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"I think it is obvious that we need at least three levels of interface, selectable by the user:
I've suggested this as an idea to improve KDE. Because this has been discussed a few times, I just want to add a fourth level.
4. User configured
In this level, the (advanced / professional) user could configure all options and menues for what they should include, item by item, rearranging them as he likes it.
A similar concept has been used by Geoworks Ensemble 3.0 more than 10 years ago.
"The current strategy of simplifying the primary interface and stuffing all the rest into the gconf-editor is suboptimal."
This approach will make the UI less interesting for professionals who want to use it. On the other hand, even the simplest interface can be "misunderstood" if the (potential / novice) user is spoiled by strange and complicated concepts he might know from other desktop environments, usually from them manufactured by MICROS~1. :-)
"The user should be able to start out with a simple, reduced option interface. And then graduate to higher levels as their proficiency increases."
This is what made GeoWorks that appealing.
"I'm not confining my recommendation to Gnome, BTW. Gnome, KDE, and XFCE are all in a position to implement it.
First one that does will be a winner."
The first one was GeoWorks, as far as I know.. :-)
I really like this idea. It has been discussed to even to change the level dynamically. The system recognizes which options are used most times and places them in an obvious place. The disadvantage is a periodically changing UI which might cause problems...
Okay, just an idea. :-)