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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My Opinion
by gallen on Tue 18th Mar 2003 07:48 UTC

I have a couple of things to say. First is that just because a DE is overall better than another doesn't mean it is necessarily better for your particular use. Some people seem to think that just because KDE was rated lower than Windows that some huge wrongness has occurred. This is not true. It just means that windows may be better for general use. For user Y though, KDE may very well be the best solution.

I chose my DE based on a few things:
1. App support
2. Comfort
3. Ease of configuration
4. Speed

App support is in here for windows. I work for a computer gaming company. This means we're windows centric. We do other os's, but primarily windows. I am also a gamer. This means windows. Mac has some. Linux has fewer (with compatibility through winex but what's the point of running at half windows speed?). Windows is just fine for most task, and once you learn it pretty well it works very well. It has security issues. It can't be fully configured. It's not the fastest thing in the world. But it runs the apps I want, how I want; bottom-line!

That said, I'm an engineer, so when I do engineering work, linux is generally prefered. When I'm running linux, I do use CLI, but the gui is important. I keep trying to like KDE, but I have to agree with Eugenia, it's too cluttered. Konqueror is much harder to use/slower to use than individual apps because of the excess of buttons and functionality. Yes I know it can be changed through configuration, but so can just about anything in windows...that doesn't mean it's easy to do. I use Gnome. That is not really by choice, but it seems the be the best combination of usability and prettiness. I look at the small ultrafast DEs (icewm, fvwm, wm) but they all seem to be lacking something I want, and while they can be configured, no doubt, it's a question of time spent configuring versus time spent on my current project. I said I use gnome, but I HATE nautilus. It's incredibly slow and clunky. Maybe I just have something wrong but I find it way better just to use a console for nautilus like things.

Ease of configuration is where I like aqua. It is a pretty DE with great (and powerful) configuration tools. It has its problems as everything else does though (these are mentioned in the article).

Speed is really dependent on what you want to do. Windows is usually most responsive for me (with the exception of BeOS, but it doesn't really count since there are very few apps worth running BeOS for). I presume this aspect will be fixed in linux before too long as it has always been one of the selling points of linux (fast on old hardware).

Just a comment on HIG. Games have no HIG for them. They have no consistency in user interface at all. They don't need it. HIG is generally an unnecessary thing assuming the app was designed to be intuitive. I don't mind if things look different if I can figure out how to use them and they do something close to what's expected.

So to sum up what I'm saying Windows is great for most things, but if it doesn't suit you, use something else and nobody gets hurt. This is why there are choices.