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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Very Good Article, but - -
by stopdabombing on Tue 18th Mar 2003 01:48 UTC

Overall, I think this was an excellent article, fair and pretty much consistent with my experience (except re: crashes of Konq).

However, as Eugenia herself said, it is necessarily somewhat subjective IN CERTAIN aspects.

Unfortunately, I think this cannot be fixed, even though she brings up extremely important issues that need to be discussed a lot more.

Here, I'd just point out one: the whole "feature bloat", versus "clean default" argument best seen in the Gnome/KDE debate. Or as it was explored in greater depth in the exchange between Havoc and Mosfet. I'm afraid ultimately, there is no "right" and "wrong" here - either you like to have tons of options, or you like to have a "clean and spare" default. Sometimes I feel like Eugenia (and Havoc, and generally the "spare" camp) don't appreciate the fact that as Mosfet puts it, it doesn't have to be "too many options, confusing", but rather "tons of options WELL ORGANIZED will not be confusing". Eugenia seems to think that it is _impossible_ to combine the two, that at some point "no matter how well" you organize, you'll have confusion with too many options. I strongly disagree. I think it is a cop-out, and I think that Havoc simply is unable/unwilling to think hard enough to come up with organization solutions and takes the easy road of hiding options (deeply, so you have to dig down just to tweak rather _basic_ stuff). Hey, sorry if imagination fails you - but many inventions wouldn't even come about (such as tabbing) if everyone had Havoc's attitude that you "can't" organize. That's a lazy way of thinking. Havoc simply took organization features such as tabbing, drop-down menues, context menues etc., and STOPPED thinking further whatever year his outlook was formed (mid 90's). I bet if Havoc was working back in the 50's he'd never imagine the mouse. Sorry, just because you don't know how to organize, or cannot think in a revolutionary way doesn't mean it is IMPOSSIBLE. I think it is lame to deny people choices or bury them deeply. Defaults matter, and I prefer a feature-rich default.

Having said that, I do agree that the KDE feature organization is poor, and so in that sense Eugenia is right. But her (Gnomish, and Havoc) prescription is wrong - you stop to innovate UI ideas too quickly and settle for the easy solution of stripping away choice (and sending the pro user to dig deep). Obviously, there needs to be a balance, and it will be different for different people - so if you have just ONE default (by definition), you need to make sure it works for MOST people. And here, I feel Eugenia's camp underestimates users - people are much more flexible and able to learn, and are much less confused than you give them credit for.

Still, a very fair and good article.