Download page missing important information for Newbies

Suggestions and comments about the ReactOS website

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dizt3mp3r
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Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:54 pm

Download page missing important information for Newbies

Post by dizt3mp3r » Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:09 am

https://www.reactos.org/download

This is a lovely page, easy to use and enticing any potential Windows/Linux user to download and install ReactOS on their hardware. It looks so professional that on first sight it gives the impression that ReactOS is a working OS. Working as in stable and usable.

That page does not anywhere make clear the current progress of ReactOS development, that it is in fact, only in Alpha stage and should never be used on real 'production' hardware. It does not make it clear that it is essential that ReactOS should only be used within a virtual machine or on less important test hardware.

This leads potential users to early disappointment, instant disillusion, annoyance and potential damage to their hardware/software...

It is perfectly normal these days for untechnical users just to download and install without reading any instructions. The proliferation of 'apps' and tablets has done nothing to improve this situation. Users will just install and find out that their partition is feckled forever... We can't accuse them of being stupid when we have made very little effort to tell them the current state of ReactOS.

It is ESSENTIAL that we change that download page.

The page MUST state the current usability of ReactOS and contain warnings of the sort:
Warning: Please bear in mind that ReactOS is still in alpha stage, meaning it is not stable or feature-complete and is not recommended for everyday use. Operating system bugs can and do result in corrupted file systems, overwritten partitions, and more. Do not install ReactOS on any computer containing important data without using a virtual machine or making full backups first.
The page must have a link to an installation guide. It currently states "What now?! If you don't know what to do with the downloaded file..." and provides a button. This is lovely and chummy and very user-friendly but it fails to convey a level of importance that the installation notes should inherit. Its chummy tone gives the impression that this is entirely an optional procedure that does not really need to be followed.

Words such as "INSTALLATION GUIDE >>> ESSENTIAL <<<" convey the importance of understanding the installation process, they are easy to understand with no ambiguity. If we place such text on the download page we cannot be accused of misleading people. Currently we could be accused of misleading potential users into thinking they can install ReactOS onto a daily-use machine.

The new website is very good, very professional, in this case it is too slick, too easy. We need to have a big HALT image to let people know they install ReactOS at their own risk. We might even add such a message on the installation too.

Forum chaps, please back me up on this, too often we receive pleas from users that don't know what they are doing, have read nothing, know nothing at all - those who have just gone ahead and run ReactOS have found that ReactOS does not work or has damaged their partition. It is time to help these poor users avoid getting into this state.

florian
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Location: Germany

Re: Download page missing important information for Newbies

Post by florian » Mon Sep 18, 2017 12:27 pm

Absolutely right.

oldman
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Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:23 pm

Re: Download page missing important information for Newbies

Post by oldman » Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:06 pm

dizt3mp3r wrote:Forum chaps, please back me up on this, too often we receive pleas from users that don't know what they are doing, have read nothing, know nothing at all - those who have just gone ahead and run ReactOS have found that ReactOS does not work or has damaged their partition. It is time to help these poor users avoid getting into this state.

I have noticed posts, where someone complains that something does not work; they have just joined, sometimes only minutes before posting and that is the last you see of them, though others here reply to their post. Makes me wonder if they are making a statement that "This operating system is rubbish", then go away disgusted!

How many more find ReactOS and think this looks great, try it and then find it does not work as they expected, then go away without posting here.

If these people give a bad account of ReactOS, that will then create a bad reputation for ReactOS, which will be hard to get rid of.
Please keep the Windows classic (9x/2000) look and feel.
The layman's guides to - debugging - bug reporting - compiling - with some complementary scripts.
They may help you with a problem, so do have a look at them.

dizt3mp3r
Posts: 1450
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:54 pm

Re: Download page missing important information for Newbies

Post by dizt3mp3r » Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:59 pm

oldman wrote: I have noticed posts, where someone complains that something does not work; they have just joined, sometimes only minutes before posting and that is the last you see of them, though others here reply to their post. Makes me wonder if they are making a statement that "This operating system is rubbish", then go away disgusted!
Agreed, we need to get a handle on these as it seems that first impressions are what matters most when it comes to the majority of people testing. They are mostly newbs to ReactOS but they think they are technically competent in other areas (they aren't). I see videos on youtube where people are stating how bad ReactOS is when they clearly have not absorbed the fact that ReactOS is in Alpha. They just don't know... that isn't their fault as the site gives the impression of ReactOS' usability by its competence and professionalism. It should not do this.

My preference would be a big "HALT" image on the download page, saying "READ THIS BEFORE PROCEEDING, IF YOU VALUE THE DATA ON YOUR PC."

oldman
Posts: 1072
Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:23 pm

Re: Download page missing important information for Newbies

Post by oldman » Mon Sep 18, 2017 4:38 pm

dizt3mp3r wrote:"READ THIS BEFORE PROCEEDING, IF YOU VALUE THE DATA ON YOUR PC."
The first part of your sentence, yes, but the second part is a bit stark and would probably put off all but the most determined, before they even read any more.

I would suggest using "CAUTION! PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE PROCEEDING" for a heading, then have some further text explaining what to expect and what not to expect and how to prevent any data loss.
Please keep the Windows classic (9x/2000) look and feel.
The layman's guides to - debugging - bug reporting - compiling - with some complementary scripts.
They may help you with a problem, so do have a look at them.

mametoc
Posts: 173
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:31 pm

Re: Download page missing important information for Newbies

Post by mametoc » Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:39 pm

@dizt3mp3r

The fake premise i see is if the unexperienced people who install Windows or GNULinux can destroy their data (or hardware) they easyly can doom any Operating system, wich isn't true as in this case or mostly computers in world dont had any OS installed, in others words, your are talking what unexperienced people dont have tried install any windows before install ReactOS?. And a tablet is not a PC computer or a smartphone.

dizt3mp3r
Posts: 1450
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:54 pm

Re: Download page missing important information for Newbies

Post by dizt3mp3r » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:01 pm

Sorry don't understand that enough to be able to reply directly.

From the gist of what I think you are saying - I suggest you didn't understand my post either.

middings
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Joined: Tue May 07, 2013 9:18 pm
Location: California, USA

Re: Download page missing important information for Newbies

Post by middings » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:40 pm

dizt3mp3r wrote:"READ THIS BEFORE PROCEEDING, IF YOU VALUE THE DATA ON YOUR PC."
Under-promise then meet what is promised. That is a good policy.

I also agree with the rest of your post, dizt3mp3r, including the part about adding a warning screen to the installation process. Some mentions of ReactOS on the web point directly to the download page. The ReactOS project can't control what others promise ReactOS can do. A warning screen shown during ReactOS installation would help match user expectations to results.

dizt3mp3r
Posts: 1450
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:54 pm

Re: Download page missing important information for Newbies

Post by dizt3mp3r » Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:48 am

Thanks Middings. I think such a change would remove a lot of user confusion.

We who frequent the forums know what state ReactOS is and it does look rather good. We just need to inform the world that its promise hasn't yet been matched by its capability. Soon, but not quite yet.

oldman
Posts: 1072
Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:23 pm

Re: Download page missing important information for Newbies

Post by oldman » Tue Sep 19, 2017 11:17 am

If this is ever to move on from talk to reality, then someone needs to contact vicmarcal or Colin Finck (but he is currently busy with the git move) for the website and hbelusca for the installation boot screen (he is working on a new installation setup).

I would suggest that some wording should be agreed and presented to one (or more) of them, so that they are more likely to then take it up and make it happen, if they have not got to think what text to include themselves, in the webpage or installation screen.
Please keep the Windows classic (9x/2000) look and feel.
The layman's guides to - debugging - bug reporting - compiling - with some complementary scripts.
They may help you with a problem, so do have a look at them.

milon
Posts: 969
Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 9:26 pm

Re: Download page missing important information for Newbies

Post by milon » Tue Sep 19, 2017 1:53 pm

I agree that the download page is easily misunderstood in its current form. There really needs to be some kind of warning text, with perhaps a link or two to a relevant forum topic. But I have no idea what the "best" wording might be.

dizt3mp3r
Posts: 1450
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:54 pm

Re: Download page missing important information for Newbies

Post by dizt3mp3r » Tue Sep 19, 2017 2:11 pm

Oldman/Milon, thanks for the response.

I'm happy to contact them and refer them to this link, we'll see what the response is. For the moment feel free to recommend some suitable text that is more diplomatic than mine and hopefully it might be deemed to be suitable.

Fraizeraust
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Re: Download page missing important information for Newbies

Post by Fraizeraust » Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:07 pm

I totally agree and I do feel your concern, dizt3mp3r. The Download page is just too vague and it gives an impression to people that ReactOS is usable and it can run any kind of Windows software which is quite the opposite. That page indeed deserves some changes.

I can't think of a very good warning text but hopefully it's enough suitable to warn people first before they get ReactOS. In case something's missing, I accept constructive criticism.

"ReactOS is an Alpha (early development) software Operating System which means it cannot be used for daily usage activity nor for productivity means. It's highly unstable and it can corrupt your sensitive/personal data to the point of being unrecoverable. For the moment, it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to try ReactOS only in a virtual machine or in any case in an old PC if you have one and that you haven't been using it for long time."

The "old PC" part is kind of tricky because some people would say "meh, a waste of time" or have thrown their old computers to trash. :P What are your opinions?

mametoc
Posts: 173
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:31 pm

Re: Download page missing important information for Newbies

Post by mametoc » Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:27 pm

dizt3mp3r wrote:Sorry don't understand that enough to be able to reply directly.

From the gist of what I think you are saying - I suggest you didn't understand my post either.
Sorry for my bad English. But I think it is not necessary to include more warnings on the page or the installation because not even Windows have it.

Fraizeraust
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Re: Download page missing important information for Newbies

Post by Fraizeraust » Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:36 pm

mametoc wrote:But I think it is not necessary to include more warnings on the page or the installation because not even Windows have it.
Windows is way more ahead in terms of stability and usability than ReactOS so your post doesn't really make sense. Furthermore, Windows is entirely out of the discussion here.

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