Linked by Adam S on Wed 30th Apr 2003 07:26 UTC
Linux Lately, we've all read a lot of articles about desktop Linux - so many that it's getting hard to tell them apart. One says "Why Linux Sucks," the next "My Success With Linux." Even Michael Robertson of Lindows.com joined the fun with his "Why Desktop Linux Sucks, Today." But very few people have proposed anything radical, and I believe that's what's needed to take GNU/Linux to the next level.
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MHS, UI standards, etc..
by eric on Tue 29th Apr 2003 23:11 UTC

I personally think that it's very funny that an article like this is even needed. I am currently running Windows + litestep + cygwin for one reason: it gives me the comfort and power of a unix/posix OS, and the UI CONSISTANCY that I've come to expect of a quality desktop OS, which is COMPLETELY ABSENT on my wonderful linux installs.

The biggest improvement that can possbily be made to unix/linux IMO, as a SINGLE UI standards document that EVERY distro complies with. Some standard shortcuts for common tasks (copy and paste, anyone?), a SINGLE copy clipboard for the entire OS (including the CLI environment) some attention to UI facts that have been known for ever, some SIMPLE pre-development paper usability prototypes, etc..

Here's a secret to usability testing that linux/unix developers don't seem to know.. you can find over 95% of your usability problems by testing with as few as 5 users. Usability testing doesn't have to be difficult. Get a few friends to check out some paper prototypes. Then build a "functional" GUI prototype, get them to test that.. fix problems, wash, rinse, repeat... USABILITY FIRST.

Apple has been developing from usability standards since the early eighties. Microsoft has done the same since the mid eighties. Why is there STILL no widely adopted UI standard for UNIX based OS's? THERE IS NO EXCUSE. This, more than anything else, is the barrier to mass adoption. Everybody has been concentrating on the installers. It's EASIER and FASTER to install a modern linux system than it is to install Windows XP, but XP is still beating the crap out of linux in terms of popularity.

The answer is not "sue microsoft"... the answer is to BEAT microsoft on the usability front. We can beat them. You think they have resources? We have millions of developers world-wide. They're winning because they're more organized than we are. They're winning because despite the fact that their OS kernel sucks, their OS is 100x more usable than linux. That is an indisputable fact, and anybody can conduct the usability tests to prove it. We could change all that if we were more organized.

The unix developer community is a scattered mess of individual egos doing their own dinky projects and not communicating with each other.

Want to change the filesystem? Why don't we all help out the MHS project? (http://mhs.sourceforge.net/)

Seems like a good place to start.