Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 27th Jan 2009 13:46 UTC
Editorial With Windows 7 having made its grand debut, and with KDE4's vision making leaps and bounds forward with every release, we have two major software projects that have decided to implement some fairly drastic interface changes. Such changes are bound to receive some harsh criticisms - but the funny thing is, these criticisms usually come from people you least expect it from.
Order by: Score:
Comment by mithnae
by mithnae on Tue 27th Jan 2009 14:12 UTC
mithnae
Member since:
2006-03-29

The more advanced the user of a certain application desktop env. is, the more is hist or her productivity vulnerable to any change made to such application.

If one uses only 10% of most basic functionality of such application, and all his knowledge comes from learning patterns by hard with minimal concious reflection about the underlying mechanisms, then any change made will affect such user only marginally, and the most disturbing consequence of said change would be that he or she will be forced to repeat the "pattern learning process" once again, possibly without much thinking of what has changed and why.

Reply Score: 10

RE: Comment by mithnae
by google_ninja on Tue 27th Jan 2009 16:21 UTC in reply to "Comment by mithnae"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

and the most disturbing consequence of said change would be that he or she will be forced to repeat the "pattern learning process" once again, possibly without much thinking of what has changed and why.


That right there is the important bit. An expert user of any UI will be less productive if the UI changes, no matter if that change is a good one or not. The office 2k7 UI is a great example of this, there was a hell of a lot of thought and usability testing put into it, and still the pro users were doing the sky is falling song and dance.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by mithnae
by Soulbender on Tue 27th Jan 2009 16:24 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by mithnae"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

I have always thought that part of being an "expert" was that you 'd be able to cope with change well.
Otherwise you're not really an expert, are you?

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Comment by mithnae
by google_ninja on Tue 27th Jan 2009 16:46 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by mithnae"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

expert computer user, maybe. I don't know if it's because I'm a UI developer, or just love computers so much that I enjoy learning new and interesting ways of doing things.

I was talking more about expertise gained on a specific UI. If you are a vi expert, you spent a hell of alot of time becoming a vi expert. A fundamental change in vi keybindings will render your thousands of hours gaining expertise on a rediculesly complex interface next to useless, and it doesn't matter if those changes are for better or worse.

Now, there aren't many apps out there that have an interface as obtuse as vi, so that is an extreme example. But you can see it again in office, casual office users were over the moon happy with 2k7 from day 1, expert users have only begun to say that it is a much better UI in the last six months or so. In usability literature, almost every book would refer to office as an example of failure in UI design, it was so poor that doing almost anything other then what they were doing would have made it better. But still, it took about a year for expert users to get on the "Ribbon for complex applications" bandwagon.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by mithnae
by TemporalBeing on Tue 27th Jan 2009 19:06 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by mithnae"
TemporalBeing Member since:
2007-08-22

Now, there aren't many apps out there that have an interface as obtuse as vi


*cough* emacs *cough*

Reply Score: 4

christianhgross Member since:
2005-11-15

> a person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field; specialist; authority: a language expert.

Catch the keyword SPECIALIST... Let me give you an example. You can drive a car, yes? So why not drive the car on the other side that you are used to.

Sure you can do it EVENTUALLY, but the fact is that switching sides of the road is not easy and can be down right dangerous. YET we are all experts in driving a car (at least those that have licenses).

I would argue that the more specialized an expert is the harder it is to switch. Because you have indepth knowledge that needs to be relearned.

Reply Score: 2

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

YET we are all experts in driving a car (at least those that have licenses)


No we are not. Racecar drivers and professional etc drivers are experts. Me, you and Joe Sixpack are not. The mere fact that you can use or do something does not make you an expert.
Most professional drivers I know have no problem driving on either side of the road or in different vehicles.

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Comment by mithnae
by Lennie on Wed 28th Jan 2009 15:57 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by mithnae"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

I see a lot of other users that are not technical at all, not being able to work with the ribbon.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by mithnae
by Lennie on Wed 28th Jan 2009 16:05 UTC in reply to "Comment by mithnae"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Computers exist to make things more efficient.

A lot of the interface changes in Windows just dumb things down and takes more clicks to get to where you need to be to do whatever you want to do. I don't mind change, I care about productivity.

This is also why, especially for technical people, things like UAC are really stupid.

Reply Score: 1

I have too agree...
by djmax on Tue 27th Jan 2009 14:16 UTC
djmax
Member since:
2009-01-27

being a long time OS news reader .. this post compelled me to login and comment ... me myself being a computer user for over 20 yrs ... switching hats from a teacher/trainer .. beta tester and just being a plain geek ... i would have to agree i have done the same in the past .. in spite of the techi label ....
But end user esp young kids pick up anything much faster that you give them ... but it the geek in me that always want to use my personalized and tweaked system ... be it the shell or the internals ......

Reply Score: 2

SJVN is a raging idiot
by tux68 on Tue 27th Jan 2009 14:44 UTC
tux68
Member since:
2006-10-24

I've long stopped reading anything SJVN spews onto the web and written him off as a raging idiot. But I have to admit that perhaps in this area I am a bit like him; gawd i hope it's only this one area.

Have worked in this field for a few decades and am able to wrap my head around most new concepts with relative ease. Yet put me in front of a new desktop and I curse like a sailor.

Was recently asked to help an older gentleman find some documents he lost on his Mac. It was the first time I had used a Mac in years and i was quickly frustrated at how "STUPID" everything seemed ;o) It amazed me that people called this sh*t easier to use than Windows. Actually I've been using a Gnome desktop for so long that switching to Windows often leads to the same cursing.

So perhaps there really is something to the idea that technical people are generally happier with the technology they know best and more resistant to change.

Or maybe i'm just a raging idiot like SJVN.

Reply Score: 11

RE: SJVN is a raging idiot
by panzi on Tue 27th Jan 2009 16:25 UTC in reply to "SJVN is a raging idiot"
panzi Member since:
2006-01-22

The only thing thats really STUPID with OS X is, that a lot of very nice functionality is only accessible with not (or poorly) documented magical key combinations. Its like a secrete language only insiders who read all the mac blogs know. THATS not userfriendly.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: SJVN is a raging idiot
by google_ninja on Tue 27th Jan 2009 16:48 UTC in reply to "RE: SJVN is a raging idiot"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

Thats funny, I find the exact opposite. Everything is in the menu, and every menu item has the key combo beside it. I think its a great way to provide both a discoverable and intuitive interface, and an expert friendly interface at the same time.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: SJVN is a raging idiot
by phoenix on Tue 27th Jan 2009 19:05 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: SJVN is a raging idiot"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Thats funny, I find the exact opposite. Everything is in the menu, and every menu item has the key combo beside it. I think its a great way to provide both a discoverable and intuitive interface, and an expert friendly interface at the same time.


Okay, so how do you rename a file/folder in the Finder, without knowing the magic keyboard combination to do so? There's no "Rename" option in any of the menues, there's no context menu for those using 1-button mice, and it's really finicky about the "2 clicks with pause in between" making the name editable or starting the app.

MacOS X does a lot of things around keyboard shortcuts right, as a lot of them are global; and standard combos work in just about all apps. But not everything is documented, and not every combo has a menu or mouse equivalent.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: SJVN is a raging idiot
by jcgf on Tue 27th Jan 2009 20:37 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: SJVN is a raging idiot"
jcgf Member since:
2005-11-14

To rename in finder, select the file/folder and hit the enter key.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: SJVN is a raging idiot
by stooovie on Wed 28th Jan 2009 00:43 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: SJVN is a raging idiot"
stooovie Member since:
2006-01-25

That`s hardly a logical thing to do. Enter is meant to LAUNCH things. I gto eventually used to this on my Mac, but at first, I was rather angry.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: SJVN is a raging idiot
by phoenix on Wed 28th Jan 2009 03:17 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: SJVN is a raging idiot"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

To rename in finder, select the file/folder and hit the enter key.


And ... that is documented where in the interface? Which is the point that is being made.

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: SJVN is a raging idiot
by Temcat on Sat 31st Jan 2009 10:17 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: SJVN is a raging idiot"
Temcat Member since:
2005-10-18

Which illustrates the point. How do I know that I should hit Enter?

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: SJVN is a raging idiot
by csixty4 on Thu 29th Jan 2009 14:08 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: SJVN is a raging idiot"
csixty4 Member since:
2007-10-08

File -> Get Info -> Name & Extension

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: SJVN is a raging idiot
by Temcat on Sat 31st Jan 2009 10:16 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: SJVN is a raging idiot"
Temcat Member since:
2005-10-18

Now that's intuitive, isn't it. Because setting and getting is exactly the same thing.

Reply Score: 2

The thing is...
by Bully on Tue 27th Jan 2009 14:52 UTC
Bully
Member since:
2006-04-07

If the change isn't an improvement in someones eyes (or if they simply like the way things work as they are) then ofcourse they won't be happy to do things different just for the sake of it being different.

Reply Score: 7

RE: The thing is...
by mat69 on Tue 27th Jan 2009 16:45 UTC in reply to "The thing is..."
mat69 Member since:
2006-03-29

Well imo the problem is that sometimes you do not see the advantages/improvements of a changed system because you are so used to something else.

It is like what tux68 wrote: You want to do work yet you are "forced" to acclimate with that new system first.

It could very well be that after a while you'd like the new stuff or that you simply switch to something different.

Now companies have it pretty hard, on the one hand people ask for features otherwise they would not buy the new product -- as it is now none wants to pay for a service pack at least not from MS. Yet as soon as there are new features it is either too complicated/overloaded or too different.

Sometimes you simply have to learn something new for a gain.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: The thing is...
by Lennie on Wed 28th Jan 2009 15:59 UTC in reply to "RE: The thing is..."
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

"Now companies have it pretty hard, on the one hand people ask for features otherwise they would not buy the new product -- "

actually I've never seen anyone buy Windows, they usually just buy a computer.

Reply Score: 2

"aversion to change"?
by kawazu on Tue 27th Jan 2009 14:55 UTC
kawazu
Member since:
2005-12-11

Though to some point I have to agree with the very meaning of this article, I still have to object in another way: "Aversion to change"? Maybe. But let's put it another way: If one is pleased and happy with what (s)he got, would there be a considerable reason to change? Put another way: Surely I like what KDE 4.x does from a technical point of view, and yet I feel more productive using my "old-fashioned" XFCE desktop tweaked to virtually the last bolt available to be right the way I want it / need it to be in my everyday work. Why should I eventually change for something new which, again, requires learning curve to be mastered just to be capable of working with a tool rather low-level (the base interface of my operating system), which will require learning curve and work in identifying things worth optimizing (in terms of configuration to say the very least) to make it a pleasant environment for everyday work? If doing this change, what do I really get in return, an eventually more visually appealing user interface left aside? What could eventually motivate me to overcome any "aversion to change" and adopt the "latest and greatest" with open heart and mind?

Reply Score: 1

RE: "aversion to change"?
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 27th Jan 2009 16:17 UTC in reply to ""aversion to change"?"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

If one is pleased and happy with what (s)he got, would there be a considerable reason to change?


The problem is that technically inclined people will only apply the above reasoning to their own situation. As soon as a Windows users says "But I'm happy, why should I change?", he's an idiot, he doesn't understand anything about computers, and he doesn't like change.

I'm sorry, but that's just hypocrisy.

That's my problem with this.

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: "aversion to change"?
by StephenBeDoper on Tue 27th Jan 2009 16:49 UTC in reply to "RE: "aversion to change"?"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

The problem is that technically inclined people will only apply the above reasoning to their own situation. As soon as a Windows users says "But I'm happy, why should I change?", he's an idiot, he doesn't understand anything about computers, and he doesn't like change.


There's a fairly well-known expression which applies to that statement: "All generalizations are inherently false (including this one)."

"Technically-inclined" is not a synonym for "zealot" or "fundamentalist," not by any stretch of the imagination.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: "aversion to change"?
by kawazu on Tue 27th Jan 2009 18:27 UTC in reply to "RE: "aversion to change"?"
kawazu Member since:
2005-12-11


...
As soon as a Windows users says "But I'm happy, why should I change?", he's an idiot, he doesn't understand anything about computers, and he doesn't like change.
...


I see your point, but I am not arguing against this. Sure, there is fanatism on both sides of the fence, and there are morons "here" as they are "there". I assume that at the very least if someone is into doing serious work using a computer, goin' for another platform is something to be a carefully made, carefully prepared decision, as this person is simply not likely to be able of throwing away one sharp tool for the simple sake of having another tool someone else considers "better" for whichever reason. I have, in an enterprise environment, seen just a lot of trouble arising from moving from "old" to "new" MS Office including the "new user interface", causing serious trouble to many well-trained, "old-fashioned" users who were able to blindly operate their old office applications and, now, all of a sudden, thrown into something which makes dealing (and, after all) working with it just way more difficult for no particular reason.

Same about operating systems: My personal preferences aside, I don't see why anyone should move from Windows to Linux (or vice versa, that is, or from Unix to Windows) with no particular reason. Why fix something that ain't broken? It gets interesting however, in my opinion, the very moment this decision _has_ to be made, i.e. whenever some company is about to buy new computers, facing the situation that suddenly Windows XP is not available so they are left with either choosing Vista or goin' for Linux/OpenSolaris/whatever. And _this_ is the point where I indeed think the "i-am-happy-with-windows-so-why-should-i-change" guy might be wrong, leaving out the fact that, eventually, moving from Windows XP or even 2000 to Vista won't be less painful than moving from said platform to Linux. But that seems another pair of shoes anyhow...

Reply Score: 2

Aversion to Change
by Yagami on Tue 27th Jan 2009 14:58 UTC
Yagami
Member since:
2006-07-15

with "aversion to change" you said it all. well spotted.

i myself , like to test and experience visions of workspaces and work ways.

there are good ideas everywhere. i just stick where i think the post positive ideas are.

i still think that the way i mostly like to work is enlightenment dr16. i was a gnome 0.x and 1.x user , then switch to kde 2x and 3 and 4.

i dont really have any complaints about kde3 ( just lack of compositing i guess ), and i still love my screenshots of those.
anyway i tried kde 4.x and liked it alot. loved it is what is it is.

there are still things i dont like ( lack of multi desktops like enlightenment ) but the potential is realllllllly huge.

by the way i am using kde 4.2 final in opensuse, and still havent found a crash since kde 4.2 rc1.

i even have a nice workflow in vista. and of course i will try windows 7.

i just dunno about gnome , dont really like it at all. not wanting to create flames, but it just seems there is nothing there new , innovative.

Reply Score: 3

To Boldly Go
by boots on Tue 27th Jan 2009 14:59 UTC
boots
Member since:
2005-07-06

There is a difference between subtly changing how things are presented / performed by the user and changing / rewriting the entire underlying infrastructure that supports that. KDE4 does both. Which means aside from user frustration in terms of re-learning paradigms (with little or no discernable or tested productivity gains) there is also the extreme frustration of getting things to just plain work. perfectly well working applications have lost much functionality and interop. Will it be worth it? Maybe, eventually. In the meantime (I talking years) it has not been overly successful from a user perspective.

Reply Score: 1

RE: To Boldly Go
by Yagami on Tue 27th Jan 2009 15:30 UTC in reply to "To Boldly Go"
Yagami Member since:
2006-07-15

your comment remminder me of netscape 4 / mozilla.

would you like to be still using netscape 4.x ?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: To Boldly Go
by boots on Tue 27th Jan 2009 15:48 UTC in reply to "RE: To Boldly Go"
boots Member since:
2005-07-06

Okay, now remember how long it took Mozilla to get going. YEARS. That was a single application. We are talking about an entire platform here that encompasses everything from low level IO and applicaiton communication layers all the way up the stack to user interaction. The point isn't that change is not needed -- the point is that if you change everything at once you will also break everything at once. That is not a particularly good outcome and quite understandably, not one that will be well received.

Edited 2009-01-27 15:49 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: To Boldly Go
by Yagami on Tue 27th Jan 2009 16:37 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: To Boldly Go"
Yagami Member since:
2006-07-15

but nobody is changing it all at once.

kde4 is being developed along time ago, even when kde3 was still also being developed.

lots of frameworks existed before also, like dbus.

its slowly ( actually very fast ) getting there.

that is why kde4.0 was released. kde needs the community and third party support. kde 4.2 is the starting point of getting return for the boldness.

we are there already ! imagine mozilla 1.0 was released today ;)

the problem was that some distros started releasing kde 4.0 as the default! imagine a distro making mozilla milestone 1 as the default browser !

Reply Score: 5

Kokopelli
Member since:
2005-07-06

I am sorry but the whole argument that KDE 4 criticisms are centered around an aversion to change is simply delusional.

Yes there are users who will resist change and will criticise a product due to that, this is not and has not been the primary criticisms for KDE4. Most technology advocate sites have praised KDE 4's direction with Plasma, Solid, Phonon, etc... It is a good direction and will eventually lead to a good user experience. 4.0 was not it. 4.0 was a disaster in communication down the entire pipeline. It was not usable as a desktop by any but the most forgiving. Yes Aaron and a few others posted on their blogs warnings but the statements were marginal and late. Users were not clearly communicated to, nor were distro teams evidently since many went to 4.0.

4.1 was an improvement but still far from stable or feature complete. Features had to be deferred and removed to allow the release. This was not a decision due to a paradigm shift in the way to use the desktop but a pragmatic decision to allow the product to be released.

4.2 is a usable desktop in some instances but still has some glaring and significant problems. For me the completely broken interaction with xrandr on laptops with intel graphics is significant. Rotating a screen crashes X in KDE 4 but not any other desktop environment I use. Adding a monitor using xrandr sometimes crashes X, sometimes KDE depending on the laptop. Either way I have to restart the session to get a usable desktop and still have no second monitor. This is not an aversion to change, this is the inability to do a basic function.

Most users of Linux who have been at it for more than a year or two have gone through multiple desktop environments, usually with significantly different ways on how to configure and operate in. Kde 3, Gnome, XFCE, and even KDE 4 in their default configuration have the same basic concepts for interaction, configuration, and window control. KDE 3 offers much more in the way of user configuration, while Gnome offers sensible defaults. But when it comes down to it the start menu, task bar, and application control via title bar and window level menu is common. Fluxbox, FVWM (yes FVWM is a windows manager but it can be configured to act as a dektop environment), Awesome and other more fringe environments behave differently from this common paradigm though. How many Linux users of over 3 years that you know have not tried at LEAST 3 distributions and various desktop environments? The willingness, even desire, to distro/desktop hop argues against a long term Linux users aversion to change. Indeed the average Linux enthusiast spends a significant amount of time playing and trying different environments to find what is most effective for him. This tends to suggest that most Linux users have the predisposition to experiment and determine effectiveness of an environment. The fact is KDE 4.0 and 4.1 was a significant step down in ease of use and effectiveness from 3.5.

KDE 4 is currently not as effective a Desktop environment as KDE 3 is. 4.2 is in my opinion on parity with Gnome now but has significant usability issues to its detriment. But do not balme the user for being critical of an application for dropping or breaking basic features. This is not an aversion to change it is a simple reaction to removing that which we expect out of a desktop environment.

This was from KDE 4.2 by the way but I have now come downstairs and want to use my second monitor so need to switch back to Gnome.

Edited 2009-01-27 15:27 UTC

Reply Score: 11

Yagami Member since:
2006-07-15

sure there are alot of distribution hops in linux users.

but there are alot or most linux users that swear to a single linux distro. and use it through years, even when read or hear that others are better in some reviews.

kde4.2 dont have any usuability problem for me, but i dont have a second monitor, so i dont know.

but then again, i must and old linux user, since most of the time i used linux , it was hard to make even my primary monitor work, let alone a secondary. ( i am talking linux / X , regardless of desktop environment ).

but what basic features are missing ? what is considered basic features ? are are usuability issues and HIG studies ? at least kde 4.2 allows to completly hide the panel. there , gnome sucks kde rulez. ( being overly exagerated )

i guess the point from thom can be that : it depends on the users. some have issues with it , some not.

you have , i dont ! i dont have stock money in kde , so i dont need to defend it or be forgiving.

example : millions of people use windows. i still dunno how people manage to have a desktop without virtual desktops. same goes to osX before spaces.how in earth would anyone claim osX had a good desktop without virtual desktops is beyong me.

since kde4 i have become addicted to activities. until another desktop implements activities, all but kde4 have usuability issues ;)

Reply Score: 2

sakeniwefu Member since:
2008-02-26

at least kde 4.2 allows to completly hide the panel. there , gnome sucks kde rulez. ( being overly exagerated )


And this is where I disagree with the line of the article. See, I can take change, plasmoids are nice and can be useful.

However, when gnome panel wouldn't autohide properly they were taking features away from us.

The start menu cannot be simpler than the original Win95. You could browse it with two clicks. Now apparently we have to click and browse endless menus in order to be a *modern* OS.

In Windows 7, the classic theme is gone forever, now it seems you need 4096x3000 displays in order to fit a widget into your screen. I understand that some people have large screens and enjoy useless eye candy, but to me it is stealing screen real state. The same theme without ludicrously enlarged widgets and taskbar, wouldn't bother me at all.

Did Microsoft have to design the ribbons so that they took up *more* space than the original mess they were meant to replace?

Oh, BTW, and the Oscar goes to, GUI animations. "Yes you have clicked on that menu, but wait because you have to witness it unfold all its 3D beauty until you are allowed to do anything useful". You win extra points if the user cannot disable them or doing so will remove additional features.

All these are changes that remove functionality for the sake of change. Why do we have to put up with that?

Reply Score: 6

Kokopelli Member since:
2005-07-06

In fairness I just tried again and the last update to 4.2 partially fixed the dual screen problem on one of my 2 laptops. I can now go to dual screen without it crashing X.

- KWin crashes about every 30 seconds but the desltop stays somehow.
- There is a strut on the secondary screen where I do not have a panel.
- Plasma, thus desktop and widgets, does not work on the secondary screen.

But KDE does not crash and I can move windows over to the secondary screen so it is a start. Definitely not how it should be operating but usable within certain limitations. My older laptop still crashes KDE though.

That sort of sums up my experiences with KDE 4 so far. Buggy, crash happy, not as flexible, but with potential. Secondary screen just crashed entirely so better wrap the message up.

Reply Score: 0

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

For me the completely broken interaction with xrandr on laptops with intel graphics is significant.


This is possibly due to a regression in the Intel graphics driver, Mesa or Xorg.

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=ubuntu_904_intel...

http://www.phoronix.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15061

It does not necessarily have anything to do with KDE4. KDE4 does interact with the graphics driver and Xorg in different ways than other desktops, so it can pick up something broken in the graphics software that other desktops do not exercise.

Edited 2009-01-27 23:31 UTC

Reply Score: 4

roddog Member since:
2006-03-24

I just don't see KDE4 as a "Radical" change. Sure the underlying mechanisms are being rewritten and there is a bunch more bling associated with sitting in front of it. But in essence, it is the same experience. There is a "Start"-like button that brings up a menu, there is a task bar, there are some desktop widgets that can do tricks. This is not, imho, a "Radical" departure from the win95 outlay. When I think of Radical changes, I think of things like bumptop or some other interface that actually departs from the general framework set forth over a decade ago.

Reply Score: 1

v Aack!!
by cjcox on Tue 27th Jan 2009 15:56 UTC
RE: Aack!!
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 27th Jan 2009 16:17 UTC in reply to "Aack!!"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

In all fairness, the main reason for criticism is that the KDE developers PROMOTED 4 as the end all of end alls


I think you should go back and read the article again, because the point went *wooooosh* above your head.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Aack!!
by Soulbender on Tue 27th Jan 2009 16:32 UTC in reply to "Aack!!"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

So 4.0, which was a radical departure missing at least (AT LEAST) 75% of the features of KDE3, when it came out, it wasn't well received (with good reason).


Sure, being a moron is a reason, just not a very acceptable one. Seriously, how could anyone have missed that 4.0 was not for the end-user? It was said goddamn everywhere.
If you, as an end-user, is disappointed bring it up with your distro. This whole "the end-users were disappointed" is nonsense.
End-users don't go to kde.org, download the sources and build it themselves. End-users were not disappointed, people (often so-called "power users") who expected too much and ignored the warnings were disappointed.
If distros used it as their main desktop prematurely is not KDE's problem.

Reply Score: 8

RE: Aack!!
by setec_astronomy on Tue 27th Jan 2009 16:51 UTC in reply to "Aack!!"
setec_astronomy Member since:
2007-11-17

It is this negative feedback cycle that worries me most. Not that KDE 4.0 was not ready for end-user consumption and nevertheless included as default in some distros (serious question to those who say that the KDE devs did not tell the distro maintainers what to expect from KDE 4.0: When did testing releases prior to including them in feature plans went out of style? Low and behold, even if I was only a mere XFCE user with a passing interest in KDE4 back in November 2007, I knew what to expect of KDE 4.0 and what not to expect prior to 4.2, because I build the damn thing from SVN and tested it.), not that after years and years of development, the KDE4 devs went a bit over the top and wrote an overly enthusiastic release note without warnings. And certainly not that a group of developers chose to
increase the competetiveness of their framework by some quite fundamental rewritings in certain parts.

No, what worries me is that several people seemingly ignore the repeated "we will add most features of 3.x once the new framework is in shape" messages from the developers (exhibit A: The "no more icons on the desktop" tempest in a teapot), and once the features arrive claim that this is because finally the programmers have come to senses, seen the point of the users (and their failings, respectively) and implemented what always should have been done in the first place.

It worries me, because we as recipients of the F/OSS ecosystem seemingly have learned nothing of past experiences (e.g. GNOME gained most of their features back after the foundations of the desktop was sound, even though I'm confident that it will not take as long in the case of KDE4). And it worries me, because the line between a passionate user base and one that reaches for their lynch mob gear and makes the job of the devs none the easier seems to be a rather fine one.

The current UI of KDE4 is implemented using libplasma, with the very-same basic building-block functionality that any revolutionary, UI-from-outer-space may use now or in the future (e.g. logic for sorting/grouping of tasks in a taskbar, menus, the concept of runners and activities, data-engines, etc. ).

There are many valid reasons not to use KDE4 over KDE3, because (for example) multi-monitor setup seems to be still a sore point as has been mentioned above, not all graphic setups offer statisfactionary performance, etc. . But this "if it weren't for the peer pressure, those crazy KDE4 devs would have completly screwed up" is a bit frightening.

And yes, the distress a lot of KDE users vented during the 4.0 and 4.1 cycle led to a different appoach in the roadmap, especially for plasma (so that reimplementing the missing parts of the "old school" desktop was given a higher priority compared to implementing the promised, revolutionary stuff on top of the very same framework).

Yet I fail to see how the "Come and see the violence inherent in the system. Help! Help! I'm being repressed!" bashings/lamentings of KDE4 in the past year have helped anybody, safe for those who did it to lower their blood pressure, which may be acceptable as a measure of emergency medical relief.

Reply Score: 9

RE[2]: Aack!!
by Kokopelli on Tue 27th Jan 2009 18:46 UTC in reply to "RE: Aack!!"
Kokopelli Member since:
2005-07-06

The corollary is let's not heap praise and make excuses where there is not merit. KDE 4.X has potential and the code is pretty darn clean. But if it has issues then criticism is warranted. Too often advocates (usually not the developers) try and hide behind the shield of "it is free software either take it as is or fix it yourself." This flew 8 years ago but we hold released products to a higher standard now. The KDE team themselves are not completely to blame, the distros and users share some of the blame. But they are not with clean hands either.

I am glad to be patient and minimize my comments on KDE 4 as long as something vaguely close to reality is kept involving the past and current releases. About the only time I comment about 4.X is when the apology brigade comes out. Similarly I am troubled by comments that dwell on 4.0 without giving credit to progress made. 4.2 is not all wine and roses and I am not sure I can come up with polite terms for 4.0. To try and sweep problems under the rug by blaming "aversion to change" is quite simply a load of crap.

4.X is a branch with a lot of potential. Say what you like about it. Say what you dislike about it too. But do not lessen the value of valid criticisms by blaming the user. Not all the criticisms of 4.X are valid but if Thom can make sweeping statements then so can I. ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Aack!!
by setec_astronomy on Tue 27th Jan 2009 19:32 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Aack!!"
setec_astronomy Member since:
2007-11-17

The corollary is let's not heap praise and make excuses where there is not merit. KDE 4.X has potential and the code is pretty darn clean. But if it has issues then criticism is warranted.

Fully agreed.
Too often advocates (usually not the developers) try and hide behind the shield of "it is free software either take it as is or fix it yourself."

My personal pet theory (attention, you are leaving the rational/scientific area now and are entering the armchair-psychologists lair!) is, that the whole discussion is so emotional, because non-developing users (e.g. the vast majority) feel helpless, one way or the other. Those who feel left behind by the changes pretty much by definition and those on the side lines appreciating the changes (that would be the "appologist brigade") who tend to engage in I-can-scream-even-louder-than-you discussions, probably because they feel this is one way to contribute, e.g. defending the developers.

I know. I tend to do so, too.

The KDE team themselves are not completely to blame, the distros and users share some of the blame. But they are not with clean hands either.


True. I'm probably more sympathethic towards the developers pov because I understand the mechanisms behind it due to first hand experience (never underestimate the motivating effects and the willingness to go an extra mile/code an extra hour because of a rapidly approaching deadline), but I hope that we (e.g. users, developers, distrobutors/packages, etc.) are able to learn from this experience to avoid similar destructive situations in the future.

I know that just because KDE 4.2 works for me does not mean that it will work for everybody, this should go without saying. Positive feedback cycles without filtering and constructive critisism are probably as counter-productive and dangerous in the long term as negative feedback cycles with a selective memory component and without the ability to reach an understanding between developer and user (although the former cycles are a lot more motivating for developers :-) ). I would probably have not responded to the OP had I not heard this "finally, the devs are starting to listen to their users" meme increasingly often in the last weeks.

I considered the negative cycle to be dangerous, because it tends to be memorised as a pattern e.g. disgruntled user complains and bashes a project -> project changes direction -> user concludes change happened beacuse of his reaction. It may be that I'm a bit hypersensitive in this area due to personal experiences, though

Please feel free to correct me whenever I march with the appologist brigade.

Edited 2009-01-27 19:37 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Aack!!
by Moochman on Tue 27th Jan 2009 21:41 UTC in reply to "Aack!!"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

I hear a lot of people discussing how bad SUSE's "start" panel change they made to Gnome is... and how bad the YaST and Compiz setting manager panels are... BUT supposedly, these were designed based on countless trials with ACTUAL USERS.... so the UI is "good" because of that, right?


This is the interesting thing about usability testing... it doesn't always lead to the optimal solution. Usually this is because in order to do said testing, the implementation must already be in place. If the said implementation isn't especially optimal to begin with, then no amount of usability testing will fix it.

I don't know the details of the SUSE testing, but my guess is that they pitted the old start panel against the new one and tested to see how fast users performed various actions and what kinds of feedback they got. They thereby found that the new menu outperformed the old, and maybe made a few tweaks based on feedback.

Whether the new menu is truly optimal, however, is still unproven--and is in fact impossible to prove via quantitative methods. The best measure, though, is probably the response of the actual users once it's released into the wild.

Of course then if it turns out no one likes it, it's too late....

Which is, suffice it to say, the reason why design *prior to implementation* is so important.

Disclaimer: I'm not saying SUSE didn't design prior to implementation; I have no idea how their process worked. I just felt like going off on a tangent about the pitfalls of relying purely on usability engineering.

Edited 2009-01-27 21:44 UTC

Reply Score: 2

What I think is simply this ...
by de_wizze on Tue 27th Jan 2009 16:28 UTC
de_wizze
Member since:
2005-10-31

People who are tasked with the responsibility of assisting with the use and understanding of technology should be expected to gain that understanding some how. If they have educated opinions to share with regards to what is being done that affects those people I think it is perfectly fine for them to share that opinion.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Coxy
by Coxy on Tue 27th Jan 2009 17:00 UTC
Coxy
Member since:
2006-07-01

Great article! and so true.

Reply Score: 3

Change is not my issue...
by ncc4100 on Tue 27th Jan 2009 17:00 UTC
ncc4100
Member since:
2006-05-10

Like most people, I hate to see my environment change - especially when I am fully comfortable with it. However, change is inevitable and I deal with it. However, what bothers me the most is incomplete change put upon the users. Vista was released too early and frankly, so was KDE 4. User interface designers have to respect the users. If a change is required, the change must be polished. I loved KDE. I have been a loyal user for a long time. Recently, I upgraded (via Kubuntu 8.10) to 4.1. While it is nice, it definitely was not ready for prime time. I have a relatively good machine (dual core, 3 GHz, 2 gig memory, 10K RPM disk) and the interface is slow, noticeably slow. Some applications don't exit gracefully (firefox hangs 90% of the time when I close it) and I am forced to use the kill command. This didn't happen in KDE 3 using the same program (firefox). People are leaving KDE because of the issues that the KDE put upon the users.

Vista has backward compatibility issues, processes hang and a reboot is required. While these issues do not happen to everybody, it happens enough.

Change isn't bad. However, programmers need to be aware of their users. If a user interface needs a change, the change needs to polished and usable. We need to stop treating the users as beta testers.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Change is not my issue...
by 3rdalbum on Thu 29th Jan 2009 02:43 UTC in reply to "Change is not my issue..."
3rdalbum Member since:
2008-05-26

3GHz Core 2 Duo, 4 gigabytes of RAM, Nvidia 8600GT, 7200RPM disk. No KDE 4 performance problems here - in fact, Kwin is noticably smoother than Compiz. There *was* a performance issue with Plasma but that was fixed by an Nvidia driver update.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Change is not my issue...
by ncc4100 on Thu 29th Jan 2009 18:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Change is not my issue..."
ncc4100 Member since:
2006-05-10

What version of the nvidia driver are you running?

Reply Score: 1

Of course people are hesitant to adapt...
by orestes on Tue 27th Jan 2009 17:22 UTC
orestes
Member since:
2005-07-06

Adapting costs time and money. You can spend all day talking about new APIs, better interfaces, and eventual increased productivity... but if the current, reliably working solution is "good enough" where's the incentive to go out of one's way to adopt a new system? What's the killer feature that renders the new releases anything but superfluous?

Let's be honest here, what, out of all of Windows 7's feature set is compelling enough to force a migration from XP from a business perspective? The only thing I can think of besides the eventual termination of XP's support would be the enhancements in 64-bit computing but even that's a stretch for Joe Office Manager.

Reply Score: 2

Agreed
by massysett on Tue 27th Jan 2009 17:40 UTC
massysett
Member since:
2007-12-04

The more experienced I get, the less I like to change. I know how things work and I just don't want to bother learning a new way. One reason I like Unix is because there is lots of old stuff in it that still works. I prefer to use some things precisely because they won't change much. For instance, all else equal, I will write a zsh script rather than a Python one because I know zsh is not nearly as much of a moving target as Python. Less work for me to change it in the future. I've recently discovered old stuff like M4 and find it quite useful. So I do like learning new things, but if I have an old way of doing things that works okay, I don't like to bother switching.

I do applaud KDE for making changes, even though I hesitate to use them. When my distributor (Debian) finally brings in KDE 4, I will switch to it. I'm just not rushing to use it (unlike SJVN; it seems he makes it a point to install brand new software just so he can talk about how much he hates it.)

Reply Score: 4

Flawed reasoning
by StephenBeDoper on Tue 27th Jan 2009 17:50 UTC
StephenBeDoper
Member since:
2005-07-06

There are several flaws with the argument presented in TFA.

To start with, the crux of the argument seems to be: "Any time a technically-inclined user expresses opposition to changes to software, it's because they have an inherent, blind aversion to all change."

The most obvious & fundamental problem is that such an absolutist, sweeping generalization is a really poor foundation for *any* argument. Aside from that, it ignores two significant factors:

1) That argument makes no distinction between changes that result in real, practical benefit - and changes that are nothing but change for-the-sake-of change. Granted, some changes are actually improvements - but there's (at least) an equal number that are just "rearranging the deck chairs" to appease newness-addicts (the "If it's not new, it sucks" crowd).

2) And related to the above, it's usually the technically-inclined users who are in the best position to make an informed judgment as to whether or not a change is beneficial.

3) As others have already pointed out, advanced users are the ones whose productivity is most likely to suffer because of changes. If the cost of a change (in terms of lost productivity, time spent re-learning, etc) outweighs the benefits, then that's a situation where aversion to change is both informed and reasonable.

I also disagree with the notion that technically-inclined users have a greater aversion to change than non-technical users - at the very least, the reality is a little more nuanced than TFA paints it.

The bare, basic functionality of software usually doesn't change significantly between releases - and if someone doesn't use any features beyond the basics (more likely in the case of non-technical users), then there's much less chance of problems resulting from the changes.

And on the flip side, non-technical users are much more likely to depend on rote-memorization of a series of steps (without really understanding the overall path, or the reasons for the individual steps). Anyone who has done technical support or training of non-technical users can relate experiences where users become hopelessly-lost because of some minor change (E.g., one changed word in the label of a button or menu item).

Reply Score: 4

The problem is...
by pantheraleo on Tue 27th Jan 2009 18:30 UTC
pantheraleo
Member since:
2007-03-07

More often than not, these changes are nothing more than visual effects at best, and a step backwards in usability at worst. For example every attempt to replace the taskbar has usually resulted in something even worse. When it comes to virtual desktops, Apple's "Spaces" is a usability nightmare. The four little boxes on the taskbar on GNOME for switching desktops are simple, effective, and get the job done.

It's not that I have an aversion to change. It's that most of these changes are nothing more than showing off visual effects--often at the expense of usability.

Edited 2009-01-27 18:30 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: The problem is... vs Explore/Open, Raskin
by pg--az on Tue 27th Jan 2009 21:22 UTC in reply to "The problem is..."
pg--az Member since:
2006-03-15

a step backwards in usability at worst.


I have been unable to figure out how to quickly make the folder-tree-index at the left of a Windows7 Explorer instance go away, in just that one instance. Definitely in the context-menu for folder-shortcuts, there used to be "Explore" just below "Open", and EVERY DAY I would often choose "Open" because I don't need to move-around from some folders and I want to conserve on my screen-space. This is a great example because from a coding point of view it is impossible to imagine a scenario in which providing this functionality would cause any difficulty. You've already got the information - to just clip the viewport is enough to make the folder-pane go away ! I conclude that it can be nothing other than some minimalism-guru who is responsible for this nice feature being discarded.

I searched all of the comments and found no homage paid to Jef Raskin's "The Humane Interface". I know of no other work which goes so deep into the importance of Trained Habits. Except, you can search slashdot for the keyword BLINDSIGHT, and you encounter exactly one hit, what will become a classic textbook case on the "Habit" part of your brain.

Reply Score: 1

80/20 Rule
by elsewhere on Tue 27th Jan 2009 18:47 UTC
elsewhere
Member since:
2005-07-13

The common thread in all of the criticism about KDE 4.x and missing functionality is that the complainers dismiss the project as a failure because it doesn't meet their personal requirements. Any project that strives for 100% user satisfaction is doomed to stagnate from a lack of innovation due to developer fear and paralysis of alienating any potential user.

I'd argue that 80% or more of KDE's legacy featureset was utilized by 20% or less of the user base. When decisions need to be made as to prioritizing development objectives, the project can:

a) strive to maintain functionality for the core user base at the possible expense of the "poweruser" base

b) strive to maintain functionality for the powerusers at the possible detriment of development for the core user base.

c) strive to maintain all existing functionality while somehow managing to build new features and create a forward looking foundation

Certainly many would say that c) is the ideal to strive for. But I see two funamaental problems with c). First, the KDE developer pool is limited and that is the primary reason that priorities need to be set and sacrifices need to be made, even if only temporarily. If KDE waited until 4.0 was ready to meet everybody's expectations, then it would still be stuck in a never-ending development cycle, and 3.5 would stagnate and suffer from lack of developer attention.

The other issue is the idea of ensuring legacy support to avoid alienating any of your existing users. This is the MS model that insistst that every version of Windows should be as backward-compatible, which introduces a whole different set of issues. Security issues and fundamental flaws from the legacy platform are inevitably incorporated into the "new and improved" platform, and it just becomes a mess, even if the user experience is preserved.

Many of the features that are missing from the KDE4 transition were hacks upon hacks built upon the legacy codebase. They were often unmaintained and undocumented. Trying to migrate them into the new codebase could have caused additional issues with support, stability and code development.

You can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. These examples are becoming cliched for having been mentioned so many times, but looking back at OSX 10.0, Windows XP, Gnome 2.0, Kernel 2.6, KDE 2.0 etc., all of those projects met the same amount of derision and criticism. All of those projects evolved into stable, full-featured systems that many users now hold as the paradigms for platform stability and capability.

The problem with the 80/20 rule is that the 20% complaining gives the impression that the other 80% are "suffering" too. People complain far more often than they praise, and often far more loudly.

In my own un-empirical experience, I've demonstrated KDE 4.2 to non-tech savvy users in my office. People that have never used linux, or have barely touched it. Simply showing them the start menu was enough to for them to start web browsing, launch a word processor etc. Even accessing shared drives on our MS network. In some cases they even commented that Dolphin was preferable to Windows Explorer. Their impression was that the desktop was polished and "professional" looking (I keep my desktop effects moderate and don't overdo them), and surprised those who were at least familiar with linux in as much as knowing it exists.

To me, that is important progress for the KDE project. That is the direction they need to move in. KDE cannot hamstring itself by being a poweruser desktop, it needs to embrace a wider user base. The poweruser features can be added in a sane and rational manner as the DE evolves, but their narrow usage requirements shouldn't drive the entire scope of the project.

TBH, I agree with the general point that the non-savvy users are actually much more willing to accept change. Yes, they may rely on knowing exactly what folder something is in, or the steps to do something via menu features, but by that same token, when you direct them to do something differently, they simply adjust their process. There's a learning curve, but I think the size of that curve is vastly exaggerated. And perhaps more pointedly, they don't start blogging about how awful it all is.

The KDE team moved the cheese. Some are adapting, some are stubbornly refusing. There's nothing different there that couldn't be applied to any other project.

It is sad when a large-scale OSS project loses users, but it's to be expected, and can be vastly outweighed by the potential to bring in new users.

Besides, I suspect most of the "switchers" will be back soon enough. Complaining about missing functionality in KDE and switching to a certain alternate DE instead has a bit of a hollow ring to it. KDE 3.5 is still around and will remain around for some time, giving people a chance to transition when they're ready.

Just my 20c...

Reply Score: 8

I'm not averse to change...
by UltraZelda64 on Tue 27th Jan 2009 19:02 UTC
UltraZelda64
Member since:
2006-12-05

...I'm just averse to changes that make no damn sense. My biggest UI complaint in Vista was that they not only moved crap, but the crap they moved was more logical and just made more sense where it was in previous Windows versions than the new Vista-and-up locations.

Not to mention it's like a Frankenstein GUI; some things appear now as a nice flashy page in Windows Explorer, some things appear in the "classic" style settings window, some things (like Screen Resolution) appear as something that doesn't seem to match anything else. It appears that Microsoft has yet to fix the mess they've made (in Vista) in Windows 7, unfortunately. If they'd just clean that mess up, one of my biggest complaints would be cleared. Of course, dozens would remain, but it'd be a huge improvement.

With that said, I will say that Win7 does have some nice features. Some of my favorites being the new taskbar, Aero Shake, Aero Peek, the Ribbon UI in Wordpad and Paint, and the ability to quickly make a window take up exactly half of the screen with a quick and natural gesture.

As for KDE4... I was on the side of people who just thought that it was an extremely buggy, featureless release that should have never happened. The last version I tried was 4.12 or 4.15 or something like that (in other words, the 4.1 series), and I still left extremely disappointed. Still far too buggy, to the point I don't even care what features they added to it. Hopefully, since Slackware is already switching to it, its version is a massive improvement... because every time I tried it, it had a long way to go...

Reply Score: 2

Never trust those who complain about change
by kaiwai on Tue 27th Jan 2009 19:19 UTC
kaiwai
Member since:
2005-07-06

Never believe anyone who labels them self as either an 'expert', 'power user' or 'specialist' - because 9/10 out of ten, you assume that they actually have knowledge when in reality it is nothing more than a patch work of recorded set of reactions to crisis as they appear. In other words, as soon as the crisis ever so slightly slips out of what they're accustomed to seeing - they're instantly lost. Its almost like watching an error occur in an application and the programmer hasn't set up a way of gracefully handling it.

For me, I love to see changes that help me; Windows 7 is a great move forward in terms of usability. Now, don't get me wrong, I still have a good amount of vitriol for the category based control panel mind you - not because it is different but because of how things have been split up and put into each one; where you'd assume something would be - isn't actually there. IMHO the better way would have been to copy what Mac OS X had done with their system preferences panel - but thats just me.

So with that downside, there are upswings. Office 2007 is no longer cluttered and complicated; there is one way of doing something, and it is the best and easiest way. That is how it should be, simply have 100 ways of doing something adds nothing to the productivity and in some cases confuses the user in the long run. So the ease of use and simplification of the interface required me to learn some of the features again (that is, the location and how to execute them) but apart from that, besides a small slow down in productivity, in the long term I'm considerably more productive. Same goes for Office 2008 on Mac which I use on a regular basis - besides its slight slowness to 2004 on the PowerPC, Office 2008 is a leap ahead in terms of features and ease of use. Like Office 2007 I required some re-learning but in the long run I have been more productive.

As for why 'experts', 'power users' and 'specialists' deride changes? its because it exposes the flaws in the way they learned how to use a tool. Rather than learning the fundamentals - everything has been a reaction to something occurring rather than learning the fundamentals of what is going on behind the scenes. As a result of this flawed learning process, when changes come along, they're back to square one and they hate the idea that they're ultimately as ignorant to the system as a first time user - their ego is crushed and they can't handle it. Rather than seeing it as a challenge to take on with enthusiasm, they rally against change under the banner of "it was a stupid change pushed by marketing". All their insecurity is exposed at that moment - too bad people take their vitriol as valid feedback when it is little more than a knee jerk reaction to change.

Reply Score: 4

xiaokj Member since:
2005-06-30

Never believe anyone who labels them self as either an 'expert', 'power user' or 'specialist' - because 9/10 out of ten, you assume that they actually have knowledge when in reality it is nothing more than a patch work of recorded set of reactions to crisis as they appear. In other words, as soon as the crisis ever so slightly slips out of what they're accustomed to seeing - they're instantly lost.


Here lies some universal truth. Remind me what happened in the financial markets again?

As for why 'experts', 'power users' and 'specialists' deride changes? its because it exposes the flaws in the way they learned how to use a tool. Rather than learning the fundamentals - everything has been a reaction to something occurring rather than learning the fundamentals of what is going on behind the scenes. As a result of this flawed learning process, when changes come along, they're back to square one and they hate the idea that they're ultimately as ignorant to the system as a first time user - their ego is crushed and they can't handle it. Rather than seeing it as a challenge to take on with enthusiasm, they rally against change under the banner of "it was a stupid change pushed by marketing". All their insecurity is exposed at that moment - too bad people take their vitriol as valid feedback when it is little more than a knee jerk reaction to change.


Please do not be so absolutist. Many have stated valid reasons to be adverse to change which include muscle memory and the appalling quality of some changes.

Reply Score: 1

bah
by solarcontrol on Tue 27th Jan 2009 21:15 UTC
solarcontrol
Member since:
2008-11-17

EVERYONE and ANYONE dislikes learning or relearning an OS or app.
A geek that likes his tweaks, a noob that can't find his butt with both hands, or anything in between - most will gripe about change or things they don't know yet.

*shrug*

They'll get over it.

Reply Score: 2

v Comment by krreagan
by krreagan on Tue 27th Jan 2009 22:14 UTC
Bringbackanonposting
Member since:
2005-11-16

Someone may have already mentioned this but what the article is saying is just human nature. We have preconceived ideas on what makes a good car, song, house etc because at some influential point that's what we learned to accept as the best/correct way.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by moleskine
by moleskine on Wed 28th Jan 2009 00:44 UTC
moleskine
Member since:
2005-11-05

You can't blame people for being sceptical about change in this context. The computer industry generally has an appalling record of foisting half-baked, bug-ridden new products on consumers. I'm not trying to criticize Windows 7 or KDE here at all, just pointing out the context. So managing change is, I suspect, harder in this arena because your users are wary, and weary.

Just my 2 cents, but predictability and stability are what matter to me. If both are there then the computer runs well and does its own stuff, leaving me to do my stuff. I know that if I mouse down menu A or press button B then a predictable action will occur and my environment won't crash on me either.

That does, however, assume that my computer provides adequate functionality. What that means is different in every case, but broadly it means that my environment should offer at least as much as I can get elsewhere - messaging, multimedia, connectivity, what have you. Otherwise, imho, I am selling myself short. Why put up with an environment whose functionality is limited if you don't have to.

So I don't really mind what changes occur providing these three things - predictability, stability and functionality - are not compromised. Change is the name of the game; nothing stays the same for long.

I haven't tried Windows 7 and have no opinion on KDE 4.x. I've switched from KDE 3.5 to Gnome - which is fine - till KDE 4.x beds down and is clearly all there. All there with regard to those three things I've mentioned, not partly there which has been my impression from trying 4.0 and 4.1. I take it that will be sometime later this year.

Reply Score: 3

Coffee in someone else's kitchen
by orfanum on Wed 28th Jan 2009 01:51 UTC
orfanum
Member since:
2006-06-02

Granted you know how to make coffee, perhaps you can even make different types of it well (being able to tackle one of those stove-top aluminium expresso makers with a nonchalent grin).

But try waking up in someone else's place, hungover, and make coffee as well and as effortlessly as at home. Everything is there - the kitchen, cupboards, spoons, coffee, sugar, fridge, milk, etc., i.e., it's all still 'intuitive' (I mean, provided that your host hasn't decided to refurbish his/her shed/outhouse and make it the kitchen), but I bet you'd still be scratching your head, and wondering with increasing panic whether you are ever going to get that caffeine fix.

Now also imagine that you have been tasked as well with making breakfast for the rest of the party as they emerge.

The basic equations will have not changed, just the medium for their resolution.

Try imagining change such as this as positive in all cases. It won't be easy. There is natural resistance. Not all alterations presage grand evolutionary steps to something better, to some abstract place from which, once we reach it, we are reassured we will be able to look back on our momentary confusion and ignorance and wonder what the fuss was about.

In other words, yes, we should all allow others and ourselves to express consternation, and outrage even, at change. Things do change, sh*t happens, and we have to get over it - but there's nothing intrinsically wrong with having coffee the way you like it, in your favourite arnchair. To pretend that such a sentiment is necessarily antediluvian and regressive is itself, to me, a bizarre psychological reflex.

Reply Score: 3

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Yes, everyone has a natural aversion to change. The difference however, is between those who deal with it and move on and those who continue to whine and complain about how much better it was before.

Reply Score: 2

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

And as for the coffee analogy. Sure, it can be a bitch but people who cope ask someone to help, ask where things are, remember where and get the job done.
No one likes the person who fail to ask for help and just complain about how things aren't the way it is in their kitchen and how much better their own kitchen is.

Reply Score: 3

j-kidd Member since:
2005-07-06

I really like your coffee making analogy as I just had the exact experience in the last few days (when I stayed at my parents place). It sure requires a lot more effort to make coffee in another kitchen even though everything is there.

However, the situation with KDE4 is that you are not in someone's else kitchen -- you just got yourself a whole new kitchen. Even though you may need some extra effort at the beginning, you have the freedom to "remodel" the kitchen such that in the long run it will require less effort to make coffee compared to your old kitchen.

I, for one, love the new kitchen. I gave it a chance to optimize my coffee making routine, and it didn't disappoint. Meanwhile, Linus walked into a kitchen under construction, tripped himself, poured the coffee over his own head, and decided to become a tea drinker ;)

Reply Score: 2

orfanum Member since:
2006-06-02

I'll be round for coffee, then :-)!

Reply Score: 2

KDE3/4 and Windows Vista/7?
by DHowett on Thu 29th Jan 2009 07:21 UTC
DHowett
Member since:
2009-01-29

I don't understand why the change from KDE 3 to KDE 4 is being compared to the change from Windows Vista to Windows 7.
Much, much more drastic changes in the Windows line came between XP and Vista, and that's what the KDE 3->4 change looks like to me. Both Microsoft and KDE overhauled basic system frameworks and gave the interface a completely new look.
Windows 7 is just a minor version, it's not even a 7.0 (rather, it's 6.1 with Vista being 6.0)

Reply Score: 1

No drastic interface changes
by joshuajtl on Fri 30th Jan 2009 23:23 UTC
joshuajtl
Member since:
2009-01-30

"we have two major software projects that have decided to implement some fairly drastic interface changes"

I don't think any interface changes in any OS is at all drastic. If we had something like the UI's in the movie "Minority Report" then I would agree we had projects implementing drastic interface changes.

Reply Score: 1