Pamela Jones is the head of the now famous Groklaw computer law web site. Recently, she has decided to pick up a project that a lot of people have said is missing in the Linux world: a large-scale usability project. What makes this different isn't that it has a lot of fancy usability experts monitoring users, but it's done in the open source nature.

A Wiki will be setup with some basic tests. These include but are not limited to:

Volunteers will snag family members and friends who aren't proficient in Linux and run these tests on them. The volunteer will watch what the tester does and write down where they stumble and where they succeed. After the test is through, they will report back to the (as of yet, not setup) Wiki and describe their findings. She wants screenshots about flaws in the system and descriptions of the problem. Pamela is also willing to accept suggestions for fixes if one is thought of by the user. After a while, she will have a second web page which has official results from the Wiki. This will be edited and not publicly writable.

Inspiration for the Project

When Pamela started out on Linux, she was using Mandrake Linux. She actually said that "If it had not been for Mandrake, I probably would have given up on GNU/Linux years ago when I was starting out, but they made it so easy..."(http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20040416070435864). Unfortunately, while she found Mandrake easy to use, there were still many tasks which were quite complex. She gets a "worrying ache" in her stomach when she thinks about a world using Linux as it is today. Pamela thinks that she could install it on her mom's computer, if all she did was the basic tasks (email, internet, etc.). However, if something broke, her mom wouldn't be able to fix the problem herself without using the command line. Pamela thinks that if there is widespread testing and some UI weaknesses are discovered, that the Linux desktop could receive more attention from common users.