Linked by Eugenia Loli on Mon 17th Mar 2003 22:49 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces So many operating systems and so many graphical desktop environments... This article is a comparison of the UI and usability of several Desktop Environments (DEs), that have been widely used, admired and reviled: Windows XP Luna, BeOS 6 (Dano/Zeta), Mac OS X Aqua and Unix's KDE and Gnome. Read on which one got our best score on our long term test and usage.
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A collection of random notes...
by OBOS4ALL on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:20 UTC

Dano's font rendering is good on paper, but in real life it just sucks. I find R5 much better in this regard.

A typical Dano backstep that you didn't mention is the new titlebars that the user can't shift-slide anymore.

XP and BeOS both include mnemonics (underlined keyboard shortcuts) that OS X lacks. This is one thing that I can't stand about MacOS.

BeOS and OS X use better message boxes than those common on Windows (Save|Don't Save|Cancel rather than Yes|No|Cancel)

BeOS Tracker and Windows Explorer have an address bar, the Finder doesn't and it hurts.

The OS X Finder and Explorer can show the Desktop folder in a window. Tracker doesn't allow the user to do this (just like previous versions of MacOS and OS/2 which also include this stupid limitation).

Consistency - BeOS has *no* HIG, how can it be the most consistent? You might want to check the links below and reconsider the 10 you gave it....

A good example of *inconsistency* in OS X is Safari. For 20 years Command+W was used to close a window, but with Safari it closes tabs. This is a good UI choice that will help users prevent data-loss, but the legendary MacOS Consistency is now officially over (actually, Aqua took care of that a couple of years ago...)

Flexibility - WinXP is much more flexible than OS X and BeOS. There are at least twice as much preferences, and with third party tweaker utilities like X-Setup, it's more like tenfold (TinkerTool is very minimalist).

BeOS is indeed snappy, but even us "Bealots" ;-) admit that it has the slowest Mozilla port bar none (and this is the only modern browser available), and Tracker is nowhere near the speed of Explorer when it comes to folders with huge amounts of files.

XP is definitely an "improvement on multitasking/multithreading over the Win9x codebase", but for some odd reason, it is not as good as Win2k. Many a time have I encountered Start/taskbar freezes that take seconds off your productive time (even post-SP1). It never happened with Win2k.

KDE and Aqua are hard to compare, but I believe that Aqua is more optimized and slightly quicker, or maybe it's just Konqueror that spawns windows slower than the Finder...

Finally, I must say that I really enjoyed reading this comparison (keep up the good work Eugenia), and sorry if I repeated any of the previous comments.