sábado, 24 de agosto de 2013

On Linux and Fun

Jack Wallen, who writes fiction as well as articles about Linux, wrote this article in which he claims that if Linux wants to succeed on the desktop, what our beloved penguin needs is more fun.

As a relatively new and non-technical Linux user, I couldn't possibly agree more. All the people that have seen my Linux systems and have gotten interested in them, first noticed a rather "trivial" feature.  The list is more or less as follows:


KDE's plasmoid Benma

Kaquarium (this was for old KDE 3)



PumpTux, a KDE splash screen


Package Manager PiSi

PicarOS MiniNO Linux "childish" UI

The command "whoami" (believe it or not!)

Mr. Wallen provides in his article an example of a "silly" app that many users could want and that Linux needs: "a social app, an app to create memes, an app to turn kittens into conquering Vikings."

What about an app that let you add themes of TV shows and displayed their image after a click, when the user has answered?  (pretty much like Auralquiz, but with images and more flexibility) 

Judging from what others are attracted to of my Linux systems, I think he is right. I myself have dreamed of having something like Benma, but configurable so that when clicking on her, the cute manga girl told me a joke, or gave me a random interesting fact, or even showed me some words to help me memorize my French vocabulary.  That would be a great break for the moments when my brain is simply overwhelmed with work and I need a very quick pause to keep my sanity.

What's the problem?  First, developers are far too concerned about waste of computer resources.  Well, that used to be true when computer's specs were very limited, but nowadays computers have evolved quite a bit.  Besides, a Linux computer won't be using as many resources as systems with other OSs.  Second, developers seem to think that users worlwide just care about productivity and that any feature not meant to treat humans as part of the computer are distracting and annoying.

Well, that may be true for work...but nowadays, computers have merged with all aspects of human life.  Working is only one of such aspects. As Mr. Wallen well said it, humans love to have fun.

Now, I am not a developer, so I don't know if Mr. Wallen is right when he said that "the majority of users are playing with apps that can be created in most developers' sleep."  I don't know how hard it would be to create a plasmoid like Benma that could be configured so that users added their own content and could activate a random display of such content by clicking on the plasmoid, but I would love to have something like that on my system!

2 comentarios:

  1. I can ratify your observations: people seem to get impressed by the fun and trivial things Linux offers. For example, I see great potential in the ROSA Facebook integrated time line despite I myself don't like Facebook ;P

    I like your Benma idea. How about making it an assistant? Assistants are fun if they do their work well.

  2. Those who commented on Mr. Wallen's article agree.