[Mageia-discuss] Mageia-discuss Digest, Vol 2, Issue 137

Dale Huckeby spock at evansville.net
Sun Oct 31 15:51:55 CET 2010

On Sun, 31 Oct 2010, Marc Paré wrote:
> Le 2010-10-31 02:07, Dale Huckeby a écrit :
>> Options should be based on usage, not on a category the user belongs to.
>> Hence "Development" is a meaningful choice, because it describes a
>> specific kind of usage, whereas "Young Family" is basically incoherent.
>> Spell out the things you think a young family will typically use a
>> computer for, and let those USAGES be part of the list the person
>> [doing the install chooses from.]
> Hi Dale:
> I totally agree with this category. The different categories had only been 
> suggested and were still up to debate. I personally would not recommend 
> "Young Family" as, again, it is very subjective. I happen to think that I 
> have a very young family at heart but have been married for over 25 years.
> The other categories that are not subjective: "Business"; "Web Development"; 
> "Academia"; "Education (Primary/Secondary"; "Music"; ... and more. These 
> categories would be discussed at length on this mailist before submitting the 
> proposal. And again, different software packages could possibly apply to more 
> than one category, but would still be only installed once.
> These choices would then reflect that particular person or person(s) expected 
> usage of the distro.

While we agree that "Young Family" doesn't work, it seems to me some of the
other categories are similarly broad. A useful rule of thumb would be to
focus not on types of persons or groups but on activities. Since "young
family" is not an activity, whereas "web development" is, that gives us an
objective reason for preferring the latter over the former as a useful
category. Likewise for "academia". Not all academics have the same needs,
for instance adminstrators versus research professors versus adjuncts who
teach and don't do research, yet all would fall under the term "academic".
In addition, a given college professor is not going to use his or her
computer only AS a professor, and his or her other activities, playing
poker online, playing games offline, buying and selling stocks and bonds,
etc. would vary widely from person to person.

That's why I would focus more narrowly on what a person wants to DO with
his computer, in terms of *specific* tasks or activities. Early in the 
process I would ask him what sorts of things he wants to use his computer
for and then list all the things he CAN do with it, each of which can be
selected or ignored. It MIGHT be useful to note, without it necessarily
being a selectable category, some of the things (and the apps that would
go with them) a typical high school teacher or rabid sports fan or
writer or stock market player might want to do or, alternatively, we
could indicate, along with the description of the uses of a particular
app or closely linked set of apps, what kinds of people might find
such app(s) useful, and why. All of this is a way of saying, which I
think we're in general agreement on, that we should be careful not
to cast too broad a net with our categories, that each should embody
a *particular* activity or *closely* linked set of activities.

Dale Huckeby

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