Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Fedora Girlfriend Test - More Linux and Unix Humor

Hey There,

This Saturday's over-sized slice of, possibly funny, Linux humour comes to use via ITKnowledgeExchange. It's actually a review of an original article entitled "Linux: The Girlfriend Test" from

The test itself is fairly self-explanatory, but it's the account of one Linux writer's test of the user-friendliness of Fedora 9 using the perfect test subject: His girlfriend :) As the review of the original article notes (and this is one of the funnier parts, in my opinion), no mention was made of how the writer fared in the "boyfriend shopping test" ;)

Hope you enjoy this, and please check out the original article (a very interesting and funny read) that's referenced in the article below and a few paragraphs above.

Enjoy your weekend :)

Fedora gets mixed review in "girlfriend test"

Everyone agrees that the Linux desktop has a lot of work ahead to transform itself from a techie obsession to the intuitive, user-friendly desktop of a Macintosh or Windows machine. Even Mark Shuttleworth, founder of the popular Ubuntu Linux desktop, blogged about the shortcoming in a recent column and vowed to close the gap.

In the meantime, however, U.K.-based recently published Linux: The Girlfriend Test, and a tough test it was indeed. The goal: to find out if a first-time Linux user, presumably a female college student, could accomplish nine familiar Windows tasks using Fedora 9, the community version of Red Hat.

Here are the tasks and how she fared on each one:

1. Bookmark a website in Firefox. No problem.

2. Write and print a letter in OpenOffice. The first part was easy but the letter wouldn’t print and no error message appeared with a reason or resolution.

3. Rip a CD. Task accomplished. But Fedora failed to identify all the output options.

4. Send an instant message. After several unsuccessful attempts, she succeeded by going to and inputting user data from her Windows Live Messenger account.

5. Create a pie chart in OpenOffice. No problem.

6. Transfer the ripped CD to her iPod. Attempt failed because of a protocol problem. Again, no error message appeared to identify or fix the difficulty.

7. Move a photo of her head onto a photo of her boyfriend’s body using Photoshop. Easy.

8. Watch a video on YouTube. Failed because Firefox was unable to install Flash player due to a malformed file. There was no work-around explanation.

9. Make an international phone call using Skype. Application installation was successful but audio playback problems prevented communication.

The writer concluded that Linux needs to do more with wizards and pop-up instructions to help new users without a technical background successfully transition from Windows or Macintosh to the Linux desktop.

I agree. But I have to say it was a pretty tough test, and the writer never mentioned how he fared in the “Boyfriend Shopping Test” that was his part of the bargain. Inquiring readers want to know.

, Mike

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