Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Is openSUSE for users with a little computer knowledge

or Protective vs. overprotective

One post on made me think about what makes openSUSE a bit hard to chew for new computer users.

In particular the post was about NTFS usage.
There is a short article how to fix default settings:

openSUSE default settings are a safe for users with very little computer knowledge. You have to be a root in order to write to partition that is formatted with NTFS. 

Windows protects its system files from deletion, but only when it is controlling the system. When user is accessing partition with installed windows from Linux, that protection does not exist, so one can overwrite or delete important files preventing Windows from starting.

Restrictive settings that allow only root to write there are some protection, not very sophisticated, but it prevents users without basic knowledge to damage their windows, at least to the moment they discover power of root :)

Problem is that any other NTFS file system is not writable too, which forces users to either learn workarounds, or leave Linux. Taking that people with a little computer knowledge already demonstrated lack of interest in computer internals, second option is probably the most used one, unless they find Linux that is not overprotective.

Problem is similar to UAC in Vista. It failed because it was producing too many times warnings to make computer use comfortable.

1 comment:

  1. It's the great balance of things.

    Ubuntu assumes you have less knowledge and tries to protect you more by keeping the inner workings "hidden", but available to users who know how to get into it.

    Fedora is more for people willing to tinker and modify things by hand (or at least it used to be) and the knowledge requirement to enter the door is slightly higher. That fits with their user profile of people "most likely to give back" (code).

    So this balance has to be determined by who the target market is, and openSUSE has for a long time appeared to me as if it just doesn't know! They are looking at it, but I haven't heard much lately to be certain the ball hasn't been dropped.