Formalize advice for good practices by Mint Team

  12 years ago

Many ideas are suggesting to add some important tools, like Conky, TrueCrypt and other tools.

Many of us are used to some practices, a knowledge earned after long time using computers. Much of it is well known by IT professionals, but the average user only realizes the need of:

separate home folder / dedicated partition scheme;
data encryption;
personal data backup;
security updates;
etc, etc.

after some very bad mistakes, most of times.

My idea does not propose the creation of a given app, or the introduction of a certain feature. It is more of a PRINCIPLE: take the opportunity of providing an operational system to some person to EDUCATE this person on proper use of the computer, be it for entertainment, work, or whatever.

Mint Team is already doing a good job advising people not to do the apt-upgrade, to checksum the isos and burn them slowly, to back up personal data, and so on. If this principle is implemented intentionally in various aspects of the system, I think Mint's userbase and the distro itself will gain a lot.
Latest comments
RayWoods 10 years ago

Perhaps a list of best practices sould be included with the Guides and for that, I will put this in the considered pile.

New > Considered

Gurman 11 years ago

Very good and necessary idea!
But for some reason not obvious to many experienced Linux users and developers.

justin 12 years ago

I understand a bit more now.

A well-written user guide explaining best practices for certain items with wisdom and anecdotes would fare much better imho than interjecting notifications into the system.

The same people who won't read the user guides are the same people who likely will dismiss notifications. :-) Again it also comes back to what I said earlier - we can't force people to read or follow best practices. I have a whole slew (see, probably more than 10) stories about people doing chmod 777 to entire directories recursively because one thing wasn't working. We can say all we want, but we can't force best practices, and even in a Windows world this is true to the user. :-)

heltonbiker 12 years ago

I beg your excuses if my point is too "ethereal", but I know it is indeed. It is hard to suggest improvements over such high level "design principles", but I think the fact of being complicated does not mean it should not be done.

After being Windoze user for many years, I changed to Mint and was surprised how transparent the system intends to be for the user. If one gets minimally involved, the tutorials and even the available apps somewhat "induce" you to do right things: there's a MintBackup already installed, an indication that backup is a thing I should consider doing.
There's a non-obtrusive update manager, an indication that updates are considered important by the "manufacturers" of the system.

Let's think of a complete newbie, a person who has never used a computer before, or something near that. If the few "in front of your eyes" desktop/menu elements offered by a fresh install suggest to this user that the manufacturer thinks those very elements are worth checking out, the user will give them some importance.

If Microsoft tells me I have to defrag my harddrives, I'll think that is an important thing. If MS tells me an antivirus is necessary, I'll consider installing one.

If Mint (for example) told me to have a separate home folder, or to backup my personal data, or to consider setting up a firewall or a data encryption protocol, or whatever could do good to me, it would be good. These could be things I could have not thought of, but I would like to make if I knew they were available or advisable.

It is much like arriving at a shop and asking something. A gentle seller could tell the customer of promotions, better products by a similar price, etc. I surely should have the right to buy the things I want (not the things he wants me to buy), but I surely would not like to miss the opportunity to do positive things because I was not told by the people who had the knowledge ("why didn't anybody tell me of that earlier???").

I hope I made my point :o)

remoulder 12 years ago

If what you are proposing is carried out, you would probably end up with lots of hand-holding type wizards and pop-up "help" screens, both of which annoy the hell out of most users who then look for ways to turn them off. Unfortunately, there is no one "proper" way to use a computer - every user's needs and ways of doing things are different. Trying to "educate" people into thinking and acting in a particular way is always going to fail. It has been shown I believe that people actually learn more by making mistakes than by being shown how to do things.

Lopau 12 years ago

I'm not sure if I can understand you. Can you give some examples of the implementation of your idea?

justin 12 years ago

This has always been our goal - IRC or forums has always strived for the best advice. We have our pieces, we can't force people to listen to it.

Mistakes are part of learning - that is why we do try to emphasize best practice.

I'm not sure what exactly you are asking anyway, Mint team interjecting wisdom into applications? I don't understand the implementation of this "principle."

thx1138 12 years ago

Much information is around. Some in forum posts you have to search for, some in the wiki that's not that very uptodate, some in (throw in what you like: blog/planet, other ubuntu related sites, ANY linux related site). The lack of putting so much knowledge into shape is incomprehensible.