Linked by Allen Boyles on Mon 7th Nov 2011 09:46 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces In the commercial software world, user interfaces are generally designed by one group. Like Microsoft for Windows or Apple for Mac OS. Those desktop environments were designed by one company who did things like user testing and statistical analysis to try and make the desktop they thought would work best. Linux is different. Large groups definitely DO perform user testing and statistical analysis, but one group can also say "Here's what we want" and, if they have the ability to code it, their idea comes into being. It's pretty amazing, when you think about it. Linux lets people create what they want. If you don't like what's out there, fork it! Or start from scratch! You're in control!
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The Linux desktop has changed radically, even with X still being at the core. Heck, let's take X as an example: you now have things such as automatic hardware configuration. Or the window manager: most GUI applications include a desktop launcher. Or UI consistency: most users will get away with using gtk+ or Qt applications. And those examples ignore an abundance of under-the-hood changes, from the kernel up, that affect usability. Saying that the Linux desktop hasn't really changed because X is still there is kinda like saying that Windows hasn't changed since the registry is still there. Both examples are a critical parts of an overall system that do have their failings. Yet those failings are not critical and they also have benefits. For the most part, the people who spend an inordinate amount of time criticizing them are doing so because they simply need something to criticize.

Exactly so.

Here is a video of someone going completely overboard using a recent version of KDE4 (KDE SC 4.7.2, running under X)

You couldn't do that 15 years ago.

Now you don't have to go overboard and do things as complex as this video, but that doesn't mean that there should be no ability to do it for people who do want, and appreciate, this kind of power and flexibility.

Just because Windows can't do it doesn't mean that no-one wants to do it.

Edited 2011-11-08 03:52 UTC

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