[clug-talk] Video Chat?

Gustin Johnson gustin at echostar.ca
Sun Apr 5 00:37:35 PDT 2009

Hash: SHA1

John Greep wrote:
> I've been reading Alan Cooper's book: "The Inmates are Running the
> Assylum" [http://www.cooper.com/insights/books/#inmates].� If you
> haven't read it, you really need to read it soon.
I will check this out.  What I have seen and read from him in the past
is that he tends to self aggrandize, as though Visual Basic was
something to be proud of (well it is if you are writing malware and are
trying to compromise a system).

  IMO Apple is what happens when the pendulum swings to far the other
way.  You get pretty products that suffer from a multitude of security
and performance problems.  There needs to be a balance, but that seems
to be missing from most projects.

> <rant>
> Linux has a lot going for it, but when we say someone can't do something
> because they're not that technical is a huge red flag.� When developers

The problem is not real.  There is a *perception* that this is the case
with Linux, when in reality my phone rings more often for Microsoft and
Apple products gone awry.  The ratio of Windows, Mac, And Linux machines
owned by these people is not reflected in the distribution of calls that
I get.  In other words this is not about the number of machines deployed.

> are writing these apps, they should make it work out of the box.� Us

I disagree, mostly because "out of the box" is such a vague, overused,
and inaccurate phrase.  Each app has a specific context, what makes
sense for one does not necessarily make sense for another.

This is not to say that good design should not be a part of the process,
but catering to market share is not what brought us the Linux kernel,
GNU, or even Firefox.  Open Source allows for quality software to
survive the early stages by not being tied to commercial viability.

> technical types love setting configurations and tweaking, but the
> average Joe doesn't even know what "configuration setting" means.
They have to set up their email clients, or know how to log in to their
web mail.  Users need to know something to make these devices useful.
Pretending that they are complete idiots does not get us (or them)
anywhere.  Some programs are by necessity complicated, like ardour,
gimp, and blender to name a few.  Of course the commercial variants are
also complicated but these are tools for doing powerful things.  You
really can't make them too simple.

We make sure people take tests before we let them drive, why is there
such a push to neuter our most powerful tools?  Good design !=
simplicity.  Usability != simplicity.  Sometimes it is the case that
simplicity is a good thing, but as a rote formula, it fails regularly.

> Most of what I've noticed in my own use is that if there's a problem in
> Linux, it's a usually a hardware fault or incompatibility. I'll wade
> through forums and whatever documentation I can find.� As a last resort,
> I'll compile the app manually if it's required.� I love that I have that
> ability, but it prevents mainstream adoption if the user thinks they
> might have to go to the command line for anything.

No different than regedit, cmd.exe (ipconfig anyone?), .ini files and
the like.  Sometimes the command line *IS* the appropriate interface.
Even Microsoft knows this, hence they put the time and effort into
PowerShell (you can't manage Exchange 2007 without it).

> </rant>
> That said, I usually use Kopete for video.

I have used Kopete, Skype (not my choice), and Ekiga.  If your video
device is supported (if /dev/video0 exists then things are looking good)
any of these apps should work.  There will not be video for Pidgin, but
a separate project called farsight came out of the planned Pidgin video

On my machine Kopete detected and used the internal web cam with no
intervention from me.  I set up my msn account and it just worked.  She
probably has an unsupported web cam.

> John
> On Fri, Apr 3, 2009 at 8:00 PM, Shawn <sgrover at open2space.com
> <mailto:sgrover at open2space.com>> wrote:
>     If I recall, Pidgen doesn't support video chat. �Are there any other
>     decent options out there?
>     The reason I ask is that I helped a friend recently install Ubuntu
>     8.10. �She's not liking it because it has no video chat. �She says
>     she tried Kopete but it didn't work. �Sooo, I'm suspecting the
>     problem may be her camera, and not Kopete per se. �Or a user issue -
>     she's not THAT technical...
>     What does everyone use for video chatting?
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