Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 30th Mar 2007 20:44 UTC, submitted by theosib
Linux The founder of the Open Graphics Project writes: "Good design and usability are very important. I haven't paid enough attention to the discussions between Linus and GNOME developers, so I can't address it directly. But what I can say is that a learning curve is not a bad thing. While it's good to think about the total novice, it's even more important to have consistent and logical mechanisms. This way, if someone has to learn something new to use the computer, they have to learn it only once. This is why I think it's good that Apple and Microsoft have UI development guides that encourage developers to make their apps act consistently with other apps in areas where their functionalities conceptually overlap. And this is where I start to get disappointed with GNU/X11/Linux systems."
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Just general rambling
by nbd_ on Sat 31st Mar 2007 22:43 UTC
nbd_
Member since:
2006-09-19

It should not matter what is the underlying filesystem hierarchy. We already have a kind of "Every application is in it's own folder" approach - the Start menu.

(Or taken to the extreme, the /Programs/TheBestAppEver approach _could_ be achieved by a big pile of symlinks, if really needed, but...)

Why should the user need to know where the _files_ for certain application are? For starting the program she/he needs to remember where it is in the Start menu/Kicker/Whatnot. And even better, just remember some part of the name of program and SomeAppLauncher(TM) will find it for her/him. Or maybe just typing "text","write" or "document" and it will offer a collection of programs for those tasks.

Those things are already invented. "No need to know internals about the file system for starting programs" - check. Ok, looking good, starting to sound like a operating system I want to use. The only weak spot currently is the 'config'-spot. We are just one centralized config system away from needing to access the file system manually. Any volunteers here up to the task? Google SoC 2008 anyone? Elektra maybe (http://elektra.g4ii.com/)?

The suggested xml-part sounds good (human readability), and so does the key/value ideology (unique key for each configurable item). I would add to that some sort of indication whether user has modified the value, with timestamp when it was done and storing of all previous values to keep track what has been done to that config variable from day 1 (eases the troubleshooting on upgrades and user-based mistakes). By default, upgrade would not override the user-modified values.

All we need now is the generator that inputs OSNews/Slashdot/KdeGnomeWars and outputs code so the relation of talking vs. actual code would be more on the code side.

And talking about adapting innovations, are we? Well how about this: Right clicking any application from the Start menu (or any application menu used to start applications) gives options like 'Configure', 'Uninstall', 'Upgrade' (this displayed only if upgrade exists), 'Find similar' (searches other similar programs based on meta information given for each application, eg. music,player ->XMMS,XMMS2,AlsaPlayer,YouGotThePoint,...)

In almost perfect world 'Upgrade' would offer option to install the upgraded version along with the current version, to allow eg. beta testing new features without finding yourself repeating the mantra "If it's not broken, don't fix it!" - if you happen to have the syndrome where you just can't leave your fingers out of the new cool stuff (been there, done that with few Kde major updates, way before official distro releases)

reduz complains about packaging difficulty, and I agree to that. Several times I have wanted to install some .tgz released software for debian in the debian way. And since no official .dep exists I wanted to create the .dep myself. But never I have gotten to the end of the process, several times I have started "This time I will finish it", but at some point it just gets ugly and I give up. I don't want to fill any dependancies, I don't want to fullfill the debian rules. I just want to mess up my system in just a slightly controlled manner, instead of plain make install. Because most makefiles don't include the :uninstall part. And I might want to uninstall it someday. Maybe I should seriously consider CheckInstall and forget the package managers.

On UI consistency: Setting the page layout in OO,AbiWord,KWord or creating/managing tables gives me headache. In OO and KWord, the page layout is under Format menu, Abi has it in File menu. Abi and OO inserts table from Table menu, but in KWord it's from Insert. All are good places and intuitive maybe (and ideology of having several ways for one task is bad, I quess, is the reason KWord does not have the Insert option under Table menu also). Good examples of lack of "standards". Shouldn't fd.o have the final word on how should I insert a table ;)

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