Joined: Nov. 2007
||Posted: Dec. 01 2007,15:55
There's another perspective that you need to keep in mind as the maintainer of this project: An Official Damn Small Linux reference book has been published and will be purchased with the intent to learn how to use DSL.
I've read three-quarters of the book already and am very much enjoying it. The meaty stuff is coming up and I look forward to it with relish. Congratulations on a fine publication.
Now, let me explain a scenario that I think will occur repeatedly. Someone purchases your book and compares the desktop functionality it describes to the product that they download as your latest stable release. This person is immediately estranged because the two are not at all the same. The book describes an "at your fingertips" desktop, the 4.x lineage is a minimalist desktop version without even one single icon from the published document. What happens next?
If the user is persistent and computer literate, he knows that you've moved on to some other fashion statement with the official desktop and he digs into the meatier parts of the book and ignores the inconsistencies. He does wonder though, how a book published in August 2007 can be out of date by October 2007.
If the user is my Aunt Kay, she's going to tell me the book is useless and that I wasted 40$ of her pension money. Of course, I'm going to have to drive her back out to Barnes and Nobel the day after Christmas so she can get her money back and take advantage of the Boxing Day sale and then I'm going to have to reformat her computer and install Windows XP because she, like everybody else on the planet has a horrific allergic reaction to Windows Vista (nobody like Windows Vista, not the gamers, not the jocks, not the developers, not the kitchen crowd).
So, you've lost a book sale, you've lost a potential new user and you've estranged everybody at Aunt Kay's Bridge Club. Now all of those old ladies think that Linux is as confusing as Vista. Not a good job done this... a loss for DSL, and a loss for Linux.
I don't expect development to stand still... indeed, if it did, I'd be horrifically saddened. I think that you're in a distinctly unique class owing to the fact that you have mainstream distribution of a layman version Reference Manual. Distinctly! But I believe that when you published that book, you made a tacit contract to the world about the look and feel of the product. And varying from that recipe in such a grand sweep, at such an early date will weaken your position as a reliable product.
That being said, the only other glaring change I can see from the described system in the ODSLBook is the loss of the quick-mount tool. I've read many requests to bring it back and I'd like to echo them. I absolutely know that I can mount any drive I want from emelFM, but it is nowhere near as convenient as the little utility that used to sit bottom-right on the desktop.
With my respect,
PS - I'm glad that you've started a poll concerning this topic and I will vote as soon as I decide whether my vote is for 22 icons or a few less than that. If a few less, I need to understand my own reasons for not wanting them there before I can comment.