DebianUserModels proposal >


Shall we delete those page (DebianUserModels, DebianUser, ?DebianUserFrench, ?DebianUserSpanish, ?DebianUserExpert, ?DebianUserLinuxNovice, ?DebianUserComputerNovice ) ? as this proposal has never been formalized ?


A DebianUser model is a representation of what the user class knows. It is designed to help DebianInstaller, DebConf, and DebianDesktop.

Nothing here is final, please feel free to change any part of it. I created it to provoke thought but won't have time to maintain it, so feel free to run with it. --Sulley

Proposed Models

?DebianUserComputerNovice -- New to using computers

?DebianUserLinuxNovice -- Familiarity with computers and other operating systems but is new to Linux

?DebianUserExpert -- Understands all questions which may be asked and wants control over everything that is controllable

Please take care to define as few models as reasonable because every new model increases the cost of supporting it. User models are necessarily approximations and shouldn't be expected to match any particular user.


A DebianUser model is defined to support the selection of:



Each model is composed of a vocabulary which describes representative concepts that the user understands. Example vocabularies:

The vocabulary can be used to help write configuration questions. For example, a question posed to a user model with the expert vocabulary above might read:

'Configure the network via DHCP?'

whereas the same question posed to a user model with the medium vocabulary would read:

'Configure the network automatically?'

and the novice wouldn't even be asked the question.

Configuration Attitude

The user's attitude is a philosophy to guide how things (packages, the OS) gets configured. Examples:


2003/04/23 10:30 UTC (via web):

I'll just make this remark : a user can be at different skill levels at the same time but for different programs. By example, I fairly master hardware terms, but I don't understand what "DHCP" and "IMAP" does mean ! Such debate has been summarized very well on kde-usability project : The solution is to let users select their major level, but let them still have access to every level of control where it is convenient to do so. Example : during packages installation through apt-get's graphical frontend, the question should follow the major level of the user, while in the Control Panel of their window manager, they should have access to configuration pages like medium and expert, even if they are novice.

Moreover, there should be a way to change at run-time the current level during the installation. By example, someone wants to configure its network in expert mode, and the partitioning to be managed automatically !

Finally, IMHO, what is a good thing in a well known proprietary OS installer, is the fact that the user knows at each moment what is the task list for the installation and where he is currently. It is an example of thing that some people can forget as they already know how the installation process will be, as expert doesn't mean Debian expert... So, I propose that the Debian Installer give this kind of feedback to the user whatever its level is.

2003/04/26 (via web):

Along these lines I was wondering how it would be to offer a "tutorial" option to the install, that attempts to teach a user about the different options, with very verbose explanations of what disk partitioning is and the various options, etc. Maybe this could be part of the regular "help" stuff. "help" would give you a brief explanation of the current step or concept, and "serious help" would take you into a full explanation. The goal would be that the installer would teach you most of the things you need to know as you go.

If anyone things this is a good idea, or could use help writing/editing any of the current explanations in the installer, I'd love to help where I can. kris at. k--b dot. org

Thank you all for your work on Debian GNU/Linux!