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As microcomputers become capable of running increasingly large and complex operating systems, the question of the usability of those operating systems becomes critical. Most microcomputer users neither are nor want to be systems programmers, yet most of the existing large operating systems assume the existence of a dedicated systems programming organization to install and maintain system software. This paper describes the process by which a large existing operating system was modified to allow it to be installed, configured, maintained, and used by individuals with minimal programming knowledge. We describe the aspects that had to be changed, the kinds of modifications that were required, the reasoning behind those modifications, and the priorities that constrained our activity. We also describe the development process by which potential usability problems were identified and corrections were defined, implemented, and validated.
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