[mythtv-users] MythTV Installer Usability: An Analysis

chris at cpr.homelinux.net chris at cpr.homelinux.net
Fri Nov 4 20:44:49 EST 2005

On Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 09:55:53AM -0500, Dewey Smolka wrote:
> The fact is that vi is included, as is nano. It is not difficult to
> use, and anyone who has trouble opening, altering, and saving a file
> using vi has no business attempting a MythTV setup.

I don't want to wade into the editor wars, but would point out that 
MythTV is potentially the "killer app" that makes non-Linux users want 
to use Linux.  Knoppix is positioned as the "try it, you'll like it, 
and we won't break your Windows box" distro.  As such, making a 
Knoppix-based MythTV system bullet-proof *IS* important as for many 
people it will be their first (and possibly last) experience with 
Linux.  This means that the UI should always do what a newbie expects, 
and automation should take care of any reasonable installation 
situation using scripted Q&A rather than installing a non-functional 
application and expecting people to experiment with various settings on 
forms that are poorly organized and don't respond to the industry 
standard navigation and data-entry methods.

Yes, there is a FAQ.  Yes, there are installation instructions.  Yes, 
99% of all newbies will ignore both and expect MythTV to be intuitive 
because every other application they've ever used (on Windows) was 
fairly intuitive.  Blaming users for being ignorant makes development 
easier but doesn't do anything to make Linux more attractive for 
newbies.  FWIW, Jarod's guide isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Telling people that MythTV is too complicated to be used on Knoppix is 
counter-productive.  A better solution would be to look at what aspects 
of MythTV make it complicated and fix them.  For example, there is a 
real dichotomy between keyboard/monitor/mouse systems and TV/LIRC 
systems, so maybe the solution is to ask (or detect) which is in use 
and install a UI that is appropriate to that hardware.  That way, those 
of us who use a keyboard and mouse can have real drop-down widgets, etc.

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