Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 27th Aug 2009 19:08 UTC
Linux A complaint you hear quite often is that the Linux desktop environments, which mostly refers to KDE and GNOME, are trying too hard to be like Windows and Mac OS X. Now, even James Bottomley, Distinguished Engineer at Novell, Director of the Linux Foundation, and Chair of its Technical Advisory Board (put that on your business card) states in an interview that he believes the Linux desktop is too much like Windows and Mac.
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Yeah...
by r_a_trip on Thu 27th Aug 2009 19:16 UTC
r_a_trip
Member since:
2005-07-06

And when it isn't too much like Windows or OS X, then it is too weird for "Joe Sixpack" to use.

You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't.

Reply Score: 15

RE: Yeah...
by Kroc on Thu 27th Aug 2009 19:25 UTC in reply to "Yeah..."
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

I don‘t think that’s true. The iPhone OS is nothing like a desktop system and people handle it fine. Microsoft tried replicating the desktop on the phone and it’s a disaster.

The fact is that the current general desktop metaphor is confusing for regular users, has been since 1984 and continues to be so even today when I deal with customers buying new computers. Computers are simply difficult to operate.

You don‘t get in your car and expect it to operate like your desktop computer, or phone, or television?

A radically different OS can be, if designed right, easier than Windows. Nobody has found the universal formula that scales properly though.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Yeah...
by FooBarWidget on Thu 27th Aug 2009 20:21 UTC in reply to "RE: Yeah..."
FooBarWidget Member since:
2005-11-11

That's because the iPhone isn't a desktop or laptop, so users don't have the expectation that it should work like one. If Apple ever ports iPhone OS to desktops or laptops then people would go all "how do I install MS Office?" on it.

Reply Score: 9

RE[2]: Yeah...
by Doc Pain on Thu 27th Aug 2009 20:22 UTC in reply to "RE: Yeah..."
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

The fact is that the current general desktop metaphor is confusing for regular users, has been since 1984 and continues to be so even today when I deal with customers buying new computers. Computers are simply difficult to operate.


You say it. Computers aren't easy, or at least they are not as easy as advertisement wants them to be. You often see this even in our "modern" time where users who operate PCs for several years cannot tell the difference from the PC ("modem") and the screen ("TV"), or the speakers ("brain").

You don‘t get in your car and expect it to operate like your desktop computer, or phone, or television?


People like car analogies, and I do like this one. But, allow me to mention this, people expect cars to follow some specific rules, even if they never drove one. For example, where is the steering wheel, how do you use it, where are brakes, where to shift gears, where to honk. This applies in a similar way to desktop environments. Due to specific "education" people got in their career, they expect the desktop to behave in a certain way. This of course differs from user to user. Those who grew up with CDE often find things ununderstandable in "Windows", and those who are familiar with using the keyboard as the primary input device -- we remember now that few decades ago PCs were operated by ordinary people through a keyboard where they pressed keys in order to communicate their "wishes" to the system -- may find problems in KDE or Gnome.

In order to operate a car, a phone or a PC, you need some basic knowledge. Without this knowledge, you will run into problems, sooner or later. All OSes and DEs seem to have this in common.

Following some standardization among all the different DEs often is a lot of help. On the other hand, it often limits functionality and productivity. Things like "focus follows mouse" and "focus doesn't imply foreground", as well as combining mouse and keyboard support come into mind. But finally, it's possible to admit that those things doesn't belong to the primary interests of the home users who seem to make up the main target group.

A radically different OS can be, if designed right, easier than Windows. Nobody has found the universal formula that scales properly though.


We can still wait (or hope) for it.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Yeah...
by Peter Besenbruch on Thu 27th Aug 2009 21:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Yeah..."
Peter Besenbruch Member since:
2006-03-13

People like car analogies, and I do like this one. But, allow me to mention this, people expect cars to follow some specific rules, even if they never drove one. For example, where is the steering wheel, how do you use it, where are brakes, where to shift gears, where to honk.


The worst experience I ever had driving was when I rented a Ford Mondeo in England this Summer. The rental company gave me a manual diesel. Not only was it a struggle to drive such a hulking car with poor visibility on the wrong side of the too narrow road, I was also expected to shift the blasted thing left handed.

If only the English would give us a proper driving interface. ;)

In order to operate a car, a phone or a PC, you need some basic knowledge. Without this knowledge, you will run into problems, sooner or later. All OSes and DEs seem to have this in common.


There is a fair bit in common when using a point and click interface, partly because it wasn't developed by anyone who is still a player today. The point and click interface was developed by Xerox in the late 70s. Each later implementation shares certain basic assumptions. It's almost a language of movement. Hence, I can use Windows, the various Linux/Unix desktop environments, or Macs. I may not always use them gracefully, but I can get by.

"A radically different OS can be, if designed right, easier than Windows. Nobody has found the universal formula that scales properly though.


We can still wait (or hope) for it.
"

I'm still waiting for Apple to improve its interface some more. The underlying OS isn't bad, but Apple could sure improve OS X's interface by making it more like KDE 3.5, or something. Using Apple is as bad a driving in England. ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Yeah...
by Sparrowhawk on Fri 28th Aug 2009 12:59 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Yeah..."
Sparrowhawk Member since:
2005-07-11


The worst experience I ever had driving was when I rented a Ford Mondeo in England this Summer.


"Summer"? We had a summer? Must have passed me right by. ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Yeah...
by setec_astronomy on Thu 27th Aug 2009 22:45 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Yeah..."
setec_astronomy Member since:
2007-11-17

People like car analogies, and I do like this one. But, allow me to mention this, people expect cars to follow some specific rules, even if they never drove one. For example, where is the steering wheel, how do you use it, where are brakes, where to shift gears, where to honk.


There is something about this whole "using car analogies for computer related scenarios" that I always thought of as kind of odd:

What is the equivalent of the driving license in relation to computers in this picture?

I don't know about the situation in different countries, but where I live taking (and passing) theoretical and practical courses is mandatory in order to receive a driving license. This courses include a very brief introduction to the inner workings of a car, (e.g. ignoring the oil pressure warning light while you drive is not exactly a good idea, how to roughly evaluate the safeness of your cars breaking system, which type of fuel is for which engine, how to estimate the necessary time and distance for (emergency) breaks, etc.) a laughable short first aid course and of course a rather detailed introduction to the topic of traffic rules.

In the 12 years since I got my driving license, I had to deal with at least six different ways to shift into the reverse gear (VWs try-to-push-the-gear-stick-down-and-then-select-the-first-gear method proved difficult to figure out the first time using the schematic on the gear sticks head while standing downhill rather close to a concrete wall, for example). And just don't get me started on the airplane-like cockpits of contemporary tractors and harvesters.

My theory: With minimal - and proper - training, people can adapt to the surprisingly large number of variations that occur in the operation of vehicles.

Edited 2009-08-27 22:48 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Yeah...
by Doc Pain on Thu 27th Aug 2009 23:40 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Yeah..."
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

What is the equivalent of the driving license in relation to computers in this picture?


There is none. Every idiot (sorry) can buy a car (credit-wise) and drive it, causing traffic collapses and accidents... erm, oops, I wanted to talk about computers. So... every... can buy... cause accidents... you get the picture. :-)

My theory: With minimal - and proper - training, people can adapt to the surprisingly large number of variations that occur in the operation of vehicles.


The circle closes: With minimal - and proper - training, people can adapt to the surprisingly large number of variations that occur in the operation of a PC, its operating system and its application programs.

Do you remember DOS? Do you know that "ordinary people" had less problems using DOS in the past? Or go back to the mainframe era: "Ordinary people" sat infront of 3270 text mode terminals with 122 key keyboards - and could get their work done. It's hard to imagine that people have gotten so much dumber.

Today, they are often not able to change the margins of a printed report, or save their files in the directory they are told 100 times.

What I want to say with this: Proper education, done very early in the "IT career", should make the individuum able to see the fundamental basics in each OS or especially DE. For example, if you know WHAT something is called (e. g. the white stripe on the paper edges are called margins) and HOW to find the corresponding setting (e. g. by looking through the menues for the correct option, or using "handles" in the ruler of the word processor), then there are no problems. And it even does not matter which program you use to teach those basics! Even more, most of such basics are completely independent of the DE and even the OS.

I found that so many people who have "learned" word processing with "Office 97" do not have any clue how to operate MICROS~1's newest "Office" products. They don't understand concepts, because they are trained to click on certain pictures they know by mind, or search for specific menu or option names where they know the location by mind. Those are the same people that cannot use "Windows Vista" when they had used "NT" before - why? Because it has "different pictures" than they know. And they don't find the concepts they should be familiar with, for example after having used a PC for more than 10 years. You can even achieve a similar effect with re-arranging the icons on the desktop - it can stop the whole productivity process even if "nothing" has changed.

(The term "pictures" is often used by Germans to describe how a GUI looks like, such as in "I want the same pictures at home as I have them in the office.")

Reply Score: 5

RE[5]: Yeah...
by setec_astronomy on Fri 28th Aug 2009 06:10 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Yeah..."
setec_astronomy Member since:
2007-11-17

The circle closes: With minimal - and proper - training, people can adapt to the surprisingly large number of variations that occur in the operation of a PC, its operating system and its application programs.
.

Spot on. It is somewhat ironic that most courses for the ECDL (European Computer Driving License) that I'm aware of teach the participants to operate the computer in the same concept-less way that you describe and that can be successfully applied in the process of training a horde of monkeys to play Mozart:

a.) hit the right key on the keyboard
b.) Profit! / Bananas!

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Yeah...
by Doc Pain on Sat 29th Aug 2009 00:06 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Yeah..."
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

Spot on. It is somewhat ironic that most courses for the ECDL (European Computer Driving License) that I'm aware of teach the participants to operate the computer in the same concept-less way that you describe and that can be successfully applied in the process of training a horde of monkeys to play Mozart:

a.) hit the right key on the keyboard
b.) Profit! / Bananas!


I'm not talking of conceptlessness, but of independence of specific concepts. This can also be achieved by integrating different concepts into the teaching process, such as different programming languages can be used to illustrate different programming concepts and paradigms.

Of course, people mostly don't learn for theirselves, but in order to achieve a positive confirmation right away. As you described: Hit the correct button and win a banana. For teaching, it would be more important to teach the advantages of WHY something should be learned. Even long term effects are possible, but people don't see them. Maybe they are unable to, I do consider this to be possible. Because PCs can be considered tools, it's obvious that they should be treated that way. Maybe if you have a look at some handcrafting tools: If you know how to handle them - and you learn this by working with them, handling them, and taking time to practice - you can achieve good results with them, you can produce pieces of art or get things fixed by yourself without paying an expensive repairman. It's quite similar with PCs: If you understand (!) how things work, then, no matter in which particular environment you are at the moment, you'll be able to find your way by yourself. For example, if you understand what hierarchical concepts are, including files, directories, and maybe references (symlinks), you do understand this concept on Linux, on Solaris, on OS/400 and even on VMS. Things that are useful AND universal should be emphasized.

if click(wrong_window) then play("ding.wav");
and then retry();

:-)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Yeah...
by axilmar on Fri 28th Aug 2009 09:36 UTC in reply to "RE: Yeah..."
axilmar Member since:
2006-03-20

Computers are simply difficult to operate


That's because the technology used to program them is outdated. The model of processes/filesystems/files/folders holds the development of more interesting software back.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Yeah...
by boldingd on Tue 1st Sep 2009 19:18 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Yeah..."
boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

I could believe that the idea of exposing these models to casual end-users is outdated, but I highly doubt these things are going to stop being fundamental to the operation of (software on a) Desktop machine anytime soon, or that there's a superior metaphor just waiting to replace them. I'm all for making the computer my parents will use as brain-dead simple and intuitive as possible, but there's also a certain minimum amount of understanding of what the computer's doing that you can reasonably expect from users. You really can't expect to get away with putting absolutely no effort into learning how your computer works and what it's doing, and still being able to be reasonably productive with the thing.

As a note, my Mom doesn't understand what the file-system is; she thinks the save-dialogs for applications are "where" the files reside. If you ask her where she saved her Word document, she'll say, "in Word," meaning "in the MS Word save dialog." Her refusal to learn what a file system is causes her no end of trouble. But it's also the best way to do the job (of storing arbitrary data in a persistent and randomly-accessable and manipulatable form); the problem, in this case, is her unwillingness to learn, not that the file-system metaphor is failing her.

Sorry to ramble.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Yeah...
by kaiwai on Fri 28th Aug 2009 11:10 UTC in reply to "RE: Yeah..."
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

I don‘t think that’s true. The iPhone OS is nothing like a desktop system and people handle it fine. Microsoft tried replicating the desktop on the phone and it’s a disaster.

The fact is that the current general desktop metaphor is confusing for regular users, has been since 1984 and continues to be so even today when I deal with customers buying new computers. Computers are simply difficult to operate.

You don‘t get in your car and expect it to operate like your desktop computer, or phone, or television?

A radically different OS can be, if designed right, easier than Windows. Nobody has found the universal formula that scales properly though.


Just to play devils advocate; I would hardly call what Apple did as something revolutionary given that Sharp did something very similar using Qtopia.

The reason it worked is because it s a completely different device; it is a completely different device then the end user will have no expectations on how it *should* behave. If they have no expectations on how it *should* behave then they come to using the device with an open mind. The accept the basic premise of "new device, new way of doing things".

The problem is that people are used to laptops and desktops operating in a certain way - when you change the way they operate; they've already got a set of expectations and they're unwilling to change what their expectations are; no matter how good the alternative you provide. When people for example purchase a netbook, laptop or desktop, they expect it to operate in a certain way - the same reason why people are hesitant with using Mac OS X; they have an expectation from Windows, Mac OS X doesn't operate like that expectation, so they assume the device 'isn't for me'.

Unfortunately there isn't a lot you can do about those sorts of people - who regretfully make up the majority of end users.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Yeah...
by boldingd on Tue 1st Sep 2009 19:22 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Yeah..."
boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

Well, as Tess said in one of the podcasts, the iPhone OS would make a terrible desktop OS (for many of the same reasons that you can't use an iPhone as a netbook replacement: try writing code, or a paper, or even a long e-mail on an iPhone). The reason that the iPhone O.S. can get away with being very different is that it's running in a very different environment, for which it has been specialized, not because people are being tricked into abandoning their preconceptions.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Yeah...
by vikramsharma on Fri 28th Aug 2009 04:10 UTC in reply to "Yeah..."
vikramsharma Member since:
2005-07-06

You have hit the nail on the head, for example my brother does not like using Linux or Mac OS X as he expects Linux based Operating System and Mac OS X to behave exactly like Windows because he and so many people I know take Windows to be a standard. Microsoft rules the desktop market as of now and Windows is seen as a standard, anything else is perceived as non-standard by an average Joe user. Simple example would be the implementation of copy/paste in Windows and Mac OS X ctrl+c and ctrl+v on Windows as opposed to cmd+c and cmd+v on the Mac.

There are always going to be similarities too, KDE (haven't used KDE 4.x) used to remind me of Windows and Gnome of Mac (hence I use Gnome). I am not saying that KDE/Gnome are a copy of Windows and Mac environment, but familiarity makes it easier for a user to relate to and get his/her job done.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Yeah...
by KenP on Sun 30th Aug 2009 02:24 UTC in reply to "Yeah..."
KenP Member since:
2009-07-28

I agree with you. For once, a major Linux desktop, KDE, has diverted from the typical desktop paradigm and they have faced rabid opposition -- forcing several distributions to provide a KDE3.5-like desktop on default login (Mandriva, for example.)

It is hypocritical of the Linux community to ask for changes and staus-quo at the same time.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Yeah...
by sbergman27 on Sun 30th Aug 2009 02:30 UTC in reply to "RE: Yeah..."
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

For once, a major Linux desktop, KDE, has diverted from the typical desktop paradigm and they have faced rabid opposition -- forcing several distributions to provide a KDE3.5-like desktop on default login

In nature, most mutations are maladaptive. Many are fatal. Think about it.

Reply Score: 2

This makes no sense
by madcrow on Thu 27th Aug 2009 19:51 UTC
madcrow
Member since:
2006-03-13

People expect computers to work in a certain way. The fact that Windows, OS X, KDE and Gnome share so many similarities in their basic interactions with the user is simply a reflection of that. To radically change the way things work just to be different would be an enormous mistake. How can people like the guy in the interview not see that?

Reply Score: 2

RE: This makes no sense
by GiantTalkingCow on Thu 27th Aug 2009 20:26 UTC in reply to "This makes no sense"
GiantTalkingCow Member since:
2009-01-27

@madcrow:
I'm sure that I agree. As has been mentioned (phone UIs, PVRs, etc), people can adapt to user interfaces pretty quickly, especially if the UI is well designed. I think that the main problem comes from a lack of UI consistency, trying to ape commercial efforts too closely, and a general lack of design skill on the part of most DE devs these days. (That is to say, ignorance of the importance of such things as layouts, use of space, access to options, etc)

Reply Score: 1

Milo_Hoffman
Member since:
2005-07-06

Microsoft steals more than anyone.

1) The logout/shutdown icons in vista are stolen from KDE...see the far right of the toolbar in this screenshot. KDE has had them for several years now, and suddenly the same RED and BLUE icons are in vista.
http://www.doxxx.net/kde-usability/kde31a-default.png

2)The new Start button is a copy of the very popular "Marble" icon theme for KDE.


3) The new theme for IE, is a copy of the same icons used in a Firefox theme. There is a theme that has the exact "shaped" same blue forwards/backwards icons like the new version of IE. It's from Everaldo's free and immensely popular "Crystal" theme for KDE.



Microsoft are a bunch of cheap hacks and provide ZERO innovation.. or original thinking.


These are just a few examples of Linux actually showing that OTHER OS's look like Linux...not the other way around.

Edited 2009-08-27 20:00 UTC

Reply Score: 3

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

Microsoft are a bunch of cheap hacks and provide ZERO innovation..


Is that why openoffice has stopped copying Office97 and has switched to 2007? What about directx? Visual Studio? I could go on but I'm sure you would just find something else to rationalize your hatred.

Reply Score: 0

t3ckn0b0y Member since:
2009-08-29

If one was to look at the sounds in windows xp they will notice that the files where created with an illegal copy of Soundforge. Yes Microsoft steals alot of things from other operating systems and turns around and blames everyone for stealing from them..

Reply Score: 1

BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

Microsoft steals more than anyone.

1) The logout/shutdown icons in vista are stolen from KDE...see the far right of the toolbar in this screenshot. KDE has had them for several years now, and suddenly the same RED and BLUE icons are in vista.
http://www.doxxx.net/kde-usability/kde31a-default.png


Those icons have been in Windows since Win95. You can see them in WinXP and Win2003 if you have the old-school Start Menu on. Good research though.

2)The new Start button is a copy of the very popular "Marble" icon theme for KDE.


Ooh, a round button, never saw that before, and I'm pretty sure it doesn't have the windows logo in the middle.


3) The new theme for IE, is a copy of the same icons used in a Firefox theme. There is a theme that has the exact "shaped" same blue forwards/backwards icons like the new version of IE. It's from Everaldo's free and immensely popular "Crystal" theme for KDE.


I used to use that theme on firefox, and while the arrows are similar, arrows are arrows, and the IE ones are pretty similar to IE 6s as well. Perhaps Crystal stole them from IE 6?

Microsoft are a bunch of cheap hacks and provide ZERO innovation.. or original thinking.


That's right, be objective.

These are just a few examples of Linux actually showing that OTHER OS's look like Linux...not the other way around.


uh huh, There is rampant copying by all OS developers, not just Microsoft. If you took an objective look at the situation, I'd think you'd see that.

Reply Score: 6

freetardo smasher Member since:
2009-08-27

<quote>1) The logout/shutdown icons in vista are stolen from KDE...see the far right of the toolbar in this screenshot. KDE has had them for several years now, and suddenly the same RED and BLUE icons are in vista. </quote>

Hate to break it to you buddy but Microsoft used the red shutdown icon almost 2 years before KDE started using it in KDE 3.1. Next time try a little harder rather than spouting out bs that is blatantly made up and can be verified.

Reply Score: 1

SterlingNorth Member since:
2006-02-21

1) The logout/shutdown icons in vista are stolen from KDE...see the far right of the toolbar in this screenshot. KDE has had them for several years now, and suddenly the same RED and BLUE icons are in vista.
http://www.doxxx.net/kde-usability/kde31a-default.png


You are a twit! Those have been the standardized icons for power and sleep mode for decades! see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_symbol or http://eetd.lbl.gov/Controls/publications/switch5.pdf

Anyway, red has always been used as an danger/alert color or attention grabbing color. I have dozens of remotes that use red to denote the power button. And I don't think I need to explain why the lock function would use a lock for an icon.

2)The new Start button is a copy of the very popular "Marble" icon theme for KDE.


It's a round button. I can point to lots of round buttons in life.


3) The new theme for IE, is a copy of the same icons used in a Firefox theme. There is a theme that has the exact "shaped" same blue forwards/backwards icons like the new version of IE.


Or perhaps Firefox correctly followed the Windows User Interface Guidelines when they developed its Windows UI.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa511258.aspx

Reply Score: 1

suzaku Member since:
2009-08-27

You've got it all figured out. Hey, Microsoft just recently demonstrated Project Natal for the Xbox360, which can perform rather sophisticated Live Motion Capturing with a single camera, without markers. I suppose they also stole this from Linux?

But yeah, I find it very innovative when nearly all audio players with a GUI on Linux resemble iTunes, even if they all suck.

Reply Score: 2

jimmy1971
Member since:
2009-08-27

One point missing thus far from the discussion is that GNU/Linux and BSD systems offer their users much more choice than Windows or Mac when it comes to desktop environments.

Don't like Gnome or KDE? No problem. There's also the following, each of which has a look and feel distinct from the two mentioned above:

Xfce (modelled on CDE)

Enlightenment

WindowMaker (modelled on NextStep)

Wmii (tiling wm)

Rio (as part of Plan 9 from User Space)

Fluxbox (minimalist, but easy to use and configure)

twm (minimalist, but it may pleasantly suprise you once you master it.)

...and possibly hundreds of other window managers.

Edited 2009-08-27 20:02 UTC

Reply Score: 5

KugelKurt Member since:
2005-07-06

Xfce (modelled on CDE)

Not anymore. Xfce in its default setup looks almost 100% like GNOME.
KDE was initially also a CDE-inspired DE, btw.

Reply Score: 4

Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

Not anymore. Xfce in its default setup looks almost 100% like GNOME.


True, that - the 4.x versions have been gradually migrating further and further from the CDE look, and yes, screenshots of the current versions greatly resemble the default Gnome setup. It's rather lost it's distinct identity, hasn't it?

Edited 2009-08-27 21:34 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"Xfce (modelled on CDE)

Not anymore. Xfce in its default setup looks almost 100% like GNOME.
KDE was initially also a CDE-inspired DE, btw.
"

That's correct. I had some customers who came from a Solaris/CDR environment and wanted to have something similar, BSD based. My choice was XFCE 3, and with some tweaking, they didn't even find much differences. :-)

Reply Score: 2

markjensen Member since:
2005-07-26

And it is this "choice" that I really love! Linux *is* KDE. It *is* GNOME. It *is* fluxbox and e17 and all of the others.

I don't want some "unified" desktop, if it means what some proponents of that cause state: pull development off of the 'side projects' and focus only on the "unified desktop".

Linux can be Windows-like or OSX-like. And, as mentioned before, it must be to give a comfortable environment for newcomers. But Linux can also be exactly what I want it to be - no icons on the desktop, no 'start' button.

If this means Linux won't get above 1-2% marketshare of the desktop users, that is fine by me. As long as it meets my needs perfectly! ;)

Reply Score: 9

Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

I do want more people to use Linux, 1 because I think a lot of people get screwed by companies like Microsoft, but more importantly to me personally, I want more manufacturers to notice people using Linux, so drivers can be written more easily. ;-)

Reply Score: 3

massysett Member since:
2007-12-04

I got a new computer and my choice of distros was between Debian, Slackware, and Arch. I went with Slackware -current because I needed a recent xorg server and Intel drivers, and Slackware -current seemed to be the easiest way to get these.

KDE 4.2 was just too unstable and unpolished. Dialog boxes needed to be resized just so I could see all the options. Basic applets like the calendar would crash. And, contrary to reports that QT 4 would speed up KDE, it was just as slow on this brand new computer as KDE 3.5 is on three year old hardware. KDE startup takes forever.

I would have tried GNOME but it's not in Slackware (I know one can get it, but this seems to be a bit of a pain.) I had heard of xmonad and gave it a try. I was instantly hooked. No more sitting around fiddling with the mouse to resize windows just because I want to split my desktop between a terminal and a browser, or two terminals. Configuring it makes you learn Haskell, though.

Xmonad looks nothing like Windows or Mac, and that's what's good about it. There is lots of innovation on Linux. It's not the sort of innovation that will make Linux take over the world, but so what? If a big company like Apple can't take over the world with OS X, why are people silly enough to think that Linux will take over the world?

Reply Score: 3

KugelKurt Member since:
2005-07-06

KDE 4.2 was just too unstable and unpolished.

KDE 4.2 was f#cking awesome and 4.3 even beats that.

Reply Score: 5

Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

One point missing thus far from the discussion is that GNU/Linux and BSD systems offer their users much more choice than Windows or Mac when it comes to desktop environments.


Users want to choose? Isn't that too complicated for the average desktop user? :-)

No, seriously: I completely agree with you. It's this kind of choice that made me use UNIX for more than 20 years now. I could not imagine to handle it differently. But I have to admit that I do like Mac OS X a lot, but I'm not using it regularly, so maybe I'm just the wrong person to have an opinion there. :-)

A comment on your list: WindowMaker and Wmii are hard to imagine as a desktop environment (DE), they are window managers (WM), and, by the way, excellent ones. WindowMaker is my favourite one for many years now, but the magic of the tiling WMs didn't open up to me yet, but I often hear fellow users praise them.

It's worth mentioning that it's not a good idea to confuse a DE with a WM. A WM is part of a DE, but of course less functional. For a DE, I consider much more programs ("everyday software") to be part of, and maybe even tools for administration.

On Linux / UNIX, DEs are mostly independant from the OS. This means you can use KDE on some Linux distribution, or on a BSD, as well as you can use Gnome on Solaris. The "hard part" is to integrate OS and DE a bit, so you can, for example, use a GUI driven tool to administer your system (OS).

What started with WMs continues with applications. It's no problem to use Firefox with Wmii on BSD, and the same Firefox version with KDE on Linux. There is no barrier that prevents you from combining the best tools.

On "Windows", you are forced to use the WM (can I say it that way?) that comes from MICROS~1. You cannot use a different one. Sure, there are extensions and customization, but you cannot switch "Windows" into a tiling mode, for example, or remove the title bars.

Reply Score: 2

jimmy1971 Member since:
2009-08-27

Thanks for the clarification, as it made me revisit and refocus my thoughts on this issue. (While I'm aware of the distinction between a WM and a DE, by default I usually just think of a DE as simply a WM with some extra stuff thrown in.)

If someone chooses a WM, and then installs a file manager and extra widgets, and customizes/creates their own "themes", have they not arrived at a DIY desktop environment?

It seems to me that the pre-packaged DE's (KDE, Gnome, etc.), by buying into the supposed "desktop allegory", doom themselves to seeming very close to Windows or Mac. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, however, if it helps newcomers migrate from Bill's OS into the world of FOSS by giving them some measure of familiarity.

As someone becomes more advanced at Unix, however, and gets more used to customizing things at a granular level, the less they desire a DE that makes them say "I can't believe this isn't Windows!"

Edited 2009-08-28 14:11 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

If someone chooses a WM, and then installs a file manager and extra widgets, and customizes/creates their own "themes", have they not arrived at a DIY desktop environment?


That's debatable. One consideration I often hear is that a DE should be consistent, e. g. all programs should follow a common guide for style and operations, they should use the same libraries and UI toolkits and should interoperate.

Once upon a time, I had to create a system for a customer who wanted "CDE on a BSD system". I installed XFCE 3, did some configuration work (for look and feel) and added different applications, such as OpenOffice, Opera, Sylpheed, gv, xmms and mplayer. Of course, this mixture was very appealing to the customer ("Hey! How did you get this advanced CDE onto the BSD box?"), but I would definitely not call it a DE. It was a functional compositum, done by preinstallation and preconfiguration.

As someone becomes more advanced at Unix, however, and gets more used to customizing things at a granular level, the less they desire a DE that makes them say "I can't believe this isn't Windows!"


I've heared this already about KDE. I'm not using it regularly, so I'm definitely the wrong person to make a statement, but... I've been told that many users - not only "advanced" ones - don't feel well inside KDE. Most of them have migrated to Gnome, and few to "niche" DEs and WMs such as Xfce (4) or tiling WMs. Often, users expect a speed gain when they abandon "Windows" in favour of Linux or UNIX. The operating system basis delivers such a speed boost, but if it's immediately taken away by "bloated" DEs and "fat" application programs that "do everything", users will orientate elsewhere. And that's the great thing about Linux and UNIX: They are able to do so, and maybe find a solution that feels better to them.

Reply Score: 2

uray Member since:
2009-08-19

did you know that it's downside of linux?, novice user hate too much choices..

Reply Score: 1

boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

DE choice isn't a bad thing in-and-of-itself; in my humble opinion, the problem is that it's a very significant choice, that effects a lot more than how your windows are themed or what key-combo maximizes them. It can effect what media players, editors, browsers, etc. you can use, and how integrated they will be, and it can effect your selection (and, again, the usability and stability of) your sound system, configuration storage system and network manager, for instance. I think that's the deeper problem, that DE choice effects things that really should be lower-level OS issues.

Reply Score: 1

True Innovation
by agrotr0n on Thu 27th Aug 2009 20:04 UTC
agrotr0n
Member since:
2009-08-27

I think some true innovation has to be made. I am bored with all that copying from each other (.. yeah sometimes copying is a catalysator for innovation is good for the enduser). The open source community has to work more closely with artists and interface designers. There are so many cool ideas for next-gen interfaces. I have a complete concept for a new interface myself. For all those ideas to become reality we need some tool kit which enables artists to work in a way that suits them. That means full WYSIWYG. Everyone must be able to contribute in ones prefered field and has to be provided with the right tools for the job. For artists this would be some kind of integrated graphical editor like flash or similar.

Additionally it would be cool if web and desktop would merge in a way that doesnt cut down the desktop experience in favor of the web restrictions. Full integration of 3D stuff and composition is a must have.
Everything has to work everywhere! How about further extending HTML and SVG so be able to deliver everything we can think of in the field of interfaces?

Reply Score: 1

v Not even close!
by rockwell on Thu 27th Aug 2009 20:09 UTC
RE: Not even close!
by Moredhas on Thu 27th Aug 2009 21:48 UTC in reply to "Not even close!"
Moredhas Member since:
2008-04-10

No, it doesn't. It works like gold. Windows can have my feces.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Not even close!
by uray on Fri 28th Aug 2009 06:26 UTC in reply to "Not even close!"
uray Member since:
2009-08-19

+1

Reply Score: 1

Gnome and KDE maybe...
by ichi on Thu 27th Aug 2009 20:10 UTC
ichi
Member since:
2007-03-06

Awesome, Ratpoison or even Enlightenment and Fluxbox, not so much.

Anyway whatever the DE/WM looks like, as long as I can customize it and it supports alt+drag, focus follows mouse, rise windows only on click and virtual desktops, I'm happy (and being able to roll up windows is also a nice plus).

Reply Score: 2

RE: Gnome and KDE maybe...
by Doc Pain on Fri 28th Aug 2009 00:00 UTC in reply to "Gnome and KDE maybe..."
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

Anyway whatever the DE/WM looks like, as long as I can customize it and it supports alt+drag, focus follows mouse, rise windows only on click and virtual desktops, I'm happy (and being able to roll up windows is also a nice plus).


Especially when I can combine this functionality with the keyboard. For example, I have functions like foreground, background, roll up, hide, maximize and so on on the left 2x5 keys of my Sun keyboard. It's quite easy to move the pointer into a window and then press the key in order to perform a specific WM action. (The "feeling" for which key to press can be learned very fast, I've learned typing, so it's quite easy, and you don't have to move your left hand up to the function keys or perform strange Ctrl+Alt+PF grips.) If I didn't mention it yet: WindowMaker works excellently here in such a setting. :-)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Gnome and KDE maybe...
by cjcoats on Fri 28th Aug 2009 12:04 UTC in reply to "Gnome and KDE maybe..."
cjcoats Member since:
2006-04-16

And lets me get "window-list" and "application" menus by right- or left-clicking in the background.
Every WM I've used, all the way back to OLWM on Sparc2 back in the early Nineties did that.

Except KDED 4.x. (Ironically, KDE3.x has the easiest/best customization I know of that way.)

And when I've tried to go through the appropriate channels on that one, I've been shot down.
Or told I should have made it a feature request right off the bat.

Should I also have made "support for 3-button mice" a feature request? You should be able to take some things for granted.

Reply Score: 1

KDE 4 User here...
by bralkein on Thu 27th Aug 2009 21:02 UTC
bralkein
Member since:
2006-12-20

...and if KDE is so much like Windows, then why the heck do I start fuming with frustration every time I have to use the Redmond OS?

Not to disparage Windows or OS X in any way, but I am used to the way a KDE desktop works to the point that when I use other OSes it feels like I'm trying to run with my shoelaces tied together, and I immediately start missing the stuff I use on KDE. If KDE was a clone of one or the other, then that wouldn't happen.

Honestly, I would hope that simply in the course of doing proper research the different OSes and DEs end up getting inspiration from each other to some extent, because to show no interest in other people's ideas just because of NIH is pointless and self-defeating. If someone comes up with a good way of doing something and users get used to it, I don't see the harm in copying it, just so long as you don't end up blanket copying the whole of someone else's OS.

PS. No comment on GNOME, since I haven't used it recently to any extent.

Reply Score: 7

Disagreement
by Delgarde on Thu 27th Aug 2009 21:21 UTC
Delgarde
Member since:
2008-08-19

The KDE project is trying all sorts of new things, while GNOME is more about gradual progress

Can't say I agree with that. Ignoring the KDE4 release as a one-off event, both Gnome and KDE have been very much about gradual progress. Both have been evolving over quite a long time, adding a few improvements with each new release, but without making many major changes (in core, at least - both have a variety of side projects playing with new ideas)

Reply Score: 6

RE: Disagreement
by No it isnt on Thu 27th Aug 2009 22:40 UTC in reply to "Disagreement"
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

KDE 1 --> 2 was a pretty big change as well. And, like KDE4, KDE2 took a while to stabilise. But as it remained in the same paradigm as the previous version, people were less pissed off about it than with KDE4.

Oh, and Gnome 1.4 --> 2.0 was a huge step, albeit backwards.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Disagreement
by Delgarde on Thu 27th Aug 2009 22:56 UTC in reply to "RE: Disagreement"
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

KDE 1 --> 2 was a pretty big change as well. And, like KDE4, KDE2 took a while to stabilise. But as it remained in the same paradigm as the previous version, people were less pissed off about it than with KDE4.


Code-wide, it was a big change. In terms of interface, not so much - as you say, the paradigm was mostly the same

Oh, and Gnome 1.4 --> 2.0 was a huge step, albeit backwards.


In what way? Granted, 2.0 had it's bugs (like any x.0 release), but was otherwise quite an improvement over it's predecessor. Indeed, I switched *from* KDE sometime about then (probably 2.2 timeframe), being fairly happy with what they'd done.

Reply Score: 2

It was different, now it's more similar
by bousozoku on Thu 27th Aug 2009 21:28 UTC
bousozoku
Member since:
2006-01-23

As I recall, the early days of GUI atop Linux were very different from Windows or Mac OS. At that time, Mac OS was not Mac OS X.

As things happened, people apparently didn't like that GNOME and KDE in particular were so different and the window gadgets were changed to look more like Windows 95. I can only imagine the rest as I wasn't a Linux user at the time. Try as I could, I couldn't install mkLinux on my Mac clone, though BeOS 4.x worked quite well.

I think it's always better to take away any hint to another GUI. If you have to explain it in any case, it's not acceptable. Within reason, a person should be able to sit down to the GUI and figure a few things out without being able to crash the system.

Reply Score: 2

Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

As I recall, the early days of GUI atop Linux were very different from Windows or Mac OS.


Exactly. Have a look here, and compare how different GUI concepts looked like, and WHEN they looked that way:

http://toastytech.com/guis/

Within reason, a person should be able to sit down to the GUI and figure a few things out without being able to crash the system.


Completely agree, but "figure it out" takes some time. Most users are not willing to invest time, no matter for what.

Reply Score: 2

They're all similar because they work
by bonedance on Thu 27th Aug 2009 22:43 UTC
bonedance
Member since:
2009-07-30

GUI hasn't changed since Alto, and it's because Alto works. NeXTStep? Bah. BeOS? I'm looking forward to Haiku but only out of curiosity. Other fringe Linux GUIs will remain other fringe Linux GUIs. Look at all the crap that Microsoft threw in Vista. Fail. They're reducing it for 7 but it's still a mess. OSX is improving upon the tried and true. Like someone above said, GUI is like a car. Sure you can throw the steering wheel on the other side and go drive in another country, but that's about it. 200 years from now we might be controlling the machine exclusively through touch or with our minds, but the screen is still going to look like a derivative of Alto. 2000 years from now when the aliens land, their navicomputers may be hooked up to their tentacles and operated by orbicular sucker compression, but the screen will be comparable to MacOSMM*.

*that's 2,000 in Roman, you plebs!

Edited 2009-08-27 22:44 UTC

Reply Score: 0

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

GUI hasn't changed since Alto, and it's because Alto works. NeXTStep? Bah. BeOS? I'm looking forward to Haiku but only out of curiosity.


NeXT I can see, that OS introduced a lot of fairly unique GUI concepts. But BeOS? The "weirdest" aspect was the yellow title tabs, and that was (largely) aesthetic. Be's stated philosophy was essentially "look at the approach that other OSes have taken, and borrow the best ideas from each."

Reply Score: 2

tobyv Member since:
2008-08-25

GUI hasn't changed since Alto,


Then you have never used Smalltalk or Oberon or Plan 9.

Graphical interfaces could have developed in a whole other direction if it wasn't for the Macintosh popularizing the 'Desktop' metaphore.

Reply Score: 1

Not that much alike
by kenji on Thu 27th Aug 2009 23:01 UTC
kenji
Member since:
2009-04-08

I don't think KDE or GNOME behave similar to windows at all. When I use windows I miss (this is an abridged list):

1) Virtual desktops
2) GNOME's menu and organization
3) Customizability of just about everything desktop interface related
4) Ability to roll-up windows
5) Rotating desktop wallpapers (a new feature coming in Fedora 12 btw)
6) Speed
7) Stabilty
8) Simple security management
9) Simple software management
10) Better keyboard shortcut customizations

I have to say the biggest similarity is between KDE's menu and the windows Start menu. Other than that, Linux and windows behave in a similar fashion (in paradigms, like pushing the mouse around moves a little pointer on the screen) but are not the same.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Not that much alike
by cjcoats on Fri 28th Aug 2009 12:07 UTC in reply to "Not that much alike"
cjcoats Member since:
2006-04-16

I don't think KDE or GNOME behave similar to windows at all. When I use windows I miss (this is an abridged list):

1) Virtual desktops...


Virtual desktops and virtual screens.

Right now, I'm running with eight 2560x2000 virtual screens on a 1920x1200-physical monitor.

Reply Score: 2

The TWM, Ion & Others...
by hoak on Thu 27th Aug 2009 23:10 UTC
hoak
Member since:
2007-12-17

It's obvious that no matter what; Linux will be 'damned' just because it's Linux; though I personally would like to see one of the TWMs like Ion incorporated or even become the default Window Manager in a popular Linux Distro.

The Tiling Window Manager is the defacto underlying design where ever form must follow function and a fast, easy-to-use, results oriented interface is required. From Aircraft and Ship MFDs, to mission critical and real-time systems management interfaces like those Nuclear Reactors, to the results oriented interfaces of productivity applications; the TWM design automates more of the interface, is more efficient for it, and easier to use -- period.

While TWMs may not have the superficial, glamorous, toy-like aspect of the cascading windows desktop allegory; they don't have to forego it, and can offer Linux the in-road to something that's more then just a leg up on Windows, that's both a lot more powerful, and easier to use...

=O)

Edited 2009-08-27 23:13 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: The TWM, Ion & Others...
by Delgarde on Thu 27th Aug 2009 23:58 UTC in reply to "The TWM, Ion & Others..."
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

It's obvious that no matter what; Linux will be 'damned' just because it's Linux; though I personally would like to see one of the TWMs like Ion incorporated or even become the default Window Manager in a popular Linux Distro.


Problem is, most of the tiling WMs look awful - ultra-minimalist styling reminiscent of 20 years ago. Just look at the screenshots any of these projects provide - almost every one of them consists of half a dozen xterm windows, and maybe a simple clock somewhere.

And so while the features might be great, no major distro is ever going to put something like that in front of it's users by default - who could take them seriously? For the concept to go mainstream, it needs an implementation that *looks* mainstream.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: The TWM, Ion & Others...
by Doc Pain on Fri 28th Aug 2009 00:16 UTC in reply to "RE: The TWM, Ion & Others..."
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

Problem is, most of the tiling WMs look awful - ultra-minimalist styling reminiscent of 20 years ago.


To you. Well... to me, too, but there is a reason why such WMs exist. Reason: There are users who found that especially "minimalist" settings are the best environment for their individual work and productivity.

Furthermore, "minimalist" applies possibly to how something looks to you, but in regards of configuration options, some "minimalist" WMs are very extended! You can configure and change things that you don't have control over in, let's say, KDE or "Windows", because those do not come with any kind of interface that lets you manipulate such settings. And yes, I do consider a text based configuration file as such an interface.

Just look at the screenshots any of these projects provide - almost every one of them consists of half a dozen xterm windows, and maybe a simple clock somewhere.


Most professional system administrators and programmers that I've met do mostly use xterminals end editors.

But of course I do not judge from other one's screenshots. You can only form an opinion about a WM by using it. I've used many, and I didn't like many, and I could tell you why. "It doesn't look good" never was a primary reason.

And so while the features might be great, no major distro is ever going to put something like that in front of it's users by default - who could take them seriously? For the concept to go mainstream, it needs an implementation that *looks* mainstream.


If the goal is to appeal to the "average user", being mainstream is important, I agree. But that's marketing and advertisement, not functionality. If people do judge from first visual impressions more than from an educated point of view, well, you found the problem. :-)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: The TWM, Ion & Others...
by antenna on Fri 28th Aug 2009 00:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The TWM, Ion & Others..."
antenna Member since:
2006-10-22

I have been imagining a compositing tiling WM lately, I think it could actually work fairly well if not too flashy.

Anyway, not much to add but I would like to see more emphasis on tiling WM's also, it sounds kind of funny but I think they are the way forward (ah one can dream).

Reply Score: 2

setec_astronomy Member since:
2007-11-17

You mean something like this?

http://kodeclutz.blogspot.com/2009/08/tiling-screencast_24.html

(It is a screencast about the tiling capabilities that kwin gained during the last season of kde program. Extra kudos to the developer Nikhil Marathe Gandhinagar, who worked on this project over the course of the summer even though it was not granted a slot in this years GSOC)

Implementing tiling specific compositing is afaik on the roadmap once the basic functionality is ready for trunk.

Edited 2009-08-28 06:47 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: The TWM, Ion & Others...
by antenna on Fri 28th Aug 2009 06:46 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: The TWM, Ion & Others..."
antenna Member since:
2006-10-22

Maybe, maybe not - I didn't really see anything in that particular video that distinguishes it from the ones that already exist. Could be interesting though.

Reply Score: 2

setec_astronomy Member since:
2007-11-17

Sorry, I did hit the submit button too early in my GP post. The current focus seems to be getting the basic tiling functionality into trunk and concentrating on tiling WM specific compositing later on, which should be fairly interesting once Qt Kinetic / animated layouts arrive. In the meanwhile, I plan to give this tiling mode a whirl once it hits trunk, especially because I'm interested how well it blends with the existing kwin compositing effects (present desktops, desktop switching effects, etc.) and how close it comes to Ion in concert with the new window tagging capabilities of kwin.

Edited 2009-08-28 06:57 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: The TWM, Ion & Others...
by Delgarde on Fri 28th Aug 2009 00:57 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The TWM, Ion & Others..."
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

"Problem is, most of the tiling WMs look awful - ultra-minimalist styling reminiscent of 20 years ago.


To you. Well... to me, too, but there is a reason why such WMs exist. Reason: There are users who found that especially "minimalist" settings are the best environment for their individual work and productivity.
"

Right, but you said "popular distro". Understand, I'm not criticizing those minimalist WMs, but they're very much aimed at a small userbase of serious power users. And that's kind of hard to reconcile with being a widely used "popular" distro, targeting the mass market.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: The TWM, Ion & Others...
by Doc Pain on Fri 28th Aug 2009 23:57 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The TWM, Ion & Others..."
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

Understand, I'm not criticizing those minimalist WMs, but they're very much aimed at a small userbase of serious power users. And that's kind of hard to reconcile with being a widely used "popular" distro, targeting the mass market.


Yes, I don't disagree here. The most important feature among the Linux distributions, even the popular ones, it the choice they offer. For example, if a new user doesn't like the default Gnome (or KDE) interface, and he is told (or shown) by a friend that there's more, for example WindowMaker or a tiling WM, and he wants to try it on his own system, he is completely free to do so.

Of course, tiling WMs and other... specialized WMs and DEs don't seem to make good advertising material or marketing stuff. In order to be in the mass market, it's important for a distro to package what the target group of users expect, and that's KDE and Gnome, for the moment. The question still is: How good are they integrated with the underlying OS parts? That is the important job of those who "compose" the distribution and do the preinstalls / preconfiguration, as well as the implementation of distribution-specific control tools.

Reply Score: 2

Desktop Sense
by debian_avenger on Fri 28th Aug 2009 01:47 UTC
debian_avenger
Member since:
2009-08-27

Microsoft used its enormous marketing research resources to find out what the computing public really wanted and made it into what they thought the computer using denizens of the world wanted. Albeit for enormous profit....sigh.

Now desktop OS developers are stuck with a user interface scheme that has been adopted by billions of people. Unfortunately they see it as the "norm". In their day to day business, they require this familiar interface or something very similar. I guess it could be called a user interface standard?

For me, I switched to using Linux because I wanted an alternative OS that I did not have to pay an arm and a leg for. At the time, I needed something that looked and acted similar but was free. I had no idea what linux was other than that it ran on servers at big corporations. (what ever a server was?)

Anyway, it is 6 years later and I enjoy using Linux w/gnome because it is extremely customizable and I can make it look or work the way I need it to. The Linux desktop needs to look familiar so that newbies can learn to use the system. If the initial experience is completely unfamiliar, it will turn new users off completely.

Reply Score: 1

Am I the only one...
by capricorn_tm on Fri 28th Aug 2009 05:55 UTC
capricorn_tm
Member since:
2005-12-31

... That was always intrigued by the fact that in "Star Trek" , series that depicts the pinnacle of technology of man in space, PC GUI are as spartan as they can ever be?

What do you have? Icons? Animations? Holographic interfaces? Zilch.

Multiple choice menues and submenues and that's it.

It's Unix Baby all over again ;)

Reply Score: 1

gnome-shell
by nunodonato on Fri 28th Aug 2009 08:29 UTC
nunodonato
Member since:
2005-07-06

Just try the upcoming gnome-shell (3.0) and you'll see how different gnome can/will be ;)
warning: its a very beta-alpha-testing-will-destroy-your-computer-and-eat-your-cat software

Reply Score: 1

Be different...
by Leszek Lesner on Fri 28th Aug 2009 11:33 UTC
Leszek Lesner
Member since:
2007-04-08

... wasn't that the slogan of the BeOS ?

I think there is a lot of choice. Not everyone is following Windows or Mac. Just take a look at ZevenOS for example:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/38932550@N00/3833773822/

It has a quite unique look (for people who don't know BeOS/ZETA/Haiku). But for some reasons this look isn't wanted by majority of people. They simply don't want something different.
Therefor there is also a ThemeManager in ZevenOS allowing people to change to a more familiar look and feel:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/38932550@N00/3675637002/

I think thats the major reason why GNOME , KDE, XFCE and LXDE are more focusing on a familiar look.

Edited 2009-08-28 11:45 UTC

Reply Score: 1

The Desktop is Dead
by raronson on Sat 29th Aug 2009 00:40 UTC
raronson
Member since:
2009-08-15

The desktop is a dead metaphor. I think that handhelds are getting it right these days, howbeit in nascent fashion, as they've largely abandoned the desk for a virtual space which shows application icons and a few ghee-wiz items like local weather. While this isn't a drastic departure from a traditional desktop with icons, it's a step in the right direction.

As it is now, the average Windows user puts everything on the desktop, because it's a no-brainer to find things, even if it is untidy and unsightly. When a desktop icon disappears, a great majority of average users have no idea "where it went", etc.

I don't see any drastic changes coming for another 20 years. What I envision after that is voice activated computing being managed by A.I. (relax, I'm not talking about the sexed up Hollywood version), where the user could say, "Computer, check mail...", "Computer, start my instant messenger", or "Computer, display files that I've modified in the last two days starting with the letter 'p'." The interface would just be wallpaper with local time and username displayed on screen.

Edited 2009-08-29 00:43 UTC

Reply Score: 1

a giant leap . . .
by Janvl on Sat 29th Aug 2009 13:17 UTC
Janvl
Member since:
2007-02-20

I have been in IT for over 20 years.
Experienced the jump from DOS commandline to Windows 3.11 a gui, evolving in win 7 now.
A gui in the form of X existed before that and Apple had a gui earlier too.

What has actualy changed? You need much more hardware to run the new OS so the average speed is still not that high. We have a lot of graphic and video nowadays resulting in Youtube, a real "highlight" for human progress.

I like KDE 4.3 but for production remain with 3.5, like all human beings, I do not like to change too much at once.

But, there is no radically improved user interface at the moment, the differences are still minimal. I expect that only with a very new technique, yet to come (to be invented), this will change. It will probably evolve from the playingconsoles.

I remember the scene from Startrek where Scotty is speaking to a mouse trying to use an "ancient" computer, and we still use that mouse . . .

Reply Score: 1

Déjà vu
by lproven on Sat 29th Aug 2009 14:13 UTC
lproven
Member since:
2006-08-23

Or, what goes around, comes around.

I wrote about this at some length nearly 2 years ago, to a lot of flaming from people who didn't bother to RTFA.

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1017183/linux-innovation-m...

Reply Score: 1

RE: Déjà vu
by raronson on Sat 29th Aug 2009 18:12 UTC in reply to "Déjà vu"
raronson Member since:
2009-08-15

Great article, thanks for the read.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Deja  vu
by lproven on Sat 29th Aug 2009 18:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Déjà vu"
lproven Member since:
2006-08-23

Hey, thanks! You just have made my evening! :¬)

Reply Score: 1

RE: Déjà vu
by Janvl on Sun 30th Aug 2009 11:44 UTC in reply to "Déjà vu"
Janvl Member since:
2007-02-20

I miss the loads of copying done by MS in this article.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Deja vu
by lproven on Sun 30th Aug 2009 13:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Déjà vu"
lproven Member since:
2006-08-23

How do you mean, you miss it? Do you mean that you can't see the traces of copying yourself, or that you wish they did more, or what?

Reply Score: 1

Comment by zhuravlik
by zhuravlik on Sun 30th Aug 2009 06:54 UTC
zhuravlik
Member since:
2009-08-24

Desktop and Desktop Environment are different things, in my opinion.
Desktop Environment is a problem of a GUI design, and Desktop is a problem of the user himself.

My computer desktop never had the default look of the desktop environment, neither on Windows, nor on Linux. Every time I needed a lot of tweaks and utils to be able to use my computer, even in command line.

It`s like your workplace: you choose a table but it`s not sufficient to work. You need a notebook, an organizer, calendar, pens, pencils, etc. to feel comfortable. Desktop Environments are trying to give us "all in one". But my pen choice is my own choice, sorry.

Desktop environment should provide a great notification system and great interoperation with custom utilities, and that`s all. But desktop environments try to provide email clients, office suites, web browsers for us, too, so most of them sucks. I want to choose my socks myself, yeah.

PS: I use Awesome WM and a bunch of shellscripts for notification purposes. KDE and Gnome are too fat for me. I'm not a GUI hater, but I've almost never seen a complete full-featured DE, so I prefer to build it myself. Maybe exception is an OpenSolaris DE, which is a polished version of the original not-so-userfriendly Gnome, but there are some reasons why I don't use OpenSolaris.

Reply Score: 1

If only someone would listen
by Bringbackanonposting on Mon 31st Aug 2009 07:40 UTC
Bringbackanonposting
Member since:
2005-11-16

Forget about Windows and OSX. Do what works the best. Try different things, be innovative. Making KDE/Gnome friendly for Win/OSX users is a total waste of time. Nobody uses KDE because it's similar to Windows. They just want something that works. It's never going to be the same. Look after the current Linux users, not the wannabe users. "We" use it, "They" run LiveCDs poke around for a couple of minutes and reboot into Windows. Stuff 'em.

Reply Score: 1

plantagenesta
Member since:
2009-08-30

I started using linux around 1996. In those days Linux was exclusively for Geeks. Linux is a Unix clone. Unix is not supposed to be userfriendly for the masses. Unix is userfriendly but it is just picky on who it chooses to be friends with. Nowadays most Linux distributions (except say Slackware ) are destroying themselves in order to convert one more Windows user. Which means Linux is becoming more Windows everyday etc.. Linux today is lame. Linux is for bitches and dumb ones at that. OpenBSD, NetBSD, or FreeBSD are the way so pick one.

Reply Score: 1