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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Eugenia is too easy on Windows
by Geezle/2 on Tue 18th Mar 2003 18:36 UTC


But [Eugenia is] pretty easy on Windows. Case in point: Here we have an operating system where every single menubar an every application is along the top of the screen, and you pull down menus, even in old Win16 apps, and yet the MAIN SYSTEM MENU is along the BOTTOM of the screen and a menu shoots up from it! There's no reason at all for this. Once people get their minds contorted to deal with this inconsistency, they barely notice. But the same could be said for any inconsistency.

While I agree that a lot of usability is just "what you're used to" and thus Windows wins in every category, I think overlooking such blatant UI inconsistency is taking it rather easy on them.


Excellent point! How many people don't realise how braindead it is to select the "Start" button to shut down the machine? Yeah, that sure is intuitive.

Then we can discuss the Windows File Mangler. . .err. . .Manager. Newcomers will know this 'tool' as the Windows Explorer. What a pathetic and awkward beast that is! It is far more a productivity impediment than aid. Since it has remained fundamentally unchanged since the days of Windows 3.0 however many users have patiently internalized the numerous weird rituals needed to make the Mangler do its work and now can no longer see just how remarkably unintuitive and cumbersome the thing is.

Eugenia gives points for more menus available from RMB clicking on things. In XP these menus seem to be tacked on as an afterthought rather than arising naturally from some object oriented design of the UI. This also brings to focus comments about the language the interface is coded in. Being coded in C++ does not make an interface object oriented and an Object Oriented UI need not be coded in and OO language. One has little bearing on the other.

I think it is too bad that the one production OS that has ever effectively delivered an object oriented interface was excepted from this 'Definitive Desktop Environment Comparison'. OS/2 (and now eComStation) has many of the features that other OSes were awarded points for and has had some of these features for about a decade now. The Workplace Shell achieved object orientedness through elegant design rather than through layering on the bloat to a bad design to give desktop features object-like characteristics.

Anyway I think that it does the readers a disservice to include a truely dead, nostalgic hobbyist OS like BeOS in this 'Comparison' but not an OS that is in production and current active development like eComStation. This is all the more striking when one considers that OS/2 (and therefore eComStation) has had for a decade features that are now being considered 'revolutionary' because Microsoft can (poorly) emulate them.

I know it hurts, Be-fans, but face the truth: Be is dead. No one uses it for real. There are a few nostalgic ones out there who may occasionally fire it up on their dusty and unused old Win98 machines to show to friends and reminisce about what might have been but that is about all. On the other hand, eComStation is piece of brilliant engineering equal to Be but with the difference that it is still quite lively. Your wishing that it had been OS/2 that had died instead of BeOS cannot change history. Try to get over 'the unfairness of it all' and present a slightly more comprehensive 'Definitive Desktop Environment Comparison'.