PCLinuxOS 2007 observations -- how simple is it really? - Linux

This is a discussion on PCLinuxOS 2007 observations -- how simple is it really? - Linux ; Observations on the PCLinuxOS bootup sequence and GUI. for the LiveDisc. How consistent is this, really? [1] The test environment is a little weird; it's QEMU, running on my laptop, displayed on another box using SSH tunnelling. This shouldn't make ...

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  1. PCLinuxOS 2007 observations -- how simple is it really?

    Observations on the PCLinuxOS bootup sequence and GUI.
    for the LiveDisc. How consistent is this, really?

    [1] The test environment is a little weird; it's QEMU,
    running on my laptop, displayed on another box using
    SSH tunnelling. This shouldn't make much difference,
    though it might slow things down some.

    [2] Interesting blue bootscreen. The general idea is
    that of a selectable set of options; the default is
    "LiveCD". Apparently it has a timer; it ticked down and
    then transferred to a largely black screen except for a
    metal-like pattern around the logo. Not a bad start,
    actually; I'm continually surprised by the customization
    of these screens. (I'm not entirely sure it makes that
    much difference to me personally, admittedly; I'm a bit
    oldschool.)

    [3] "Booting the system...press Esc for verbose mode".
    This is not consistent with Gentoo 2005's "press F2";
    Escape usually means cancel or abort. I'll admit I'm not
    sure F2 is any more intuitive, but what precisely are
    we escaping from?

    [4] The startup of X showed a strange multicolored hash for
    a moment -- a display artifact of the emulator, probably --
    then asked me to "Please, choose your keyboard layout".
    I'm all for politeness but the comma, seems, well,
    somewhat, unnecessary, in, this, context. Please, get rid
    of it. :-P The actual coloration is light gray/tan border,
    white background, black text, blue list highlighter -- not
    quite consistent with the "ribbed metal" of the background.

    [5] "Which is your timezone?", displaying a very long
    list of timezones, thankfully sorted in alphabetic order.
    I've seen better; NT and Fedora used a global Mercator
    map, for example. Once I selected PST8PDT, interestingly,
    it then prompted me for "What is the best time?" showing
    me what it thought the time is if it used local time or
    UTC for the (emulated) system clock, and it prompted me
    for automatic time synchronization (using NTP). Both are
    nice touches.

    [6] "Choose the connection you want to configure". Eh?
    Does this mean I can configure more than one connection
    type, or that I should indicate my preference as to
    which I should use? Also, it uses POTS (the more modern
    term is PSTN[*] -- but I hate the acronym soup anyway) for
    dialup modems. Interestingly, it includes Satellite,
    Wireless (presumably, WiFi), GPRS/Edge/3G, and Bluetooth.
    The defaults are reasonable for a DHCP, and after a short
    pause I got "Congratulations, the network and
    Internet configuration is finished". (It wasn't that hard,
    you dumb program, but how were you supposed to know that?)
    Clicking on Finish gives me a login screen, white text
    on black with white input text areas, plus two accounts
    (one of them "root"). I suppose for a liveCD that's not
    unreasonable.

    [7] "Initializing system services"...uh, didn't you do
    that already? Blue marbles; the initialized ones are
    opaque, but the ones that aren't initialized yet are
    nearly invisible. Interesting theme, I suppose.

    [8] Dang...there went the metal. Now I get a blue
    background with a wave in it, with a blank gray lower
    panel. (Apparently I didn't configure sound; it complained
    with a dialog box about /dev/dsp. Oh well.) After a few
    seconds, I do get a panel...and a configuration dialog box,
    which is probably because I impatiently clicked on the
    right mouse button. Oh well, easy to close. The general
    theme: gray, white, black text, blue highlights, blue
    title bar with subtle shadings to white, and a red close
    "x" widget. Rather clean and good looking, actually.

    [9] This is clearly based on KDE, though with some
    interesting visual modifications -- one might see "PC in
    a circle" in a number of places where the K-logo or the
    start button usually is. Clicking on "My Computer" fires
    up a Konqueror window. The system for some reason known
    only to the artists shows the users folders as an igloo;
    clicking thereon shows an A-frame house with a red door
    marked "guest (guest)". Clicking on *that* shows a bunch
    of colored folders: Green for Documents, brown for Movies,
    red for Music, purple for Pictures, and slate blue for tmp,
    which appears to be a symbolic link.

    God and the artists only know where the colors are fetched
    from, but an "ls" in the home directory at least shows
    the same names as in the Konqueror window (including the
    aforementioned symlink "tmp", which does point to "/tmp/").
    An "ls -a" indicates some interesting extra stuff, which
    is probably not of interest here.

    [10] From a visual standpoint, Konqeror is the usual
    black-text-on-white affair; for some reason known only to
    the designers, the Konsole (which is KDE's answer to xterm)
    is white text on black. Not sure I consider that consistent,
    though I can't complain too roundly; it makes Konsole stick
    out as an obvious text screen.

    [11] The Installation Help (I guess "Installation
    Instructions" wouldn't have fit as easily) opens a
    Konqueror window with PNG images; these PNG images walk
    the user through a wizard. Stupid in some respects (in an
    ideal world we'd have metafiles similar to Windows so that
    instead of having to store bitmaps, we'd store drawing
    instructions -- not sure Postscript or SVG would do it
    here, though), but not totally unreasonable, especially
    for those who have never seen this sort of thing before.

    [12] Partitioning the hard drive uses color coding for
    some extremely odd reason -- and furthermore the colors
    may be hard to see for some.

    Ext2 - bright red, black text.
    Jounalized FS (which one?? there are *three* available
    on most other distros: Ext3, reiserfs, jfs) - darker red, black text.
    Swap - bright green, black text.
    Windows - dark blue, black text, hard to see.
    Other - black on light gray
    Empty - black on a slightly lighter gray

    [13] After creating the swap partition, one can indeed
    see a green area -- it's a differently colored green, and
    furthermore chopped off the text within the green area.
    (To be fair, it's not that big a partition with respect
    to the rest of the drive, which is apparently about 10
    GB in size. Also, they might use bright green to indicate
    the current swap partition.) I hope they have flyovers
    in the actual application, and if one selects the partition
    apparently one does get some auxiliary text.

    [14] For some reason the instructions suggest creating
    /home first, and furthermore suggest using ext2 for such.
    That might work for some people, but I have a lot of
    stuff in /home. The black text in swap has now vanished.
    Not good from a display standpoint. I wonder how bright
    this tool is if one specifies /etc as a mountpoint.
    (Since the system mountpoint defaults are stored in
    /etc/fstab, one runs the risk of extreme stupidity -- but
    we did have a Unix system where the sysadmin did exactly
    that at one point. We never did get it back.)

    [15] "The partition/s you have selected will be formatted.
    All the data will be wiped". Big white exclamation point
    on a red button, then a green arrow, then a schematic of
    an opened disk drive (complete with a head and a blue
    indicator light in the front -- or maybe that's just a
    style thingy; it's obvious it's a drive to those that know
    what a drive is, and the obnoxiousness is understandable).
    Of course here's redundant information for you:

    "Press Next to format selected partitions or Cancel to quit.
    [Cancel] [[Next]]"

    Um...wouldn't "Format" have worked better here? Sigh.

    [16] "Please wait...formatting partition hda6".
    Fortunately, the partition tool did indicate the partition
    devices during setup; it's also nice to see they are using
    a progress bar. It would have been even nicer had they
    shown the mountpoint, though:

    Please wait...formatting / (hda6)

    or some such.

    [17] "Press next to install or Cancel to quit". At this
    point, quitting would leave one with an interestingly
    broken system. The left side has changed from an
    obnoxious bang to a gray box with a blue-and-black "tongue"
    (actually, it's probably supposed to be a representation
    of the PCLinuxOS CD-ROM disc).

    [18] The bootloader setup is a little busy, and omits
    things such as the units for "Delay before booting
    default image" (it's most likely seconds but that could
    be clearer). The scrollbar at the bottom is apparently
    because someone got lazy; visually, the extreme right
    of the spinners got sliced.

    [19] The installer is then expected to set the password --
    and here's Snit's favorite dialog bug; one of the buttons
    says "Authentication m...". Where's the rest of it?
    Covered up by "No password", of course. Ouch -- and right
    in their installdocs, too; I haven't even started anything yet.

    [20] And finally, "Please halt your computer, remove your
    live system, and restart your computer" will probably cause
    the Crabby Office Lady (or her opensource equivalent)
    to pull her hairpins out and throw them at the monitor.
    I would have highly preferred something a little more
    reasonable such as "Please restart your computer", with
    an automatic eject of the livedisc during the shutdown
    sequence as a hint to the user that he should remove it.

    [21] Doubleclicking on "Configure your computer" gave
    me two iconbars for a moment, then both disappeared.
    Not sure I like this. At this point the desktop became
    unresponsive, though it still tracked mouse movements.
    I have no idea why, so I quit the emulator.

    All in all, I'd give it a B+ in the artistic
    department...it looks nice, but there's some cleanup work
    in the dialog boxes needed. I'm not about to do an actual
    install, though with QEMU I could define a hard drive and
    walk it through.
    [*] Plain Old Telephone Service, Packet Switched Telephone Network.

    --
    #191, ewill3@earthlink.net
    Windows Vista. Because a BSOD is just so 20th century; why not
    try our new color changing variant?
    ** Posted from http://www.teranews.com **

  2. Re: PCLinuxOS 2007 observations -- how simple is it really?

    "The Ghost In The Machine" stated in post
    rqo6h5-jv8.ln1@sirius.tg00suus7038.net on 5/30/08 7:13 PM:

    > Observations on the PCLinuxOS bootup sequence and GUI.
    > for the LiveDisc. How consistent is this, really?
    >
    > [1] The test environment is a little weird; it's QEMU,
    > running on my laptop, displayed on another box using
    > SSH tunnelling. This shouldn't make much difference,
    > though it might slow things down some.
    >
    > [2] Interesting blue bootscreen. The general idea is
    > that of a selectable set of options; the default is
    > "LiveCD". Apparently it has a timer; it ticked down and
    > then transferred to a largely black screen except for a
    > metal-like pattern around the logo. Not a bad start,
    > actually; I'm continually surprised by the customization
    > of these screens. (I'm not entirely sure it makes that
    > much difference to me personally, admittedly; I'm a bit
    > oldschool.)


    First impressions matter... a friendly boot screen that is not overly techy
    goes a long way toward helping many people feel comfortable with an OS.

    > [3] "Booting the system...press Esc for verbose mode".
    > This is not consistent with Gentoo 2005's "press F2";
    > Escape usually means cancel or abort. I'll admit I'm not
    > sure F2 is any more intuitive, but what precisely are
    > we escaping from?


    Something pretty! Run for the hills!

    > [4] The startup of X showed a strange multicolored hash for
    > a moment -- a display artifact of the emulator, probably --
    > then asked me to "Please, choose your keyboard layout".
    > I'm all for politeness but the comma, seems, well,
    > somewhat, unnecessary, in, this, context. Please, get rid
    > of it. :-P The actual coloration is light gray/tan border,
    > white background, black text, blue list highlighter -- not
    > quite consistent with the "ribbed metal" of the background.


    Editing of the GUI does not seem to be a priority of many OSS projects.

    ....
    > [6] "Choose the connection you want to configure". Eh?
    > Does this mean I can configure more than one connection
    > type, or that I should indicate my preference as to
    > which I should use? Also, it uses POTS (the more modern
    > term is PSTN[*] -- but I hate the acronym soup anyway) for
    > dialup modems. Interestingly, it includes Satellite,
    > Wireless (presumably, WiFi), GPRS/Edge/3G, and Bluetooth.
    > The defaults are reasonable for a DHCP, and after a short
    > pause I got "Congratulations, the network and
    > Internet configuration is finished". (It wasn't that hard,
    > you dumb program, but how were you supposed to know that?)
    > Clicking on Finish gives me a login screen, white text
    > on black with white input text areas, plus two accounts
    > (one of them "root"). I suppose for a liveCD that's not
    > unreasonable.


    Agreed.

    ....
    > [8] Dang...there went the metal. Now I get a blue
    > background with a wave in it, with a blank gray lower
    > panel. (Apparently I didn't configure sound; it complained
    > with a dialog box about /dev/dsp. Oh well.) After a few
    > seconds, I do get a panel...and a configuration dialog box,
    > which is probably because I impatiently clicked on the
    > right mouse button. Oh well, easy to close. The general
    > theme: gray, white, black text, blue highlights, blue
    > title bar with subtle shadings to white, and a red close
    > "x" widget. Rather clean and good looking, actually.


    PCLOS generally has a good *look* to its themes. Agreed.

    > [9] This is clearly based on KDE, though with some
    > interesting visual modifications -- one might see "PC in
    > a circle" in a number of places where the K-logo or the
    > start button usually is. Clicking on "My Computer" fires
    > up a Konqueror window. The system for some reason known
    > only to the artists shows the users folders as an igloo;


    Cold day in hell before most people would use it?

    > clicking thereon shows an A-frame house with a red door
    > marked "guest (guest)". Clicking on *that* shows a bunch
    > of colored folders: Green for Documents, brown for Movies,
    > red for Music, purple for Pictures, and slate blue for tmp,
    > which appears to be a symbolic link.
    >
    > God and the artists only know where the colors are fetched
    > from, but an "ls" in the home directory at least shows
    > the same names as in the Konqueror window (including the
    > aforementioned symlink "tmp", which does point to "/tmp/").
    > An "ls -a" indicates some interesting extra stuff, which
    > is probably not of interest here.
    >
    > [10] From a visual standpoint, Konqeror is the usual
    > black-text-on-white affair; for some reason known only to
    > the designers, the Konsole (which is KDE's answer to xterm)
    > is white text on black. Not sure I consider that consistent,
    > though I can't complain too roundly; it makes Konsole stick
    > out as an obvious text screen.


    And that might be a strong enough reason to break consistency... it is a
    different context and that should be immediately viewable.

    ....
    > [15] "The partition/s you have selected will be formatted.
    > All the data will be wiped". Big white exclamation point
    > on a red button, then a green arrow, then a schematic of
    > an opened disk drive (complete with a head and a blue
    > indicator light in the front -- or maybe that's just a
    > style thingy; it's obvious it's a drive to those that know
    > what a drive is, and the obnoxiousness is understandable).
    > Of course here's redundant information for you:
    >
    > "Press Next to format selected partitions or Cancel to quit.
    > [Cancel] [[Next]]"
    >
    > Um...wouldn't "Format" have worked better here? Sigh.


    No doubt... that is poorly done.

    ....
    > [18] The bootloader setup is a little busy, and omits
    > things such as the units for "Delay before booting
    > default image" (it's most likely seconds but that could
    > be clearer). The scrollbar at the bottom is apparently
    > because someone got lazy; visually, the extreme right
    > of the spinners got sliced.


    Such unprofessional layout and design is not a good sign for a product.

    > [19] The installer is then expected to set the password --
    > and here's Snit's favorite dialog bug; one of the buttons
    > says "Authentication m...". Where's the rest of it?
    > Covered up by "No password", of course. Ouch -- and right
    > in their installdocs, too; I haven't even started anything yet.


    When I talked about this I was blamed for faking the screen shots that
    showed it.

    > [20] And finally, "Please halt your computer, remove your
    > live system, and restart your computer" will probably cause
    > the Crabby Office Lady (or her opensource equivalent)
    > to pull her hairpins out and throw them at the monitor.
    > I would have highly preferred something a little more
    > reasonable such as "Please restart your computer", with
    > an automatic eject of the livedisc during the shutdown
    > sequence as a hint to the user that he should remove it.


    No doubt!

    > [21] Doubleclicking on "Configure your computer" gave
    > me two iconbars for a moment, then both disappeared.
    > Not sure I like this. At this point the desktop became
    > unresponsive, though it still tracked mouse movements.
    > I have no idea why, so I quit the emulator.
    >
    > All in all, I'd give it a B+ in the artistic
    > department...it looks nice, but there's some cleanup work
    > in the dialog boxes needed. I'm not about to do an actual
    > install, though with QEMU I could define a hard drive and
    > walk it through.
    >
    >[*] Plain Old Telephone Service, Packet Switched Telephone Network.




    --
    Teachers open the door but you must walk through it yourself.


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