Linked by Howard Fosdick on Tue 2nd Jul 2013 21:04 UTC
Editorial Like many of you, I've been watching the big changes in user interfaces over the past few years, trying to make sense of them all. Is there a common explanation for the controversies surrounding the Windows 8 UI and Unity? Where do GNOME 3, KDE, Cinnamon, and MATE fit in? This article offers one view.
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I think Gnome 3 started as one idea and changed into another. I remember the initial ideas for Gnome 3 all heavily involved things like Zeitgeist. You would have a "history" and a "future" (TODOs), and everything would be set up for a GTD-style environment -- literally the entire desktop would be geared, as applications, for a getting things done workflow.

If you wanted to remember to write an email to someone later, you would literally begin writing that email and then shove it into a date or time when you needed to write it, and it would show up as a reminder at that time for writing. You could get a list of "tasks" you completed at the end of the day, etc. These were the kinds of ideas that were being thrown around: computing for professionals.

I actually agree with Microsoft on this: There's one OS for all form factors, whether it's phones or tablets or PCs. However, the focus needs to be different on each platform. A phone is like a swiss army knife -- you wouldn't choose to use one in a kitchen where a regular knife is available, but man is it convenient for camping.

I think everyone is searching for a natural abstraction which fits all three form factors. Everyone is taking it from differing perspectives, none of which are wrong, but they are all *attempts* at a solution, none are really cohesive yet. I don't doubt that we'll see a more cohesive environment emerge in the future.

I wrote a little about what the "natural" UI is for a free-as-in-speech OS here:

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