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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I agree with many of the criteria used to evaluate the DEs.

I want a DE that is particularlly good at these points:
#1 Operations must work in every single app I run in the DE (e.g. ctl-o == open, selected text on X == copied to clipboard)

#2 Forcing my to switch between my mouse and my keyboard had better only happen when appropriate. If the DE opens a dialog box with only two buttons, and then opens a follow up dialog box where I must type in text, and THEN I have to click on a button to advance the dialog box I want to kill the next cider-head I see. Usability and consistency guidelines, my ass.

#3 Most common and useful operations quickest to get to.
Perfect counter examples (GRR!!!)
- Windows explorer/browser - creation of a folder is in varying menu locations and takes several clicks to get to
- Windows explorer - clicking on a file will switch my context to renaming a file. Right, because I rename my files and folders at least 20 times a day.

The review gave examples about the CVS commands being so near the first operations you encounter while working with files, while the operations you could perform with the "trashcan" where several sub menus. Then everyone talks about how great CVS is. Hello? go to goole, enter "find clue" and read.

#4 Resonpsivness - When I click or otherwise request some action, I want to see indication that progress is being made. I find this frustrating in GUI as well as commandlien tools. Let me know what's happening. Freezing my mouse cursor after turing it into an hour glass/spinning wheel is _not_ useful feedback. Here are some good examples of how shitty DE/OSs are:
- Printing, isntead to checking how much paper is left, or if the printer is ready, my print job waits for 5 minutes and then a dialog box pops up in the middle of whatever I was doing to tell me that my print job "encoutered a problem". Check the printer first.
- Copying files (Mac) Drag a folder of files from one location to another to copy them. The Mac waits for a while and then starts grinding along. At some point during this operation, I am interrupted with a popup telling me that there isn't enough sapce to complete the copy. My only option is to abort the partial copy. Check the destination for enough space first. If there is a problem mid operations, then give me some reasonable back out options, like undoing the complete copy, or, better, tell me what the problem was, let me fix it, and then gasp, resume the operation.



I'm willing to learn any DE if the operations allow me to get my work done efficently. I suspect many people here have. Show of hands for people who can get work done in Windows?
Jeez look at unix with commands like (ls -l, ps -auxww, grep -name, vi or emacs key sequences, etc.), or windows with alt space n, alt tab, ctl shift tab, etc.

These arcane commands are just fingerings that I've muscle learned. I can fire them off at very high speed. My brain thinks in terms of operations I want to perfrom. My fingers just translate.

What aspects of the DEs out there have people really enjoyed?