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Is Gnome targeting to OEMs with Initial Setup?

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The reasons for the inability of Linux to succeed on the desktop market are pretty much known, but what if ..? What if Linux was more polished?

Gnome with the Initial Setup brings an easy, pretty way of “Getting Things Started” to the new user. While many people will consider this feature as an unnecessary detail, it might be the most “user-friendly” feature of what Linux Desktop has to offer, along with Ubuntu Software Center.

Initial Setup is a quick guide that helps the user to start with the system, picking a username and a password,  connect to the network, setup his regional preferences and manage his keyboard layouts. Initial Setup also enables newcomers from other Operating Systems to discover features that would hardly known as the Online Accounts.

This feature is scheduled for Gnome 3.6 but postpone for the version after is not an excluded possibility. These are the latest Mockups as they arrived in 13/06 (I couldn’t find better quality) but as it is work in progress changes are likely to come.

Initial Setup comes the same time that Fedora discuss to update their Anaconda installation manager as it looks old and insufficient for the modern needs. Fedora and Gnome are close each other projects so my best guess is that Initial Setup will surely affect Anaconda and vice versa. Besides Initial Setup steals some of the responsibilities of Anaconda and it is sure that both projects will arrive at the same time in Fedora 18 or Fedora 19.

Few weeks ago we had awesome news that Mint and Sabayon will acquire their own OEM hardware, and some months before we had the KDE Spark (has a new name I think now) Tablet release, that it had enormous success according to its distributors.

No doubt that OEMs road is wide open for Linux and no far away it might hit on major hardware distributors. Initial Setup is one more important step towards to commercial market with the blessing of mother Red Hat, that has been threatened from Ubuntu’s success in Desktop.

In last I want to refer Mageia that is a distro which seems also to target on commercial market and it ships the upstream Gnome (and KDE ofc!). We will try to have an interview from them and a full review of Mageia -that rocks- is coming here..




Something’s changing in Linux Desktop, isn’t it? For now join the tour :)





For the Geeks in you I reprint the reasons why the developers didn’t include this functionality in installer

Why not the installer?

The goal of the installer is to efficiently and safely deliver the product. It is a vehicle not a destination. We should make that trip as brief and as painless as possible. There are many reasons why it is desirable or advantageous to set up the system for the user at the time of first use and not during the install or delivery stage:

  • Reduce the stress of transition by restricting interaction in the foreign installation mode
  • Get on with it – once the decision has been made to install a new OS don’t spend any more time than necessary in intermediate modes
  • Support OEM or third-party installations
  • Defer decision making

The main thing a user should be making a decision about is where to put the bits. Any other decision is premature.

  • Questions asked during the install often presume knowledge of the resulting system – which is often incorrect
  • Decision making should be linked to a way to change decisions if possible
  • Simplify the mental model of the installation task
  • Avoid performing risky, complex tasks (and code) during critical writes to disk
  • Allow the user to perform fire and forget or unattended installs (click install, walk away, come back, use)
  • Reduce amount of code in the installer since it is rarely or never updated
  • Streamline the first time use experience
  • Avoid having to leave a system installed with either a default password or unlocked account (if the user account is created by another person during the installation)
  • Avoid the need to manually login to the system the first time (when you’ve just created the user account before arriving at the login screen)
  • Use exactly the same tools and visual experience as the resulting OS
  • Introduce the user to the newly available experience
  • Support performing installation from within different or incompatible OS versions
  • Avoid mismatch of goals between fast install and interactive setup

If writing to disk is fast then it is too fast for asking questions
If writing to disk is very slow then it is too long to expect the user to sit around and answer questions

* I am aware that Gnome has bigger issues than Initial Setup :)

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