Comment 526 for bug 532633

Ludwik Trammer (ludwik) wrote :

I hope my post doesn't violate Mark's suggestion to "only add comments to this bug if they are adding data that could guide a decision".

I just wanted to say that I work as the IT person in High School in Warsaw, Poland, which uses Ubuntu on it's computers exclusively. I just learned about this proposed change and all I know is that it would make my life much more difficult.

We've got three primary groups of users:

1. Teachers. They use school computers for printing learning materials and for last-minute research during the breaks. While teaching classes they use our laptops for presentations and showing things of the Internet. Most of them work in more then one school and use Windows at home. Time is crucial for them - not being able to accomplish a task in time might mean being late for their own class, not brining in the materials or wasting time during the class. Most of them already hate the fact that our computers don't always respond the way they expect them to, and that things are in different places they are used to. I think often they just feel lost. I can only imagine what would happen if some day the close button "disappeared". I expect having to talk to lots of annoyed people who "can't close the window".

2. School administration. There will be a lot of confusion at the beginning, and additional work for me, especially since some people working in administrative positions are on the older side, but after couple of weeks it should stabilize. Those people work with Ubuntu full time, so it's easier to change their habits.

3. Students. They are supposed to learn new things, so in their case I don't feel as bad. On the other hand I want them to have good feelings about Ubuntu, and I don't want them to be annoyed by it. Beides computer labs lessons they use school computer in a very similar fashion as teachers - they print their home-works, do some research, and menage to squeeze some Facebook in between. They also sometimes seems to feel lost in the Ubuntu interface (there are some very clear pain points, but it's a topic for another post). I have to answer the "Why don't we use Windows, like all other schools?" question couple of times a year.

For those reasons I'm very excited about usability improvements promised by Ubuntu. Unfortunately this particular change seems to go in the oposite direction I personally envisioned. I guess the main premise of my post is "Ubuntu shouldn't be only for people who installed in on their main machine, feel passionate about it and are willing to change their habits. There are also people who come to work and just want to print a school test for their students".

Some people might want to ask me: "why don't you just modify your custom install script to change this particular Ubuntu behavior?". That's a very valid question. Maybe I will. I will have to think about it if this change remains in 10.04. My previous policy was not to modify Ubuntu's UI and it's behavior. The premise was to teach students the real, original Ubuntu, to make the learning curve for people who might want to use it on their personal computers as smooth as possible.

PS: We are looking for somebody who could give or sell cheaply 9 computers and monitors to a NGO-run civic High School in Poland, for our computer lab ;) They can be second-hand, just need to run current Ubuntu smoothly. Sorry for that, but those days I tend to ask most people I meet ;) Some of our current hardware is very outdated and not in a very good shape.