Re: Meta-User problems

From: Alan Horkan (
Date: Wed Apr 23 2003 - 16:08:11 EDT

  • Next message: Dom Lachowicz: "Re: Meta-User problems"

    On Wed, 23 Apr 2003, Jesse W wrote:

    > Date: Wed, 23 Apr 2003 12:36:12 -0700
    > From: Jesse W <>
    > To: abiword-dev <>
    > Subject: Meta-User problems
    > Sorry if this is better put to another list, or is otherwise inappropriate.
    > Feel free to re-post this elsewhere.

    User problems are best dealt with on the user list. If it involves
    compiling it is most definately for the developer list.

    > I am writing to alert you to various problems I have observed in the use of
    > Abiword by non-technical people(i.e. my mother) The problems are not
    > specifically technical problems, more communication and organizational
    > problems.

    You are a braver man than I, I totally wimped out and let my mother
    continue to use the software we already paid for (but she knows what will
    happen if it ever breaks or needs to be "fixed"*).

    > My mother is nearly going to quit using Abiword due to the fact that, when she
    > updated to version 1.0.4(at least, that's what it says on the About box(I don't
    > know if that's correct.)), and tried to open documents she made in Abiword
    > format before the update, they came out with odd squares at the end of most
    > lines, which could not be removed and had various other problems. This,
    > besides being irritating, caused her to totally refuse to update further, as
    > she felt that it was stupid and ridiculous to risk further problems for the
    > vague hope of fixing one caused by updating.

    Tabs. It was unpleasant and I saw it too.
    As the defacto sysadmin in this story I would be tempted to berate you for
    installing new software without testing it first (no matter how stable we
    might claim it is) but i wouldnnt do that ;P

    I upgrade my own software like a complete nutter, but I only have myself
    to blame. If I were a sysadmin I would probably be a complete sadist and
    insist on using Debian Stable or something similarly old well tested and
    patched, but for my own use it is a lot of hassle and I can empathise with
    anyone stuck being the familly sysadmin.

    > The real problem here is not the technical problem, nor even her unwillingness
    > to update, but the fact that both she and I, after looking pretty hard for
    > quite a while, could not find out how to resolve this problem of updating. The
    > "Check for Updates" item on the help menu is broken and results in incorrect
    > and contradictory info; the list of versions on the website is not clear and

    that has always been a bit of mess, and easily falls behind the current
    release. It definately needs to be removed or updated.

    > seems contradictory(although this could be fixed with some explanation of
    > stable and development releases), and there is generally insufficient

    If you are not sure then you definately need the stable release.

    > explanation of how to identify if a bug has been fixed, and what a non-
    > technical user could do about it.

    non technical users can try and identify the problem and try and
    search to see if it has already been identified but frankly that is a
    lot of hassle.
    Between releases the changelog is a good way to identify the major changes
    and fixes.

    > Regarding using Bugzilla to check if a bug has been fixed, my mother, when she
    > started using Abiword, was expecting and hopping to use Bugzilla for this
    > purpose(as well as filing bugs in it.:-), but has not been able to do so (at
    > least, not without considerable help from me.) She is not sure exactly why
    > this is so, but she says it feels "technically oriented, not for infrequent
    > use." Possibly one of the various front-ends might help.

    Bugzilla is crap, except for all the other suitable alternatives (there
    are not really any). I have grown to like it, but I would not say it was
    easy or immediately obvious. Shame that bug-buddy only runs on Gnome (or

    > Sorry for the rant; I know that all of you have done, and are doing, a lot of

    Dont be sorry, rant or dont, take responsibility. Contructive criticism
    is harder but I am sure you can contribute if you realy want to.

    I get the feeling you never read this document about what to expect from
    an open source project, there are limitations and we do our best

    > wonderful work for free, and aside from the problems addressed above, Abiword
    > works great. (I use it quite happily.) I, and my mother, are grateful for all
    > the work you have done, and offer these issues as help to allow you to be
    > aware, and hopefully improve, Abiword.

    At times like these I cheat and use whatever works, besides for the
    occasions I have to view Presentations I take the time to use another free
    cross platform Office suite, even if i do prefer Abiword for word
    processing. [massively innapropriate to talk about it here i know, but
    this is not a competition. right tool for the right job].

    > And if there is anything I can do to help, please let me know.

    Any particular skills? Art, Writing, Programming, Linguistics, Music? I
    am sure we can think of something, if you can suggest an area that
    interest you all the better. [A selection of Templates for example would
    be nice addition].


    Alan Horkan

    * Windows needs to be fixed,
    like a small puppy.

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Wed Apr 23 2003 - 16:19:32 EDT