The average user has no helpdesk available to steer her through the foibles of a new piece of software or a new way of doing things.

If Open Source can succeed and become the tool of choice in the workplace, then the desktop market can follow. How can the developer and day-to-day user work together to ease this adoption, driving development in the future?

It is the authors' intention to look at the future of Linux from a new (albeit fairly technically competent) users standpoint and look for ways in which this migration can be eased.

The author will present his solution to this problem, using his own experience of software testing, training and integration to highlight the pitfalls that can face the complacent developer and slow the growth and acceptance of new developments.

These simple yet often ignored development ideas can ensure usability and user understanding at all levels of the development process or even keep the developer focused and on track when she wanders off on her own wish list of tools and toys.

After all, she can programme the video so she cannot be wrong. Right.....?


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