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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Windows... Eh
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:30 UTC

While I agree that Windows XP is better than the previous versions, I still feel like you failed to address a few functions of the OS/UI that truly make people nervious about using thier own computer.

One of the main areas I am talking about is package management (ie installing, uninstalling software and config files). Windows takes a pretty scary approach to this in that when you install an app, it pretty much dumps the app/support files wherever it damn well pleases. You don't normally see this, because it puts a "shortcut" in the start menu and that is your interaction with the program. However, should something go wrong, or should you need to untinstall the application, you are left to the whim of the windows installer app to clean up after you. I can't tell you how many times I have seen the message, "File foo.ini was used by this program, and may be used by other programs, actually, I am not really sure what it does, but you can possibly delete it", or something to that effect. One area where Mac OS X (and maybe BeOS, im not sure) shines is that the program you have are the actual executables, and any config files or preferences they have go in a well defined place in the system. If you want to delete an app, 99% of the time you just drag it to the trash. WYSIWYG at its finest.

Another area where Windows lags is Power Management. Perhaps its the use of power hungry-hot running x86 processors (maybe Centrino will help), but Windows laptops have a hell of a time sleeping and waking from sleep. They also frequently don't last for more than an hour and a half on the battery. You should be able to close your laptop and have it save its state, go to sleep and live for at least a few days. When you want to use it again, it should wake up immediately and restore itself.

Finally, Windows has a pretty ugly driver system. I understand that much of this has to do with the sheer amount of devices that windows has to work with, but driver packages are far from easy to understand. Some things work out of the box, some require you to "insert the windows CD", some install, but then leave your devices half working. I don't particularly think any OS out there now handles this the best, but it would be nice if you had a driver "folder" where you could just throw your driver files. If they were in there, they were active, if not then they aren't. Perhaps something like the MacOS 9 extension folder. Mac OS X has an OK system with kexts, but then again, most users don't know they exist, so when they have to install one, they are lost if something goes wrong.