Linked by David Adams on Wed 24th May 2006 04:08 UTC
Editorial It's conventional wisdom that computers need to be "easier to use." But do they? More reliable, yes. Easier to troubleshoot, yes. But now that so many people use computers so much, I think there's something to be said for making them less easy-to-use and less intuitive.
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by tomcat on Wed 24th May 2006 16:29 UTC
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While I applaud the author for exploring such a contrarian subject, I think that his portrayal/understanding of operating systems is a bit oversimplistic. An OS isn't the shell that the user uses. At its base, an OS is really nothing more than a boot loader, a kernel, and device drivers. It doesn't get more rudimentary or difficult to use than that. And since nearly every OS offers a tiered model (ie. driver <- kernel <- user app), by definition users can make things as complicated (or simple) as they like. They simply choose the tier that they feel comfortable working with.

Nonetheless, he's right about the need for better organizational paradigms for the massive collections of music, images, and other data that users are accumulating. The desktop concept is getting pretty old. Yes, it's still useful. And, yes, it still gets the job done. And, no, I'm not advocating that we drop things in favor of a 3D interface. But we should consider alternate ways of organizing data; for example, timeline-based indexing, network dependency graphs, etc. The tough thing is that people process information in very different ways, so what works for one person may be completely incomprehensible to another. Trying to shoehorn everyone into the same paradigm has reduced us to using the least common denominator and has basically stifled the evolution of alternate indexing schemes. Organizations such as Microsoft, Gnome, and others need to become more brave in developing alternate shells.

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