Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 28th Nov 2006 13:52 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces The OLPC's interface is simply way too complicated. I just read through the human interface guidelines for the project; and by god, I got lost after only a few paragraphs. How are kids supposed to learn all this? Read on for my thoughts.
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Kids Aren't Stupid.
by Fusion on Tue 28th Nov 2006 14:04 UTC
Fusion
Member since:
2005-07-18

In all honesty, kids can learn UI's much easier/quicker than adults. I mean hell... all of us learned the cryptic DOS/UNIX shell commands as a kid. Kids today have it easy! =)

Reply Score: 5

RE: Kids Aren't Stupid.
by Karitku on Tue 28th Nov 2006 18:01 UTC in reply to "Kids Aren't Stupid."
Karitku Member since:
2006-01-12

So why they make interface for stupid then??? I mean OLPC looks in pictures as horrible as BoB(Microsofts kids UI). Kids dont want have kids stuff, they want same stuff and adults. Underestimating kids learning skill by making interface like OLPC is just gonna keep them away from it. Let them have Windows-type system not some dump kids only UI.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Kids Aren't Stupid.
by Xaero_Vincent on Tue 28th Nov 2006 19:30 UTC in reply to "Kids Aren't Stupid."
Xaero_Vincent Member since:
2006-08-18

We shouldn't assume these kids are incapable of using a standard interface. I'd argue that they are just as capable of learning how to use a functional computer as kids in developing countries. The proposed "Sugar" interface is both aesthetically and functionally displeasing.

The $100 laptops have demonstrated they can handle the full-featured Fedora Core operating system. So why not give them the real deal?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Kids Aren't Stupid.
by de_wizze on Wed 29th Nov 2006 00:13 UTC in reply to "Kids Aren't Stupid."
de_wizze Member since:
2005-10-31

That's unless you don't want them to learn about computers. It's like the difference between action figures and figurine.

Reply Score: 1

That closing line seems to sum you up:
by gnarly on Tue 28th Nov 2006 14:21 UTC
gnarly
Member since:
2006-10-11

"Why do things the hard way when they can be done just as effectively the easy way?"

Nah, we won't try something new. We'll cop out and use an existing paradigm that isn't necessarily as well suited as a teaching aid instead. Yeah!

Reply Score: 4

BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

That's a silly position to take, as the children who end up using these laptops will be trained in an entirely different UI then the reast of the world, and then when they get older, and less flexible, they may have problems adadpting to the way everybody else does things

Reply Score: 1

ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

Yea, it's totally stupid. Just cause these kids are poor doesn't make them stupid.

This is exactly what I was afraid OLPC would have been if it'd run on Windows: A crippled platform that only allows people to learn its own paradigms and not useful things in using other software (the software of the future).

If you give the kids a box, some cds, and reading material in their language they'll figure it out. They're not stupid. Heck, they might even do it without the reading materials if you explain typing and that the cd contains information for the computer to use.

Reply Score: 1

markjensen Member since:
2005-07-26

That's a silly position to take, as the children who end up using these laptops will be trained in an entirely different UI then the reast of the world, and then when they get older, and less flexible, they may have problems adadpting to the way everybody else does things

If the point of these units was to teach kids to use Windows, I would agree with you. In fact, the purpose of computers in schools (my kids vary in age from preschool to middle school) is not to teach them to use "computers", but to teach them. Period.

Computers are a tool to learn other concepts. These should be easy for the kids to use in the environment they will be using. And it looks like they are relying on the peer-to-peer "mesh" network to collaborate and share learning experience in the classroom. A traditional "desktop" metaphor is clumsy at that. Well, certainly more clumsy than this UI seems to be. Sugar seems to be (besides very different for our older [fossilized?] brains) well-suited for a collaborative learning experience of the mesh network. Kids are grouped by friends (learning partners) and by task (assignment).

Just because it is very different, and the technical description makes my brain think about this in unfamiliar (hence, uncomfortable) ways does not mean that this is a "bad" UI.

Different paradigms require different solutions.


Edited for incorrect closing of formatting tools. Oops.

Edited 2006-11-28 18:04

Reply Score: 5

angryrobot Member since:
2006-04-26

Here here! Why does this seem to be lost on so many posters? Clearly they are designing something that not only has technical limitations, but they are designing it for children who may have never even used a computer before. Why shackle them to a UI that even experts agree is flawed? Let them use the device for what it's intended, not to further propagate some company's monopoly or some poster's idea of what the best desktop UI is.

Reply Score: 5

BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

Because whatever OS they move onto after that will use the "normal" pardigm, Gnome, KDE, Windows, OS X, whatever, and they'll fall behind other people in trying to do thier tasks/jobs/assignments until they catch up. Instead of shackling them to a UI that is flawed, you are creating a class of people who don't understand the current and highly relevant UI. It seems like it is designed to hold the target audience back, not help them move ahead

Reply Score: 2

dcbw Member since:
2006-08-31

Again, what presumes that Gnome, KDE, Windows, and OS X are God's Gift to Earth and that they are the only "right" way to go? You seem to presume a linear progression that always ends up at Windows/etc as the only possible endpoint. As for "help them move ahead" is pretty much bigotry, presuming that what you've got offers so much more value to everybody that anything that's _not_ like what you've got is useless. There are other ways of doing things. And it's not outlandish to presume that because 10 million kids might grow up using something _other_ than Windows, that they also might spend their adult lives using something _other_ than Windows.

Furthermore, the task here is not to teach them Windows or teach them a "normal"/"western"-derived computing paradigm. It's not to prepare children to grow up and work in a call center (which many times use just web apps anyway). It's to _teach_ them, period. But not about WIMP, that's shortsighted. To teach literacy, mathematics, culture, language, communication, etc.

Reply Score: 4

BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

"Again, what presumes that Gnome, KDE, Windows, and OS X are God's Gift to Earth and that they are the only "right" way to go"

Are you thick? I did not say they are the right way to go, I said they are using the most prevalent UI paradigm. Regardless of the flaws, Gnome/KDE/Windows/OS X use the same basic design, and that design is used by the VAST majority of computer interfaces on the planet. Therefore, by forcing a different UI convention on the target group for this laptop, they will grow up using a different paradigm then the other 99.9% of the world, and that would leave them at a disadvantage.

" As for "help them move ahead" is pretty much bigotry, presuming that what you've got offers so much more value to everybody that anything that's _not_ like what you've got is useless"

WTF? It's not bigotry, it's common sense, I want everybody to succeed, so the playing field should be level for EVERYBODY, regardless of the flaws, the current UI design is what everybody uses, and if they have to relearn how to use a GUI, because they were used as guinea pigs to test a new UI design, then they lose, compared to the rest of the world, as they will have to take time to get to speed on the conventions the rest of the world uses. It's not bigotry, it's the opposite.

"Furthermore, the task here is not to teach them Windows or teach them a "normal"/"western"-derived computing paradigm. It's not to prepare children to grow up and work in a call center (which many times use just web apps anyway). It's to _teach_ them, period. But not about WIMP, that's shortsighted. To teach literacy, mathematics, culture, language, communication, etc"

Considering computer skills are very important for kids today to learn, that entire paragraph is useless. They have to learn to use a computer, as well as learn to do math, learn geography, chemistry, what have you. To not to teach them to use standard GUI interfaces is shortsighted, if something better comes along, it should be available by choice, not fiat.

Reply Score: 1

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Which is more important:
- knowing what a Start button is, what a taskbar is, what that annoying little popup bubble means, knowing that WIN+E brings up Explorer, WIN+R brings up Run, etc

- knowing how to explore an interface to see how it works, knowing what an application is and the various ways to start them, knowing how to find information (help system, manuals, etc)

IOW, which is more important: learning a specific application, or learning how to learn?

The problem with a lot of things "educational" is that they teach specific applications, specific interfaces, specific OSes as "that is what the world uses". Instead, they should be teaching concepts that can be applied to multiple situations (ie: how to properly format a document, not where the bold button is on the MS Word toolbar). We are supposed to be preparing our kids to think for themselves, to learn for themselves, to be imaginative. We are not supposed to be turning them into drones that can't do anything without a script.

Kids can do / learn a lot more than we give them credit for. Let's not artificially hobble them more than we already do.

Reply Score: 2

Earl Colby pottinger Member since:
2005-07-06

>IOW, which is more important: learning a specific application, or learning how to learn?

Teaching to learn, Teaching to learn and I repeat again Teaching to learn.

I learnt the basics of spreadsheets on Visicalc, and had no problems learning to use 123, CompuCalc, Excel, and any of a dozen more spread-sheets thru the years. I even remember teaching a friend how to use the spread-sheet program for his computer and I had never seen or heard of it before I walked into his apartment. Today, the average Excel user is lost if you put they in front of another spread-sheet because they did not learn how to use spread-sheets, they learnt how to use Excel only!

I have seen the same with Word vs wordprocessing programs.

People who can't use more than one type of paint program (tends to be less of a problem with graphic artists who already usually need to use more than one paint/illustration program from day one).

Teach the kids the basics of computers and they will learn the rest on their own - just give them good, complete reference material (The source is a good start).

And as been pointed out, the purpose of these machines is not really to teach about computers but to give access to the vast amounts of knowledge that can be stored/accessed by them. Any machine by itself can easily store 30-100 books and with the mesh network thousands of books can be online in a large village without even any outside internet access. With even a single server with DVD drives or the new x00*GB hard drives entire libraries can be made available.

I have not forgotten what it was like to find information without the internet - I had a number regular walking routes that lead me to 5 public libraries, 6 schools that let me use their libraries, one college, and one private library. Often I still could not find what I wanted and if I did only one library had a copy.

These computers are to help kids learn about any subject these can learn about.

Edited 2006-11-30 06:52

Reply Score: 1

BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

"OW, which is more important: learning a specific application, or learning how to learn?"

Learning how to use a computer the same way everybody else does, while learning how to learn, kills two birds with one UI. I am not talking about Windows, all major GUIs use the same design.

If when these kids grow up, and forced to give up thier OLPC for the computers at work, they will be at a disadvantage compared to the people who know how to use the standard GUIs. It's that simple. and when this happens, they will be young adults, not children

Reply Score: 1

Mixed.
by Adam S on Tue 28th Nov 2006 14:23 UTC
Adam S
Member since:
2005-04-01

I admire the IDEA of Sugar - to rethink the tired old interface - but I don't really "get it" yet. It doesn't have a metaphorical foundation to build upon.

I tend to think icons organized on the screen (like a crowded desktop) are the way to go, and "minimizing" to *somewhere* on the screen is the most logical way to manage multiple windows. This is a fairly simple way to present a familiar feeling and not completely foreign interface.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Mixed.
by Kantian on Tue 28th Nov 2006 20:29 UTC in reply to "Mixed."
Kantian Member since:
2006-04-03

"I tend to think icons organized on the screen (like a crowded desktop) are the way to go, and "minimizing" to *somewhere* on the screen is the most logical way to manage multiple windows. This is a fairly simple way to present a familiar feeling and not completely foreign interface."

Yes but this is because this is what we have today that we think this way. We assume that what we have is the best, efficient and most suitable way of organizing.

They aren't trying to present a familiar feel! Not in the slightest. They are creating an intuitive, education-oriented GUI that will be quick to learn and quick to allow full exploration of the device.

New things are always hard on those used to the old.

and also, I don't think that kids are going to be reading through these huge purpose-oriented docs.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Mixed.
by Adam S on Tue 28th Nov 2006 20:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Mixed."
Adam S Member since:
2005-04-01

For the record, new does not equal better. Just because they are thinking outside the box doesn't mean the new interface is any better or more advanced than the desktop paradigm.

Frankly, I don't see the new interface as "intuitive" AT ALL, and please don't think it's because I'm too stupid to understand that I've been trained on an existing metaphor and it's not my first instinct is too look for like-minded organization. I don't see Sugar as superior, because I don't think anything about it appears to be decipherable without guidelines.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Mixed.
by hobgoblin on Tue 28th Nov 2006 21:36 UTC in reply to "Mixed."
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

i would much rather see the different "apps" sorted as buttons or tabs, with the desktop being one of them. that way you do not have to minimize all running apps to access the desktop.

but most of all i would like said "tabs" to be task tabs, where in each tab one is working on one specific file or similar object. one object, one tab.

at times you may want to align two tabs side by side to visually compare or reference one while working on the other. this should be allowed. but no free floating windows (one problem here can be the im programs, not for the individual contact communications, but for selecting who to contact).

and if a "app" have to ask the user a question, the question should be attached to the inside of said tab (i kinda like the way firefox and IE does it with the question/warning bar for popups). and if this happens while a tab do not have focus, it should not steal focus, ever.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Mixed.
by Ronald Vos on Tue 28th Nov 2006 22:29 UTC in reply to "Mixed."
Ronald Vos Member since:
2005-07-06

I admire the IDEA of Sugar - to rethink the tired old interface - but I don't really "get it" yet. It doesn't have a metaphorical foundation to build upon.

I believe the idea behind SUGAR is an interface centered around activities, just like Don Norman advocates:
http://www.jnd.org/dn.mss/human-centered.html

It makes a lot of sense; desktops nowadays focus on discoverability of the controls, which is a good thing in and of itself. However, discoverability of the theoretical model behind the activity sometimes gets obscured, and workflow suffers as a result. And if I read the guidelines, they have the latter in mind, and if I read Thom's rant, he says discoverability of the tools isn't that important.

So no point of contention there actually ;)

Reply Score: 1

Watched the demo
by scblock on Tue 28th Nov 2006 14:25 UTC
scblock
Member since:
2006-01-29

And it does look far too complicated. Closing an application (or task, or whatever it is called) is incredibly non-obvious, and the forced full-screen is fairly inflexible.

Reply Score: 5

Rather cool
by Sphinx on Tue 28th Nov 2006 14:26 UTC
Sphinx
Member since:
2005-07-09

Hefty on the jargon but anybody who tries to put the old desktop metaphor to sleep should get all the running room they require, good effort.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Rather cool
by dylansmrjones on Tue 28th Nov 2006 14:33 UTC in reply to "Rather cool"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Considering the desktop metaphor is still in it's infancy I'd say burying it is way too soon. Most people make the mistake to judge the desktop metaphor based on the poor insufficient implementations in Windows, OS X, Gnome and KDE.

All of these DE are missing essential elements of the desktop metaphor, elements available in AmigaOS 1.0, OS/2 2.x and in BeOS.

The desktop metaphor is good. It's the main stream implementations that suck.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Rather cool
by SomeGuy on Tue 28th Nov 2006 15:05 UTC in reply to "RE: Rather cool"
SomeGuy Member since:
2006-03-20

All of these DE are missing essential elements of the desktop metaphor, elements available in AmigaOS 1.0, OS/2 2.x and in BeOS.

Which elements are these, exactly?

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Rather cool
by dylansmrjones on Tue 28th Nov 2006 16:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Rather cool"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Oh well... Here's a small list. Mind you that some of these have been fixed in Vista or OS X or Gnome/KDE. But there is still a long way to go. At least they have all understood the importance and relevance of indexing in the Desktop metaphor.

* Proper drag'n'drop printing for one (why does the office suite start when I drag a document to the printer? The Print Manager should just load a "Document Parser" plugin and print the document with no further crap).

* True system wide plugins with clearly defined interface (think translators, available in BeOS/Haiku, Syllable, SkyOS, and datatypes in AmigaOS, MorphOS, AROS).

* natively supported extensibility in all applications (not unlike REXX in OS/2 and AREXX in AmigaOS).

* Extensive usage of File Manager to handle tasks (think template creation and usage in OS/2, Gnome has such a support but it's actually hidden away *sigh*).

* Extensive use of drag'n'drop, drop, point'n'click operations (think font changing or color changing of a window in OS/2).


Firefox and Outlook Express (earlier than v.7 (Windows Mail)) are two good examples of anti-Desktop applications, one might add in Thunderbird, Microsoft Office and OpenOffice (most office suites are generally anti-desktop, due to main stream OS'es having insufficient frameworks in earlier version, requiring the applications to handle OS-tasks).

OTOH, the usage of individual files as internet shortcuts (favorites in Windows) is a good desktop-true solution.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Rather cool
by Earl Colby pottinger on Tue 28th Nov 2006 19:38 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Rather cool"
Earl Colby pottinger Member since:
2005-07-06

* Proper drag'n'drop printing:

Had that with JazzBench on my Amiga 1000 and 4000. While of limited use without the full print/format code of the original creation program, it sure made things easy when you needed a code dump or a printout of an interesting text message.

* True system wide plugins (datatypes):

Using in BeOS today, Amiga in the past. I can't stand using OSes without datatypes. I like that once a datatype is install *ALL* programs that use that data can now understand it. It is just plain weird using a computer to save a file in one format only to find another program on the same computer can't read that format.

* natively supported extensibility:

Never learned AREXX, used lots of AREXX scripts, the biggest failing of BeOS was not coming with REXX - BASH is no REXX. Worse even the 'HEY' utility is not shipped with BeOS thus limiting the power of scripts. I know lots of people swear by Ruby but whatever the choice all OSes should ship with a scripting language from day one.

* Extensive usage of File Manager:

Do you mean like ClickDOS? If so, then yes!

There are still others, BeOS add-ons seem be very well design. And OpenTracker's find function is way better than Window's. (I have not use OS X lately to compare.)

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Rather cool
by dylansmrjones on Tue 28th Nov 2006 19:42 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Rather cool"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

I'm aware these elements are in either AmigaOS, BeOS and OS/2, or in all of them. The problem is that the elements are missing from the mainstream OS'es, which is why it is unreasonable to bash the Desktop metaphor, when one should actually bash the mainstream OS'es desktop implementations.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Rather cool
by Earl Colby pottinger on Tue 28th Nov 2006 20:42 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Rather cool"
Earl Colby pottinger Member since:
2005-07-06

My fault, I was not clear.

I was just backing up the statement that these features really exist/ed (and they are not just paper design ideas) and that in using them I found them very useful.

There have been many other bright ideas that have been a real mess on the other-hand (can anyone say paperclip?).

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Rather cool
by dylansmrjones on Wed 29th Nov 2006 13:19 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Rather cool"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Aah, that makes it much clearer.

And that paperclip? It's a good idea implemented badly, very badly. Luckily he can be uninstalled ;)

Reply Score: 0

Screen
by deadmeat on Tue 28th Nov 2006 14:28 UTC
deadmeat
Member since:
2006-08-04

Was this done because of the fancy new screen technology in use?

I saw some of the screenshots and wondered what was up. I assumed it was something to do with the low power screen they developed for this thing. Was the desktop just an idealogical exercise?

Reply Score: 1

Palm
by brewmastre on Tue 28th Nov 2006 14:47 UTC
brewmastre
Member since:
2006-08-01

When I watched that video, it made me think of an overcomplicated version of an old Palm Pilot, which truly is not the way to go. Giving kids a standard flexible desktop is the only way that they will be able to get up to par with the rest of the world, and in some case they will probably surpass many of us ;)
The other issue that I have is that these OLPC laptops have very limited screen real estate, so the idea of throwing big bulky borders and icons around the screen seams as though it may be counterproductive.

Reply Score: 4

I would read that article
by Ford Prefect on Tue 28th Nov 2006 14:48 UTC
Ford Prefect
Member since:
2006-01-16

... but the adword linkage makes it no fun to read it anymore to me.


Esp., because they are 200% of the size of the rest of the text. Really annoying!

Reply Score: 1

RE: I would read that article
by shiny on Tue 28th Nov 2006 15:09 UTC in reply to "I would read that article"
shiny Member since:
2005-08-09

Adblock is your friend. ;)
https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/10/

Reply Score: 1

yoursecretninja
Member since:
2006-01-02

This interface is certainly - different. However, it is hard for me to judge its effectiveness given that I'm an experienced user of the conventional desktop. That is the paradigm in which I am currently trapped, and thus compare computer interfaces to. How do I know that this interface wouldn't be second nature to someone who has never used a computer before?

Reply Score: 5

omygod
by antik on Tue 28th Nov 2006 14:53 UTC
antik
Member since:
2006-05-19

I looked at this sugar "masterpiece" and think that if you expect that children who may use it are idiots who don't know how to work with menus then you can jerk off and quit computer business and never look back. Dumb down every application and then leave unbelievable lame design of GTK file open/close dialog... this is beyond me (maybe I am idiot too?).

I am not surprised that Thailand Government sent this project into /dev/null...

Reply Score: 2

RE: omygod
by grfgguvf on Wed 29th Nov 2006 06:50 UTC in reply to "omygod"
grfgguvf Member since:
2006-09-25

Actually Thailand is far from OLPC's "Third World" target, because of the vicinity to Taiwan commercially available $150 laptops might not even be that far in Thai stores.

That said, it's still prohibitively expensive. $5 should be the target if they are really talking "Third World". Of course some governments can surely be corrupted into buying a few million of these MIT laptops for $100.

But if you consider $100 in the "Third World" is food for 10 people for a whole year, I very much doubt any government has the budget for it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: omygod
by Johann Chua on Sat 2nd Dec 2006 06:30 UTC in reply to "RE: omygod"
Johann Chua Member since:
2005-07-22

They're not exactly peddling the OLPC machines to destitute countries, you know. Food, water, and medicine obviously come first.

Reply Score: 1

Sorry but...
by @@__@@ on Tue 28th Nov 2006 14:57 UTC
@@__@@
Member since:
2005-07-29

I think this UI might be very successful. I think the kids will love it. The key thing here seems to be using icons without text because of the inherent internationalization of the project itself. Seems like a very wise implementation to me.

If everybody thought "if it ain't broken don't fix it" we'de still be using rocks and knifes untill now... Thinking different and being Bold is something we should encourage, not put down.

So, I think Thom and the other girl (forgot the name) are pretty WRONG in their squared assumptions. As almost always...

Reply Score: 5

RE: Sorry but...
by unoengborg on Tue 28th Nov 2006 18:37 UTC in reply to "Sorry but..."
unoengborg Member since:
2005-07-06

The key thing here seems to be using icons without text because of the inherent internationalization of the project itself. Seems like a very wise implementation to me.

Just because, there is no text doesn't mean you will not have internationalization issues. An image may mean different things to different cultures. Colors may be interpreted differently (e.g. black & white for sorrow).

Even though some icons most likely will be understood everywhere, the job of translate the few ones that are not universal may turn out to be just as much job as translating text.

So, my guess is that their use of icons have more to do with the fact that some of the potential users will not yet have learned to write and read, than to lower the costs for translations.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Sorry but...
by PowerMacX on Tue 28th Nov 2006 18:38 UTC in reply to "Sorry but..."
PowerMacX Member since:
2005-11-06

I think this UI might be very successful. I think the kids will love it. The key thing here seems to be using icons without text because of the inherent internationalization of the project itself. Seems like a very wise implementation to me.

I'm sorry but I strongly disagree - I think the exact opposite will happen, "mystery meat navigation" is simply annoying:
http://www.webpagesthatsuck.com/mysterymeatnavigation.html

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Sorry but...
by cyclops on Tue 28th Nov 2006 18:55 UTC in reply to "RE: Sorry but..."
cyclops Member since:
2006-03-12

"I'm sorry but I strongly disagree - I think the exact opposite will happen, "mystery meat navigation" is simply annoying:
http://www.webpagesthatsuck.com/mysterymeatnavigation.html"

I agree 100%, although what is the relevance, to a single web site amongst millions creating a new standard, to a unified interface across multiple applications.

BTW its not a web site, and conventions for web sites have actually evolved quite rapidly, because it has the potential for such a flexible UI.

Reply Score: 1

Interfaces for schools
by Mr_Impossible on Tue 28th Nov 2006 15:07 UTC
Mr_Impossible
Member since:
2006-09-13

It's a shame they haven't taken some cues from the UI of RISC OS. These computers have a desktop that is simple, efficient and effective to use.

It has been used by literally millions of school kids of all ages in the past (as they used to be the de-facto educational standard in UK schools), works well on low resolution displays and it still fast and efficient to use for adults.

In fact RISC OS computers would have been ideally suited to provide the basis for this project as they consume very little power, boot from ROM and can use flash for storage. They also come with a suite of basic applications built in and have a large selection of existing educational software.

One company did actually start producing machines for Third World schools that were solar powered and came in locally built rugged wooden cases:-

http://www.explan.co.uk/solo/index.shtml

I don't know what became of that project though.....

Reply Score: 1

Full Screen
by amilcarodonte on Tue 28th Nov 2006 15:10 UTC
amilcarodonte
Member since:
2006-02-07

I actually don't dislike the idea of rethinking the interface. 99% of the time I use my applications full screen, especially in my 12-inch laptop display. I hate spending so much time moving windows around, trying to get the window size "right," etc. I also like the frame (activated by going to the corners), that seems much the way I actually have my interface set up. I realize it does have its problems but it's good when screens are small. And I can see using this interface without a mouse. Having the support of the MIT I guess they are doing a lot of research on usability.

I agree with Thom, though, that getting a leaner gnome should be a priority for the project and a great contribution for the community as a whole.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Full Screen
by Daniel Borgmann on Tue 28th Nov 2006 17:01 UTC in reply to "Full Screen"
Daniel Borgmann Member since:
2005-07-08

I actually don't dislike the idea of rethinking the interface. 99% of the time I use my applications full screen, especially in my 12-inch laptop display.

I think that is a very important point. Most users on small laptop screens seem to prefer maximised windows anyway, so I don't see how a traditional desktop environment could be superior in any possible way. I see Sugar not so much as an attempt to provide a "dumbed down" interface for children, but an attempt to get the maximum out of the capabilities of the hardware (while at the same time providing an interface that is ideally suited to the situation those kids are in).

Thos, you describe in great detail that kids aren't idiots and well capable of learning computer interfaces, yet in the beginning of the article you question just that! I can't really follow that logic.

Neither do I believe that anyone growing up using an OLPC computer would have any trouble switching to another interface concept. Moving windows and clicking desktop icons isn't rocket science after all. The complexity lies in the actual capabilities and those differ from system to system anyway.

Reply Score: 5

Not just GUI concepts
by Doc Pain on Tue 28th Nov 2006 15:38 UTC
Doc Pain
Member since:
2006-10-08

I like the idea of not only thinking about the GUI, but the use of the keyboard. The kids are not considered to be stupid because if they would be - what should they need a keyboard for? The keyboard still is the main input method and it's considered to be important in use. Therefore, proper bindings to the GUI are discussed.

The GUI might have the following effect: Kids learn how easy using a computer can be, then, after a few years, they get into school and see the "old fashioned" GUI design. "How boring!" or "Why that complicated?" could be the reactions.

Reply Score: 2

v OLPC is Ivory Tower project
by rakamaka on Tue 28th Nov 2006 16:23 UTC
RE: OLPC is Ivory Tower project
by Karma_Police on Tue 28th Nov 2006 16:56 UTC in reply to "OLPC is Ivory Tower project"
Karma_Police Member since:
2006-06-19

I'm not commenting on the other points, since I don't really follow Mr Negroponte's carer. I don't know if he is aware how things are in these 3rd world countries.

But most of the troubles linux has with hardware are because the vendor doesn't support it, and only has binary drivers for windows. Now, I doubt the first thing anyone will do when they receive an OLPC is switching the sound card and wifi card to something OLPC doesn't support. And I also doubt the people behind OLPC would choose any hardware unsupported by linux. They should be delivered fully configured and ready to work.

I don't know if there won't be any tech problems when the OLPC is delivered to these remote places, but I do know they can reduce or eliminate problems caused by users. I didn't see any cli in the videos, and I doubt you can run "sudo rm -Rf /" on the chat program...

Linux has to do many things for everyone. The OLPC only has one target, and a limited set of functions.

Reply Score: 3

RE: OLPC is Ivory Tower project
by cyclops on Tue 28th Nov 2006 18:20 UTC in reply to "OLPC is Ivory Tower project"
cyclops Member since:
2006-03-12

@rakamaka You have obviously, put a lot of effort into your post, but you make the same mistake *I* do which is obscure the points your trying to make. I'll try and ignore the waffle and respond to the points.

1) Mr Negroponte driven by intellectual not financial
2) 3rd World children backward
3) Limited by Small storage, and Display Size(hand cranking I thought had been removed)
4) What happens when something goes wrong.

In response.
1) The harsh reality of the things that would benefit the project, by it being driven by "The Marketplace"
is simply not going to happen for many reasons...The main one being there is not a computer marketplace. Its very monopolistic, Look at the main hardware, and software manufactures.

2) You really need to look at the countries this device is heading for. I just think you have the wrong end of the stick. I don't think you are intentionally being insulting.

3) The device is more powerful than you think. The harsh reality is that software evolves at much slower rate than hardware. The second point is look at what this device is designed for, and how it will be used. I can't think of anything that it needs to run where it needs more anything.

4) This is the only part that I think is interesting. You mistake what the device is, and how it is used. It is the going to be the largest manufacture of any single *hardware* platform ever. Think about the significance of that for moment. Now take a little time and look at what it *does*. Your analogy is soo off base it not comparable. In reality the OS in this instance works more like a Phone, PVR, blackberry, nokia 770

Reply Score: 4

Earl Colby pottinger Member since:
2005-07-06

Now you are the one with the Ivory Tower attitude!

Sorry, who do you think were teaching the teachers how to use computers in the late 1970's and early 1980's? Answer, many times it were the students themselves who had no trouble in digging out the details of how the machines worked and spent so many hours with the machines after school till the point that the maintenance staff had to kick them out. I know, I was one of those students. And if computers back then had the mesh networks these babies come with it would had been harder still to get rid of us. Even your analog fails - put a real NASCAR in the auto-shop of any high school and you could not slip a grape into the remain floor space from all the students. And yes, they would be reading all the manuals too!!!

The nature of computers are that you don't have to understand how best to use them for the poorer countries, unlike here in North America some stupid committee might switch to something entirely different next year these people can't afford to dump the lot if they find the software does not match their needs. Instead they 'HOLD ON TO YOUR HAT' ----- REPROGRAM them to fit their needs. Before the big budgets here in Ontario many schools helped to develop and distribute a series of education programs, many of them written by the students themselves. Again don't forget that mesh network, good programs will spread like crazy ie fast.

The rest reads just as dumb to me. Power supplies that don't depend on the grid - makes sense to me! Small displays? I learnt on 40*25 character displays and delivered business software on machines with only 80*25 character displays - since when did display size become so limiting? Only 512MB? Only? Only? Again I delivered A/P and A/R and complete inventory systems on machines with only 32 KBytes of memory, what do you think the child need more for? Oops, pen disk! Even then my comments stand, why would children learning about computers need more for a while. At-least they will learn not to fill it up with junk, people on a memory budget soon learn that they can't have it all, and that they don't need it all either. I would killed for a computer with those features when I was in school in the 1970's (yes I did fight over use of the school's few computers).

Linux - the kids will maintain it themselves just like thousands (millions?) of kids already do today! And how is installing a Mac from a CD any different than installing Linux setup for the laptop in the first place. All the laptops are the same, they all use the same install CD.

Your complaint is silly about installation because there is only one real model, when Amiga, Mac, Atari ST only had one or two models and a lack of different hardware options for particular functions there were also a lack of install problems for their OSes. The problems we see today is caused by the wide range of hardware needed to be supported, not because the software is hard to install.

One model means easy installs!

Edited 2006-11-28 20:44

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: OLPC is Ivory Tower project
by phoenix on Thu 30th Nov 2006 05:58 UTC in reply to "RE: OLPC is Ivory Tower project"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Agree completely.

Sorry, who do you think were teaching the teachers how to use computers in the late 1970's and early 1980's? Answer, many times it were the students themselves who had no trouble in digging out the details of how the machines worked and spent so many hours with the machines after school till the point that the maintenance staff had to kick them out. I know, I was one of those students. And if computers back then had the mesh networks these babies come with it would had been harder still to get rid of us. Even your analog fails - put a real NASCAR in the auto-shop of any high school and you could not slip a grape into the remain floor space from all the students. And yes, they would be reading all the manuals too!!!

We put Linux thin clients into our elementary schools, full labs of 30 computers (donated P2 333/400 MHz initially, now donated VIA C3 800 MHz). When the labs went in, it was the teachers that had problems with them, not the students. Several schools implemented peer-tutoring programs where the grade 6 & 7 students helped the younger children learn to use the Linux apps. A couple schools had the older students develop pamphlets and booklets for teaching others how to use the apps (all done using the Linux labs). Some schools even had students give workshops for the teachers.

Kids are not idiots, nor are they unwilling to learn.

Having an identical setup for the servers in each school, as well as identical hardware in the labs, made it possible for 2 in-school techs to manage 37 elementary school labs, and for 1 district tech to manage the 37 servers. There's something to be said for minimising choice intelligently. ;) And having identical hardware means replacing a dead/dying system is as easy as power off, unplug, plug in, power on.

Reply Score: 1

RE: OLPC is Ivory Tower project
by renox on Wed 29th Nov 2006 17:37 UTC in reply to "OLPC is Ivory Tower project"
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

>hand crancking power supply

And? The computer is supposed to run on what where they don't have access to a power grid?

Hot air? pixie dust?

Solar cells do not provide enough energy..

Reply Score: 1

Yo, Editor
by bubbayank on Tue 28th Nov 2006 16:27 UTC
bubbayank
Member since:
2005-07-15

"Interface" is not spelled "Inteface".

Reply Score: 1

OLPC Screenshots
by chrishaney on Tue 28th Nov 2006 16:40 UTC
chrishaney
Member since:
2005-11-15
THIS is the URL to the OLPC Screenshots
by Yagotta B. Kidding on Tue 28th Nov 2006 17:00 UTC in reply to "OLPC Screenshots"
Yagotta B. Kidding Member since:
2006-04-15

Correct URL
(here are the OLPC screenshots)

http://www.thecodingstudio.com/opensource/linux/screenshots/index.p...

Greetz,
YBK

Reply Score: 1

Congratulate the OLPC-designers!
by Yagotta B. Kidding on Tue 28th Nov 2006 16:50 UTC
Yagotta B. Kidding
Member since:
2006-04-15

Why this conservative approach, Thom?

There have been several revolutions in teaching - take maths. Arithmetics alone is not A and O, and neither is geometry. We've had our CLI, and our X-Window. Gosh, we STILL have them around!

But this does not mean it HAS to stay that way. Why not think when using the PC? There is no necessity for input into rectangular boxes (like you and ELQ suggested). Thre is no necessity for output into rectangular boxes (like you, etc.).

It is shocking how unbelievably unflexible some people are. Does it make you proud of yourself or what?

Getting back to the OLPC Human Interface Guidelines, I have found them easy to grok and easy to follow. Just have a look at the pics if you cannot follow the text. Than THINK like you wanted to say something, draw or write something, get or give something. Good luck!

Greetz,
YBK

Reply Score: 3

Innovation
by cyclops on Tue 28th Nov 2006 17:12 UTC
cyclops
Member since:
2006-03-12

I was reading something on digg the other day, about innovation that has come from OSS.

This really is a step beyond ribbon bars.

Ignoring the interface for a moment. The OLPC has a pretty unique keyboard, and there were two things that struck me.

1) Group working buttons. OMG they have built a social device. Computing as a group experience. I cannot imagine a greater idea that has come from this project.

2) Slider buttons. Now this I really like. It makes so much sense in the world of guages. The keyboard is bad for lots of things and replacing a knob is something it has never done well.

Sorry the interface what it should be about. I noticed several things

1) Symbols representing actions. Now this is wow. I have never seen it done, and I am a little surprised it has been in todays highly detailed, animated world. I do think its a great idea but there does seem an awful lot of them to learn.

2) Screen clutter. I'm a strong believer in having as little on the screen as possible, but this really does take the thing to the other end of the spectrum. Having recently looked at old desktop analogies working on *low resolution* monitors. I have to say its a step in the right direction because its not a big screen.

3) Greys and Blacks. Its like a black and white TV. I had all but forgotten that the screen runs like this to preseve power, and be more visible under bright light.

Never have I seen anything soo ugly ever. I can see that almost every decision is well thought out, and there is a damn good reason for it. Its not a bad document at all. I cannot comment what its really like to use, but its obvious why they have made the choices they have. What surprises me is how much time they have spent making the whole thing functional, rather than spending time on making it *attractive*. I can see the limitations, but look at what has been achieved with the original gameboy that had greater limitations.

I think the interface of the OLPC was lots of good ideas, with *sound* logic behind those choices, and I hope many of these Ideas filter back through to *MY* desktop. I think people here are forgetting the *purpose* and *limitations* of this device. Its definitely a project to watch.

The interface does not have the luxury of several years of little tweaks it has to evolve rapidly, or be scrapped for a more traditional approach.

Reply Score: 5

Completely missed the point, Thom
by hhas on Tue 28th Nov 2006 17:40 UTC
hhas
Member since:
2006-11-28

Thom: "I just read through the human interface guidelines for the project; and by god, I got lost after only a few paragraphs. How are kids supposed to learn all this?"

It's a HIG for developers, not a user manual for kids. Strawman argument. (FWIW, I understood it just fine, and I'm no great shakes as a programmer.)

"However, more and more I am getting the feeling they are just doing this for the sake of doing it; not because it is an inherently better way of teaching kids computers."

They aren't doing it to teach kids *computers*. The computer's just a means to an end, not the end in itself. (Something that nerds and geeks, bless 'em, sometimes forget about.)

"Our desktop paradigm may have its shortcomings, but it does have one major advantage: it is tried and tested ... and everybody uses it."

Two very, very important words for you: ubiquitous collaboration.

The key concept is that networked users should be able to work together on joint projects, and the whole OLPC OS is completely designed to facilitate this. Interaction is direct, immediate and flexible. Multiple users can work on a single document, and discuss what they're doing at the same time.

The traditional Mac/Windows/Linux GUI, on the other hand, is completely designed around the one-user-to-one-desktop approach set down in the early 80s by the original single-user Mac OS. Users traditionally collaborate via dedicated special-purpose applications - email clients, irc clients, ftp clients, etc. - indirect, laggish and each slaved to its own narrow domain. Instead of merely being a means to an end, the network protocols have effectively been treated as the end in itself.

So the OLPC crowd could wait another five-to-ten years for the traditional desktop OSes to layer on some tolerable collaboration support. (e.g. We're just starting to see this now with applications like SubEthaEdit.) Then add as many years again for all the different implementations and user interaction models that have sprung up independently in that time to consolidate into some kind of ersatz 'standard'. Or they could just skip all that crud and get straight to the point right now.

...

Anyway, there's nothing fundamentally new here that I can see - it seems to be drawing on HCI research done over the 70s to 90s. (Unlike the traditional OSes, whose interaction models date from the 1950s to 70s.) And it all makes very good sense when viewed from the 'collaboration everywhere' perspective:

- Zooming desktop (c/o Raskin) whose root is a wide view of the local network space displaying other users with whom the user can choose to interact.

- Document-centric model (c/o Apple and others) ideally suited to supporting granular, task-oriented interaction from the ground-up (VNC's as subtle as a head-punch compared to this).

- Automatic ongoing persistence of data (Gelernter, PARC, etc, etc) that avoids tedious manual filesystem housekeeping (which distracts from the actual work) and alleviates the fear of making individual or collaborative changes (since undo-by-reversion is always available).

And other things, like the full-screen, single task interface (which also maximises use of the very limited 7.5" screen) make sense too. That single-task UI will be rather more powerful than you might think, btw, thanks to the ever-present collaboration tools. No constant switching back-n-forth between MS Paint and Messenger, or MS Word and Outlook needed here, since editing and communication are both done in-situ.

...

Mac/Windows/Linux all expend a ghastly huge amount of the user's time following a whole bunch of baroque, ancient rituals on the way to actually getting useful work done. Ironically, they don't have a whole lot of choice here, since they have to keep a huge established base of existing users happy - and if there's one thing that users hate, it's any sort of change from what they're used to. They may not object to incremental change that merely builds upon everything they already know, but any sort of radical departure that requires them to throw out all their existing knowledge and start over again from scratch will inevitably receive the bums rush PDQ.

OLPC, OTOH, doesn't have an established user base, so it can afford the luxury of a clean-slate approach that skips the ancient practices and leverages much more recent research and technologies. It's all about putting users first, and the computer firmly back in its place as a mere tool - the means to an end, not the end in itself.

So good on OLPC for being so bold as to cast off some of the historical deadweight for a change, instead of carting it along ad-infinitum like everybody else. And if this puts the wind up the conservative tech establishment in the process, that's hopefully a sign that they're doing something right. ;)

Reply Score: 5

Perhaps not as bad as you think...
by SpasmaticSeacow on Tue 28th Nov 2006 17:58 UTC
SpasmaticSeacow
Member since:
2006-02-17

I've seen interfaces like Sugar used elsewhere, and they've been used primarily with persons with cognitive issues, and in attempts to communicate with animals (dolphins, gorillas, etc.).

I think that the interface was designed by cognitive scientists, not computer professionals, for children. Keep in mind that things like the "desktop metaphor" are completely wasted on people that have never dealt with the real thing. You are targetting children, from a broad spectrum of cultures, that can't read or write yet (well, not all of them can).

As an educational tool, the OLPC has to first and foremost present an abstraction of the world that children find inviting and can relate to (more or less).

I agree that the interface is not practical for how I work with a computer, but my 4 year-old would likely have a different opinion and he'd be right (for what he's likely to use the computer for). There's plenty of time to spring the desktop paradigm on kids, and the OLPC computers will still be able to do that when the kids reach the stage where that makes sense.

I think it's ridiculous to pan it because it doesn't look or work like you are used to, because that would make it inaccessible to the target audience.

Reply Score: 5

What the heck? Did I read correctly
by pfortuny on Tue 28th Nov 2006 18:07 UTC
pfortuny
Member since:
2006-02-05

From the first paragraphs:

<quote>
it represents an intrinsic quality of the learning experience we hope the children will have when using the laptop
</quote>

This is what happens when you pretend to be giving "the answer" to the world's problems (and being smart enough to get some governments believe it) instead of doing real business.

I am one of those who think this project ought not to succeed for being **utterly** patronizing (and --in my belief-- utterly useless: the children need water + soap + true education (reading-writing) + PLOUGHS )

However, let the people decide.

Reply Score: 1

@@__@@ Member since:
2005-07-29

Thank god it's not you who gets to decide!

Reply Score: 4

markjensen Member since:
2005-07-26

Seems like you live in a dichotomy world. Where a country, city or school is either reasonably affluent, or cannot afford "soap and water".

There are less affluent countries that have cities. And schools. They have food and water, and even soap!

For these places, a tool like this may be useful. This OLPC project is targeting a specific narrow range of users. People in countries that aren't absolutely starving to death. These units aren't replacing any other sort of foreign aid. There is no condition to stop grain or medical shipments to countries where OLPC is going.

Please think of the world as a spectrum encompassing varying needs. This is a tool that will meet some of those needs.

Reply Score: 5

AdamW Member since:
2005-07-06

"the children need water + soap + true education (reading-writing) + PLOUGHS"

You mean, just enough that Spain (and the rest of Europe, America etc) will be relieved of the tiresome burden of handing out food, but not enough to actually threaten our economic domination?

Nice self-preservation thinking, there.

Reply Score: 5

timbobsteve Member since:
2006-06-25

You, like many others, miss the point of the OLPC. The OLPC is not going to people in Rawanda(?) instead of food and sanitation aid. This is going to people that already have a schooling system, not to mention sanitation and housing.

Don't be so niave as to think that the OLPC is a replacement for 3rd world aid and support for poverty-stricken nations. The OLPC serves a completely different purpose for a completely different mass of people. If you don't realise that, then perhaps you need a teaching-aid.

Reply Score: 5

Hmm...
by merkoth on Tue 28th Nov 2006 18:51 UTC
merkoth
Member since:
2006-09-22

OK, it is different but, IMHO, that doesn't means bad. These laptops weren't designed to take the same tasks a standard desktop/laptop would. We've been exposed to years and years of more or less similar desktops, we're used to them and we've learnt how to take better advantage from them, but that doesn't mean that this is the only way.

Ok, I don't really find that design specially functional, but:

1) It's still WIP.
2) I haven't tried it yet.

So I'll keep my critics for the time being.

Reply Score: 1

Comments
by Finalzone on Tue 28th Nov 2006 18:59 UTC
Finalzone
Member since:
2005-07-06

[[...]The biggest problem is that they defined everything we 'in the West' know from computers completely different. They do not use a desktop in the traditional sense, there are no applications, and so on. I find this a very brave thing, and it is good that they are trying to think outside of the box.[...]

Application is called activity in OLPC (now known as XO) world. To give a better ideas, emulation is available for download. You will see at least six activities on the lower left. There is a bug on emulation related to the resolution, however the actual hardware is fine as seen on
http://www.flickr.com/photos/felitti/305658236/in/photostream/

I am of the strong opinion that you should not fix something that is not broken; it's a wasted effort. Our desktop paradigm may have its shortcomings, but it does have one major advantage: it is tried and tested, it has been studied thoroughly by the big companies (Microsoft and Apple, mostly), and everybody uses it.

You seem to imply you don't like a change. There is nothing wrong to not like something but avoid making a statement like: and everybody uses it. which is not true because there are people who never use computer in their life.

Other than that, the desktop paradigm is not a very hard thing to learn; I've seen very young children very well capable of using computers. Heck, I learnt computing 'the hard way', via the rather limited MS-DOS cli when I was 6 years old-- in a different language than my own, mind you. Our first computer in the house was a 286 with MS-DOS, all the manuals in English, the computer itself in English, the syntax in English. Still, I managed to learn all that very, very quick. This goes to illustrate that children do not really need a special, different paradigm in order to learn how to use a computer quickly. Millions of kids, including myself, are proof that learning to use computers is simply damn easy for children (high plasticity of the brain and all).

True. It also applies to any application.


Then we have the problem of what Sugar, as the new interface is called, really is. It is not a replacement for GNOME and its base, as some of you might think. No, it is 'merely' a shell draped over GNOME's foundation, meaning all the libraries are still there, running below the Sugar interface. What Red Hat, the driving force behind all this, should have done, obviously, was use the OLPC as an 'excuse' (as if they really needed that) to make a cut-down version of GNOME, one that is not as resource hungry as GNOME-proper is

This is your assumption that can be easily disproved. Ever forgotten that Maemo (UI for Nokia 770) uses GNOME library too? Red Hat approach is not that much different by remove unnecessary bloat for the XO. These example alone show you haven't done your homework as an analyst.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comments
by Troels on Wed 29th Nov 2006 10:21 UTC in reply to "Comments"
Troels Member since:
2005-07-11

This is your assumption that can be easily disproved. Ever forgotten that Maemo (UI for Nokia 770) uses GNOME library too? Red Hat approach is not that much different by remove unnecessary bloat for the XO. These example alone show you haven't done your homework as an analyst.

I think you failed to understand what Thom was writing. What does nokia using Gnome LIBS have to do with the OLPC project using Gnome PROGRAMS? (and did they even use Gnome libs, and not just GTK+?)

I have to agree with Thom, this interface looks really unintuitive and clunky. Change is not good by itself. Change is only better when it is for the better, and i too totally fail to see this as progress.

I especially think the abiword example looked bizarre. I think, if they were to have a chance of making this good, they would have had to start over with the apps, instead of trying to shoehorn firefox and abiword into a totally new GUI.

I also think it is a big mistake to make the computer work like no other computers. Then they have to start all over if they ever have to work with "real" computers.

And finally, the fact that it is Red Hat that is working on it lessens my confidence in the project even further, they can't even build a proper regular desktop IMO. (in my "world" they were the best back around the 5.0-5.2 series, got relevant again briefly around 8.0, and then got totally irrelevant after they switched focus and took in Fedora)

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comments
by h3rman on Wed 29th Nov 2006 11:05 UTC in reply to "RE: Comments"
h3rman Member since:
2006-08-09

And finally, the fact that it is Red Hat that is working on it lessens my confidence in the project even further, they can't even build a proper regular desktop IMO. (in my "world" they were the best back around the 5.0-5.2 series, got relevant again briefly around 8.0, and then got totally irrelevant after they switched focus and took in Fedora)

Maybe you should warn Oracle, CentOS, etc. that they're forking a completely irrelevant distribution.

Reply Score: 2

GEM
by csynt on Tue 28th Nov 2006 19:41 UTC
csynt
Member since:
2006-03-19

Perchaps they could use something like GEM , or even GEOS. This is a nice way to teach the file organization and the basic usage of the most modern GUIs

Reply Score: 1

Journal is Flawed
by james_parker on Tue 28th Nov 2006 19:54 UTC
james_parker
Member since:
2005-06-29

My first reaction on reading the HIG was that the journal is significantly flawed; there is no concept of data aging or space reclamation. These machines have very low storage capability, and without such mechanism they will fill up quite quickly.

A naive approach would be to simply age out the oldest data in journal; however, the problems with this are that (a) the time window could be too short, and (b) age is not a good sole indicator of the value of data.

Alternatives would be to give the journaled data different value assignments (although who decides the value of the data, the user or the "activity" designer?), or replace strings of more detailed journaled history with shorter, more abstracted history (i.e. an analogue to DBMS multilevel recovery).

In all cases, however, far more thought is needed to get this right, if this approach is in fact appropriate for the OLPC.

Reply Score: 1

It *does* use a cut-down GNOME platform
by jdub on Tue 28th Nov 2006 21:23 UTC
jdub
Member since:
2005-08-19

But Thom, it *does* use a cut-down GNOME platform, much like Maemo and the other mobile/embedded GNOME projects. This is hardly the most interesting point about the project, however.

Reply Score: 3

Vmware Image
by Drune on Tue 28th Nov 2006 21:36 UTC
Drune
Member since:
2005-12-04

For those who wants to test it in vmware there's the image here: http://hog.tuttlesvc.org/~hoffman/olpc/olpc-182.zip

It's really annoying under (or not) vmware. Not even responsible.

Reply Score: 2

Starting to KillAll - OK
by suslik on Tue 28th Nov 2006 21:43 UTC
suslik
Member since:
2005-07-27

http://www.thecodingstudio.com/opensource/linux/screenshots/index.p...

"Starting to KillAll - OK"

Love that part. Don't forget to give the kids AK 47's.

Reply Score: 1

Learning UIs
by Angel Blue01 on Wed 29th Nov 2006 00:22 UTC
Angel Blue01
Member since:
2006-11-01

I first used a computer when I was 8. My dad bought a 386 running DOS 6.x and Windows 3.1. At first all I played were DOS games which my dad installed. Each had a different UI but I picked them up pretty quickly. When I started workign with files in Paintbrush and other utilities my Dad taught me Windows 3.1 I wanted to learn the DOS things I saw him using but he insisted I learn the Windows way as that was becoming more common. I never really used DOS until I started maitaining systems in 1999. I started word processing in Wordperfect 5.1, which I found very confusing because it was so different from the rest of Win3.1. I found Win3.1 very cumbersome but I picked it up quickly. The desktop metaphor used in Win95, with our second compouter in 1997 was much easier, even though it was so different. It made it easier to use the desktop in Mac OS and KDE (I find Gnome too hard to use, but that's becuse I'm used to the Windows methods).

I don't think the desktop is very intuitiive. I'd rather they contribute to efforts like the Mezzo desktop in SymphonyOS but it is easier than what they have here and than earlier UIs. Kids could learn any UI, and I think they should use something simple, but not this different from the standard desktop.

Reply Score: 1

h3rman
Member since:
2006-08-09

...a few points are rather essential.

-OLPC hardware is comparatively limited.
-Additionally, energy consumption was designed to be minimal for the OLPC.
-One explicit software design goal for OLPC was speed.
-Screen size is relatively small, making default full screen mode a good idea.
-OLPC software is free software and may be modified by any individual, school, ministry of education, parent, whoever, to adjust certain elements of the software that turn out to be less than perfect.
-This project has started more than ten years ago. Comments on the GUI design are a little late now, given the fact that the project was sort of open to anyone interested.

Let me quote Nicholas Negroponte here (during a TED keynote):

Somebody, to remain nameless, called our laptop a gadget recently. And I say, God, our laptop's gonna go like a bat outta hell! When you open it up it's gonna go BINNGG, it'll be on, it'll use.. it will be just like it was in 1985, when you bought an Apple Macintosh, 512, it worked really well, and we've been going steadily downhill.

And this must have to do something with the software, I assume. I couldn't dream of experiencing that with any of the easy-to-use DEs out there today.

Reply Score: 2

alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

"I couldn't dream of experiencing that with any of the easy-to-use DEs out there today." Meaning, very snappy responsiveness

Its not really true. If you want very snappy window managers there is jvm, fluxbox, windowmaker, even fvwm. Any of these are almost instant on a decent P3 or better.

If you want very fast distros for lower spec equipment, you have DSL, Puppy, Fluxbuntu. Astrumi is another amazing example. SaxenOS.

I wondered, reading the spec, what would have been so terrible about taking one of these and using it.

They are solving a problem which doesn't seem to exist: the inability of children to use the ordinary conventional desktop/file management paradigm. Is there any reason to think this is a problem?

And while doing this, they are claiming to solve a problem which has already been solved many times over: running Linux fast on limited hardware.

Its very creative, but it doesn't seem very focussed on the real problem.

Reply Score: 1

konfoo Member since:
2006-01-02

The point is not to learn to use the OLPC, but rather to use the OLPC to learn. To teach young kids you have to keep them focused. Modern UIs are a distraction, and the target user has no context of the OLPC's UI vs 'traditional' UI, so any such arguments are moot.

Reply Score: 3

Different interfaces?
by DigitalAxis on Wed 29th Nov 2006 01:08 UTC
DigitalAxis
Member since:
2005-08-28

I've always been averse to the assumption that the way things are now is the best possible way.

WHY must it always be a desktop metaphor? (I grew up using Deskmate on a Tandy 1000 TL/2, which used an office metaphor with drawers and filing cabinets, and so on- as for talking about integrated nature, it had EXTREMELY extensive tutorials on EVERYTHING)

WHY must it always be Windows?

WHY must it always be x86 processors?

WHY must it always be a WIMP interface? (Just as a thought experiment I tried to figure out which of the components of WIMP it'd be easiest to get rid of... I think I came up with 'windows'- just make everything fullscreen and implement really good task switching)*

I mean, the current supposed 'battle for the desktop' is between Windows XP/Vista, which can (by steps) trace its legacy back to... uh, possibly CP/M (1974); Mac OS X (which can trace itself back through NeXT to BSD? to UNIX (1970); and Linux, which also traces its lineage more or less back to UNIX (1970). Have 'we' really come up with nothing better since then? (BeOS being a possible counterexample)**

This is the sort of thing that led me to find OSNews- I'm interested in some of the alternatives (BeOS, that SymphonyOS Mezzo desktop, XFCE4, the Alpha processor that's supposedly the "best thing ever", etc etc...) because I believe, perhaps foolishly, that there's a way (somehow) to make an interface that's simultaneously not like what we have now, yet better (simpler, easier, more intuitive, or whatever).

As far as I can tell (Read part #5: http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm ), there's two ways to make a user-friendly interface: Make a truly user-friendly interface, or make an interface that mimics an interface already familiar to the user. I'm more interested in the former than the latter.



Now, that said, I'm not such a big fan of 'better simply because it's different'. For me, Linux turned out to be different AND better. Many other things I've tried, didn't really.

On one hand, Sugar seems remarkably similar to the solution I came up with in my thought experiment about removing one or more of the elements of WIMP- everything's fullscreen, with a frame around it for controlling the system- at least as far as the grand design of the HIG is concerned.

This particular implementation seems to be a bit vague (what do they mean by journaling?) and potentially troublesome (what happens when an activity takes up so little memory the pie wedge isn't visible?) to the odd way they have their networking set up (having draggable icons seems like it'd get cluttered and messy, and anything that lends itself to being cluttered and messy will probably become so).

I am somewhat surprised that this is just a layer over the familiar GNOME when by rights it should be its own entirely new interface- what's up with that? If they're going to reinvent the system they need to do it completely. The GNOME applications in the screenshot tour look completely out of place for what they're trying to do- navigate and burrow through menus? I thought they were trying to avoid that. This, in particular, looks very bad.
http://www.thecodingstudio.com/opensource/linux/screenshots/scaled/...
I'm not a big fan of the look of this window (!) either:
http://www.thecodingstudio.com/opensource/linux/screenshots/scaled/...

As long as we're critiquing the system, I'm a bit concerned that the keyboard has only enough buttons for a US English layout, and that even in the other languages their characters are secondary to the English lettering. I would also have made the task switcher buttons larger and more prominent, and made the ENTIRE trackpad responsive to tablet and touchpad behavior, or maybe include two input devices. I'm not convinced that two different methods of input on two different parts of the same pad is going to be easy and fluid.

Anyway, it looks very interesting, very different from the conventional desktop, and not necessarily worse... it definitely lacks a few things that current systems have (desktop icons, a branching start menu), but that's no reason to expect it won't have usable alternatives to them. I just wish they'd have the guts to actually APPLY this HIG to the entire system- this will only really work if they seriously polish it up.

We'll see what happens when these get in the hands of testers...



* It was a thought experiment, and anyway, my chosen field is Astronomy so in the end I have no more business designing user interfaces than I do diagnosing your desk lamp with high cholesterol.

** I'm aware they've changed a lot since then (especially Windows)

Edited 2006-11-29 01:10

Reply Score: 1

RE: Different interfaces?
by Morin on Wed 29th Nov 2006 11:44 UTC in reply to "Different interfaces?"
Morin Member since:
2005-12-31

> WHY must it always be a WIMP interface? (Just as a thought experiment I
> tried to figure out which of the components of WIMP it'd be easiest to
> get rid of... I think I came up with 'windows'- just make everything
> fullscreen and implement really good task switching)*

I had similar thoughts... instead of floating and resizable windows, use fullscreen / splitscreen (sometimes you just want two applications to be visible at the same time), menu-based task switching (as ALT+TAB in Windows), visual task switching (Expose), and minimize/resume to exclude apps from switching that you don't want to use in the near future (excluded entirely from expose, shown in a different menu in the lower screen in menu-based switching).

But then, I wouldn't be suprised if there is alrady some OS that does it this way...

Reply Score: 1

Mockups of Kids Office
by zam001 on Wed 29th Nov 2006 04:22 UTC
zam001
Member since:
2005-08-12

I was impressed by some of the mockups cameup for kids office. I think they are really mean fir kids.
We must always make sure OLPC is for kids not geeks.

http://ingwa2.blogspot.com/2005/09/koffice-kids-office.html

http://ingwa2.blogspot.com/2005/10/kids-office-part-2.html

Further, something worth mention is the interface of Gcompris (http://gcompris.net/-On-one-page-)

Reply Score: 1

RE: Mockups of Kids Office
by Soulbender on Wed 29th Nov 2006 04:39 UTC in reply to "Mockups of Kids Office"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"We must always make sure OLPC is for kids not geeks."

I'm pretty sure the target kids for OLPC aren't stupider than the kids in the "West" so I don't see why they'd have to use a "simpler", different UI.
What is the target age for OLPC anyway?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Mockups of Kids Office
by zam001 on Wed 29th Nov 2006 05:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Mockups of Kids Office"
zam001 Member since:
2005-08-12

Still I couldn't find a place which define the target age group. Some screenshots says its for 5-6 years.

Reply Score: 1

It's condescending
by deathshadow on Wed 29th Nov 2006 04:56 UTC
deathshadow
Member since:
2005-07-12

Almost the same as how 'certain' adults suddenly change the tone and intonation of their voice the moment they talk to anyone under the age of 15.

"Dumbing it down" isn't going to teach the kids a damned thing - and making it NOT work like the rest of the world, much less using terminology that differs from rest of world - DEFEATS THE ENTIRE POINT of the OLPC being a tool to bring the kids in these third world ****-holes up to first world standards of education.

But this is ENTIRELY typical of what I've come to expect from the 'social engineering' crowd... these people start out with high hopes and halfway decent ideas, then sabotage themselves with noodle-doodle half-baked hair-brained additions relegating these types of projects to the same category as BeOS driven web-enabled refridgerators.

Reply Score: 1

The screen only displays at 640x480 right?
by destraht on Wed 29th Nov 2006 05:46 UTC
destraht
Member since:
2006-08-07

Full screen is a great way of using more of the screen. Mulitple levels of status bars and menu bars would make the screen virtually unusable.

Reply Score: 1

grfgguvf Member since:
2006-09-25

You are exaggerating. All is needed is a single level task bar like in Windows. Win95 was perfectly usable on 640x480.

Reply Score: 1

hmm...
by Viader on Wed 29th Nov 2006 08:30 UTC
Viader
Member since:
2006-07-03

Well it seems for me that OLPC's already exist.
http://www.dmartstores.com/vt65totalain.html
http://www.dmartstores.com/vt65lalablai.html
http://www.dmartstores.com/vt60decoinst.html
(it's not a commercial, just the first site that poped out as first)
They are all over the internet. They are fully usefull (for educational purposes), don't look ugly and yet cost under $100.
The thing is that they don't use Linux. It will be 8yrs since I'm using Debian as my default OS so don't get me wrong, but for me it looks like someone is designing cut down version of Linux just for the principle and because "he can" not because it's good solution or for the children.

Remember that this project is meant for children not adults but for me it seems it's already to late for that.

Reply Score: 1

RE: hmm...
by Finalzone on Wed 29th Nov 2006 10:52 UTC in reply to "hmm..."
Finalzone Member since:
2005-07-06

http://www.dmartstores.com/vt65totalain.html
http://www.dmartstores.com/vt65lalablai.html
http://www.dmartstores.com/vt60decoinst.html



Neither is even comparable to XO for the few following reasons:
- Power-efficient processor & electronics. Consumes 1/10th the power of “normal” notebooks (XO's LCD only consumes a watt in full color screen mode).
- Rugged designed i.e. no component like CD-ROM and HDD included that cause hardware failure.
- Wireless mesh.

More on http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Hardware_specification and http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Software_components

Reply Score: 2

Where's Piaget when you need him?
by Cloudy on Wed 29th Nov 2006 08:42 UTC
Cloudy
Member since:
2006-02-15

Turtles, anyone?

er, wait, no, that was Papert's contribution.

Unfortunately, that's the last bit of good man-machine-interface work to come out of the then "AI" now "media" lab.

and it was mostly done before Papert left Piaget's group and went to MIT, anyway.

WIMP has been around for nearly 50 years, the infamous desktop metaphor for 30 and the original lame plastic creature (OLPC) doesn't have enough horsepower to support anything more sophisticated anyway.

OLPC represents no thinking outside the box. It's merely arranging the blocks in a less common but still well understood way. As far as collaboration, they've done nothing more than reinvent and rename the shared-whiteboard discussed at Xerox in the 70s and first implemented at HP Labs and DEC SRC in X in the late 80s. The "Journal" is available but rarely used in Microsoft Office in a very similar form to that described in OLPC.

The Zoom model is obviously flawed and will quickly show its inability to deal with multiple contexts.

"Activities" and the bundle are not a new model, but rather mimic the similar approach taken in the PIM aps of PDAs and smart phones. There's plenty of writing on the weakness of that model even in the embedded world.

Oh, also, there's no HI guidelines in that document, yet. There's the barest outline of the ideas behind a UI.

Reply Score: 1

h3rman Member since:
2006-08-09

the original lame plastic creature (OLPC) doesn't have enough horsepower to support anything more sophisticated anyway.

My friend, it was not designed to run Gentoo.
Is "original lame plastic creature" your own invention? It's OK to criticise something, but this way it doesn't sound very nice, or constructive, don't you think?

OLPC represents no thinking outside the box. It's merely arranging the blocks in a less common but still well understood way. As far as collaboration, they've done nothing more than reinvent and rename the shared-whiteboard discussed at Xerox in the 70s and first implemented at HP Labs and DEC SRC in X in the late 80s.

Makes me wonder, why weren't you part of the OLPC developers team when they needed you the most? Now the project's almost ready for launch.
Looking forward to your own design on DE/GUI in an article on OSNews soon, though.

Reply Score: 2

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"It's OK to criticise something"

Actually, we're not supposed to criticize the OLPC project at all:
http://www.olpcnews.com/people/negroponte/negroponte_to_critic.html

What century do you live in when its not Ok to criticize the church?
I know, it's off-topic but it's an amazingly arrogant statement and it surely doesn't reflect well on the project.

Reply Score: 2

h3rman Member since:
2006-08-09

>>"It's OK to criticise something"

>Actually, we're not supposed to criticize the OLPC project at all:
http://www.olpcnews.com/people/negroponte/negroponte_to_critic.html

>What century do you live in when its not Ok to criticize the church?
I know, it's off-topic but it's an amazingly arrogant statement and it surely doesn't reflect well on the project.


Criticism, even of a humanitarian education project must never be a taboo, or embargoed, but I was only referring to phrases used above like "original lame plastic creature". That's not constructive, that's childish.

Reply Score: 1

Cloudy Member since:
2006-02-15

Criticism, even of a humanitarian education project must never be a taboo, or embargoed, but I was only referring to phrases used above like "original lame plastic creature". That's not constructive, that's childish.

And Nick's comments (which are typical for him) aren't?

Everything about the OLPC is childish, and none of it is child-like.

Reply Score: 1

rakamaka Member since:
2005-08-12

Thanks
See my Post : OLPC is ivory tower project.

It is indeed a childish idea from the people who have never stepped out of Hi Tech labs.

A village kid who have never seen good old edison light bulb in his home, is going to hand crank and power olpc and enlighten his/her knowledge about latest and best in modern tech world???

If someone gifts you a Ferrari, Will you drive it to everyday work? How is Ferrari going to solve your bread and butter problem??

they should experiment OLPC with kids in USA living in slums around MIT boston, first and then try to send it to third world..

http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=35836

http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=27835

Edited 2006-11-29 20:12

Reply Score: 1

DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

Uh, one of the initial interested parties in this OLPC is the state of Massachusetts (which, in fact, contains both Boston and MIT), and which is not (as far as I know) a third-world country.

While there are truly impoverished people in Massachusetts, there are many people who merely lack the instruments of a good education. The OLPC is an attempt to give those children such a tool- it can be a textbook, notebook, drawing pad, etc, etc.

I dunno, I guess a lot of people have this image that they're going to drive up to some impoverished and starving subsistence settlement in Rwanda, hand out a bunch of laptops, and drive off into the sunset patting themselves on the back.

The OLPC people have, from time to time, addressed that concern and said they're NOT doing that. This is for inner-city schools; this is for places like Taiwan and India which have (in many/most areas) the running water, food and shelter angle all worked out but no textbooks or modern teaching tools available... This is NOT for places which can't even afford food. This is not meant for third-world countries; it's meant for second-world countries and the less affluent members of first-world countries.

At least I sincerely hope it's not, because I agree that giving out laptops to people as impoverished as you say is a terrible idea. I'm not sure I'd want to send computers to third-world countries either, especially due to the specter of graft and corruption (though you'll find that anywhere).

That said, if they really want to send these things to Taiwan or Portugal, I think it's incredibly presumptuous to do so with a US English keyboard layout. The countries purchasing these things should also get a LOT of say in what software is designed and loaded with them, especially if you're targeting these for different cultures. And having considered Eugenia's criticism, I agree that if it's activity-centered, the activity selector should take much greater prominence- maybe not always visible, but they should replace the 'home screen' with an activity selector, or have that part of the frame always visible on that screen.

Reply Score: 1

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"this is for places like Taiwan and India which have (in many/most areas) the running water, food and shelter angle all worked out but no textbooks or modern teaching tools available."

Yeah, for sure they have no modern tools in Taiwan....

Reply Score: 2

Cloudy Member since:
2006-02-15

The OLPC people have, from time to time, addressed that concern and said they're NOT doing that.

Indeed they have said that.

Now go look at their web site and see which countries they've made deals with.

Reply Score: 1

Cloudy Member since:
2006-02-15

It's OK to criticise something, but this way it doesn't sound very nice, or constructive, don't you think?

It's not supposed to be constructive. OLPC is a bad idea and should never have gotten this far. There's no constructive criticism of it possible.

Makes me wonder, why weren't you part of the OLPC developers team when they needed you the most?

See above.

Looking forward to your own design on DE/GUI in an article on OSNews soon, though.

OSNews doesn't pay enough. ;)

Reply Score: 1

h3rman Member since:
2006-08-09

>>It's OK to criticise something, but this way it doesn't sound very nice, or constructive, don't you think?

>It's not supposed to be constructive. OLPC is a bad idea and should never have gotten this far. There's no constructive criticism of it possible.


Not even in the form of explaining why this is such a bad idea? If you think MIT, Red Hat, Google, Mozilla shouldn't interfere in developing countries' education model, well I'll tell you something, if they won't, Microsoft and Intel sure will.

Reply Score: 1

Cloudy Member since:
2006-02-15

Not even in the form of explaining why this is such a bad idea? If you think MIT, Red Hat, Google, Mozilla shouldn't interfere in developing countries' education model, well I'll tell you something, if they won't, Microsoft and Intel sure will.

I've explained why elsewhere in detail in earlier threads on OS dealing with the OLPC. Perhaps OSNews needs a better search engine?

Intel's a party to the OLPC deal. They'll sell chips to anyone who'll buy them.

MS will be there whether there's an OLPC or not.

Reply Score: 1

It's an investment
by h3rman on Wed 29th Nov 2006 09:27 UTC
h3rman
Member since:
2006-08-09

...if you consider $100 in the "Third World" is food for 10 people for a whole year, I very much doubt any government has the budget for it.

I hope you're not an economist. Governments should not be buying food for people. It's the best way to keep people poor forever. It's this kind of neo-colonialism that has played a role in keeping people on the level where they're at.

And of course, $100 does not buy food for ten people for a whole year. I don't know what kind of food you have in mind; btw. in agricultural communities a lot of people grow their own food and yet they remain poor.

On the other hand, OLPC is an investment in children. Which is probably the best investment you can think of. Now all that has to happen is for the OLPC to be a success.

Reply Score: 3

OLPC specs
by sanders on Wed 29th Nov 2006 09:43 UTC
sanders
Member since:
2005-08-09

In the referenced document, I found the snippet "The OLPC display is 200DPI". Is that true? If so, I'll get one just for the display! Current e-Ink displays manage 160dpi, but 200 is unheard of as far as I know.

Reply Score: 1

Real commentary on the Sugar UI
by dcbw on Wed 29th Nov 2006 16:06 UTC
dcbw
Member since:
2006-08-31

As one of the main developers, there are a few things people are missing here...

1) The software nowhere near done; the thing doesn't ship until the middle of next year. What people are looking at is a development snapshot, not even alpha. There are many features (journal, much of the mesh and shared activity infrastructure) that doesn't exist yet or is in planning stages. The interface isn't anywhere near point of being refined enough to be shipped and suggestions/comments are still quite welcome.

2) The machine itself isn't final either; it has the FPGA for the CAFE (Camera and Flash Enabler) chip, the ASIC comes later. The plastic case isn't ruggedized yet, the Embedded Controller code that deals with battery charging, keyboard/touchpad control, etc is nowhere near final yet

3) The touchpad is a dual-mode touchpad. The center square is capacitive, and the _whole_ touchpad is resistive. It's dual-mode because you simply can't make a large capacitive touchpad because the SNR is too low. But the resitive part is usable by fingernails, sticks, styli, anything that's hard but not sharp so it won't score the surface. The point is to make drawing, sketching, and _writing_ your language be core to the experience.

4) there's a ton of performance work and memory reduction that's still going to be done, little work has yet gone into that yet but that's a focus of the next month.

5) It's _NOT_ using GNOME apps. In fact, we are trying to keep out many of the gnome libraries like bonobo, libgnomeui, etc, since they aren't that much use here. It DOES use GTK, cairo, and GLib as the basis, but that is certainly not GNOME. So complaints about stripping down GNOME are misplaced, because there is little to no GNOME being used (with the exception of rsvg and libwnck)

Reply Score: 5

biteydog Member since:
2005-10-06

At last a sensible comment.

I was getting a bit fed up with repetitions of the Gospel According to St. Bill

And the great Window spake thus

There shall be a great stripe at the bottom of thy screen, and from it shalt thou control thy universe.

And at the very left of this stripe shall be a button marked "Start". Shun imitations of the great button, shun the button that is marked with a Penguin, or the foot of a Gnome, for they are savage creatures and will rend thine Intellectual Properties asunder.

Shun the computer that bears the device of an Apple, for it is bitten, and bears the mark of the serpent.

Shun the computing engine that bears a Daemon (with a little toasting fork) as its sign, for obvious reasons.

Thou shalt sit down before no GUI but mine. There shall be Windows, a Start Menu, and lots of other stuff that shall confuse the unwary, and they shall fall into dark ways so they are unable to part with their money for a Genuine Advantage(tm).

Sorry folks - needed a good rant!

Reply Score: 3

I like what I've seen
by dukeinlondon on Wed 29th Nov 2006 16:46 UTC
dukeinlondon
Member since:
2005-07-06

I've watched a demo on youtube and I have been impressed. I've found the interface uncluttered and clean. On a small screen, you don't want the mess of multiple windows competing for space and focus.

Nice exploration and I think the kids will love it.

Reply Score: 2