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The World Has Changed, But We Forgot To - Keynote at Desktop Linux Summit Conference (23 Apr 2004)
We can do better. We have to make the usability of Linux as good as the rest of its admirable qualities. And we have a moral imperative to do better, or at least I think we should take it as a moral imperative to make life as smooth and unfrustrating for the people who will use the results of our work as we can. Then, too, we live in a world that will occasionally reward financially those so bold as to make the advantages of computers much more accessible and productive.

It is too easy to lose sight of what we build systems for -- to solve problems for people, to help us do tasks we could not do readily or at all without our technology. Users usually have no interest in the computers themselves. The computer's innards, methods, or the ownership of the intellectual property embodied in their parts and software are of at most academic interest. For users, it doesn't matter if it's "Intel Inside" or rows of well-trained micro-pigeons pushing the bits around. And users don't care if it's Linux, Windows, or OSX underneath, either. The differences they see are in the interface, not the OS. We dream that Linux will help make computer systems less expensive, more reliable, and more readily programmed to do what users need, but in current practice the advantages of Linux an end-user can see are nearly negligible.
Article URL: http://jef.raskincenter.org/the/linux_keynote.html

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