Linked by on Sun 26th Feb 2006 16:17 UTC
Features, Office ActiveWin reviews Office 2007 beta 1, and concludes: "It's an innovative interface yes, but will the benefits outweigh the changes? That's for users to decide. Yes this early code does have glitches and performance issues left to be ironed out; right now the focus is on reliability and stability. The BETA 2 release should provide us with an early glimpse of what's in store in the final product. My personal say is getting used to interface should not be a problem for many since the familiar tools are organized in ways that makes it convenient for the user, and new tools make the interface more intelligent and more aware of what the user is doing, presenting the right tools for the task at hand."
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RE[3]: Problem
by rajj on Mon 27th Feb 2006 09:14 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Problem"
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Your entire argument is nonsensical. DOS is a rather poorly designed batch operating system while vi[1] is a text editor.

You also seem confused about the difference between text mode interfaces and GUI's. Vi is not a command line program simply because it can run in a text mode terminal. It is an interactive full screen program with many of the same features of any other text editor (graphical or not). The fact that vim[2] has a graphics mode interface makes this a rather moot issue.

The ability to multitask is not an intrinsic property of a GUI. Most any UNIX like system has virtual terminals, and let us not forget GNU screen which allows terminal multiplexing. Further, terminal emulators can be run inside of a graphics mode interface. In fact, a common usage of X11 servers is simply to run multiple xterms for the multitasking function. This brings us to the myth of the GUI.

Both technical and non-technical folks put forth the false dicotomy that one either must have a GUI or a command line. The two are not mutually exclusive. This myth seems to have stemmed from the popularity of the WIMP interface whereby the mouse has become the dominate input method and command lines are entirely absent or neglected. Of course, this is the reason why new comers to UNIX systems believe that it is some how backwards. UNIX users do not subscribe to the WIMP ideal[3] but rather keep the command interpreter and utilize the graphics mode server (X11) to leverage the greater output capabilities that it affords.

The important thing to realize is that one could write an application in a graphics mode environment and have it behave in every way that a full screen program would in a text mode environment and still leverage the output flexibility of the former. One does not need menus, icons and buttons to have a GUI. These symbolic devices simply emulate commands. The GUI as a concept is ill defined and nebulous.

It is also important to realize that usability does not imply a low learning curve. Vim (or vi) are not great because they are hard to learn. They are great because they are flexable and efficient. The fact that is difficult to use (debatable) at first is a side effect.

To end, I would like to point out that vi and vim are not the only text editors available on UNIX like systems. Emacs is another editor that is commonly used. In fact, there is still unrest between vi and emacs users. Which of the two are superior is still up in the air and I, quite frankly, don't care. The list doesn't stop there, either, for there are many more editors to choose from including the WIMP variety you cherrish so intensely.

[1] Linux systems usually symlink vi to vim.
[2] Vim is an improved (more features) rewrite of vi.
[3] KDE and GNOME provide a WIMP style interface which ultimately shows that attacks on UNIX are usually attacks on a particular UI. UNIX does not enforce UI policy nor does X11.

Edited 2006-02-27 09:15

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